Stayed up late last night on CNN waiting for returns from South Dakota and Montana, the supposed last states in the Dem primary.Even before these states' returns were in, it was reported that Obama was just a handful of delegates away from clinching the nomination and one by one they began going Obama's way. It was a truly historic moment. No African American had ever won nomination by the democrats or republicans so Obama was making history and we were in the moment- watching as history was being made. One by one the delegates pledged themselves to the Obama column and eventually Obama surpassed the minimum required delagates to emerge winner. And bang! history was done. Few would bet that Obama would win at the start of the Dem primaries. Its testimony to how much America has progressed on Race since the Jim Crow years. For Obama it was an awesome audacity of hope to believe that he could ever do it. Even the most optimistic people would never have given it to him. Indeed, yes we can!
Obama will need Hillary Clinton on the ticket. The primaries showed she has strong support among white blue collar workers and hispanic voters, which are not Obama's strong points. It would be a dream tiscket that would unite the dem party behind his candidature. There are of course questions about Hilary, how well can she play second?, and the role of Bill Clinton in such an arrangement. Her defiant speech after it emerged that Obama had emerged winner didnt help matters. Presidents always prefer vice presidents who are loyal. George W. Bush chose Cheney as running mate mainly because of this.
To attain victory in November Obama will need to win battle ground states such as Florida and Ohio. He has brought many new young voters on board who were initially indifferent to politics. He is also favoured among independents and should build on this to reach out to the more traditional demographics. He has shown this ability before. Initially African Americans were skeptical about his prospects and some even questioned if he was'black enough' but they have gradually embraced him with 80-90% percent in recent state polls. Obama needs to be aware of the Republican attack machine in the general election and should brace himself for dirt tricks and a dig -up on his background.Ask John Kerry, remember the Swift Boat Veterans?
In Novemeber we shall have an idea of how far America has progressed on race and whether Obama can be see purely for the 'content of his character' and what he has to offer America and not the colour of his skin.