Monday, August 25, 2008

No one mentions race.....,

In the Observer - US elections: Why has Obama stalled? On the eve of the Democrats' convention in Denver, Barack Obama finds himself struggling against a resurgent John McCain. Why isn't Obama doing better in the polls? There is one answer no one wants to hear. Paul Harris reports on how race has become the great unspoken issue in the campaign for the White House - and why it may yet be the decisive factor;
The Democrats are starting to struggle in a presidential race which they should be dominating. America is beset by economic troubles, mired in an unpopular foreign war and facing an unpopular Republican party. A stunning 80 per cent of Americans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Yet Obama and McCain are virtually tied in the polls. The possible explanations are multiple. The Democratic campaign is being daily assaulted by withering Republican attack ads. At the same time, there are still deep scars in the party left by the ferocious battle between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.

And then there is the issue of race. It gets much less attention than the battle with Clinton, or the daily barbs traded with McCain, or Obama's struggle to rise in the polls. Yet it might provide the key to understanding the strange inability of the Obama campaign to achieve lift-off in the polls.

'The question of this election is race. The answer we are looking for is, how much will it matter?' said Professor Shawn Bowler, a political scientist at the University of California at Riverside. America will soon find out. When Obama speaks on Thursday to more than 80,000 people in Denver's football stadium he will also reach a television audience of millions of Americans. They will look into the face of a man who could be their next President and for the first time it will be a black face.
America will finally be facing up to the question that truly defines the 2008 presidential race: is America ready to elect a black President to the White House?