Obama’s Election: Farewell to Racist Advertisments in Presidential Elections?
Does the election of Barack Obama signal the end of racism and the use of the “race card” in presidential elections? Clearly, Obama’s election is a major step forward for the improvement in race relations in the United States; but, racism is still well and alive in the United States Hence, “playing the race card” will remain an enduring feature of the American political landscape. In fact, the repository of evidence indicates that despite his good showing among white voters, Obama won because of race. According to Stewart and Ansolabehere (2009: 1), “Ironically, the candidate whom commentators lionized for ending America’s debilitating racial divisions won the election on the basis of increasingly distinct white and nonwhite voting patterns. ...The percentage of blacks voting Democratic rose from 88 percent in 2004 to 95 percent in 2008.” Hispanic voters—who had been drifting into the Republican camp in recent years—heavily favored Obama—“the percentage of Hispanics voting Democratic rose from 56 percent 2004 to 67 percent.” “This additional support among nonwhites proved decisive. Indeed, had blacks and Hispanics voted Democratic in 2008 at the rates they had in 2004, McCain would have won.”
So, would it be possible to create a “postracial America” in the future? Yes, but it would require a fundamental restructuring of the American capitalist political economy. First, there is a need to end exploitation on the basis of race. Second, steps need to be taken to counter the use of race as a tool by the ruling class to divide the working and other subaltern classes. Third, changes need to be made in the inequitable distribution of wealth and power. Fourth, a new racially pluralistic architecture needs to be designed. Fifth, based on the aforementioned, Americans would need to be re-socialized with new beliefs that reflect a society without racial prejudice and discrimination.