The End of Race?

The End of Race?

Donald R. Kinder
Allison Dale-Riddle
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The End of Race?
    Book Description:

    How did race affect the election that gave America its first African American president? This book offers some fascinating, and perhaps controversial, findings. Donald R. Kinder and Allison Dale-Riddle assert that racism was in fact an important factor in 2008, and that if not for racism, Barack Obama would have won in a landslide. On the way to this conclusion, they make several other important arguments. In an analysis of the nomination battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton, they show why racial identity matters more in electoral politics than gender identity. Comparing the 2008 election with that of 1960, they find that religion played much the same role in the earlier campaign that race played in '08. And they argue that racial resentment-a modern form of racism that has superseded the old-fashioned biological variety-is a potent political force.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18359-7
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. 1-7)

    On a bitterly cold, sun-splashed Tuesday in Washington, before an enormous and delighted crowd, Barack Obama is about to be sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States. Among the guests of honor on the inaugural platform sits John Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights movement and longtime congressman from Georgia. Some forty years before, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, Lewis led a dignified, doublefile procession of some six hundred American citizens from Brown’s Chapel up onto the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The march was headed to Montgomery; its purpose was to convince Governor Wallace...

    (pp. 8-25)

    We are primarily interested in understanding one thing in particular: the role of race in the 2008 American presidential election. But we start by putting forward a general framework that enables us to make instructive comparisons to social cleavages other than race and to times and places other than the contemporary United States.

    We begin by defining two basic terms: politics and groups. Next, we argue that groups become relevant to politics insofar as they are sites of persistent inequality, and we document the fact that race in the United States fulfills this condition all too well. Withthese points established...

    (pp. 26-66)

    In the summer of 2004, Barack Obama was an Illinois state legislator, a part-time professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and the author of a well-regarded and modest-selling memoir (Dreams of My Father). Fresh from a surprising victory in the Illinois Democratic Party primary, he was spending his days and nights in places like Waukegan, Pekin, and Rockford, running hard for a seat in the U.S. Senate. On the national scene, that is to say, Obama had not yet arrived.¹

    As Obama was beating the bushes in Illinois, John Kerry was doing the same all over the...

  7. 3 TRIUMPH!
    (pp. 67-97)

    On the first Tuesday of November 2008, Americans chose Barack Hussein Obama to be the forty-fourth president of the United States. Obama won 53.7 percent of the two-party popular vote, carried twenty-eight states, and pocketed 365 electoral votes (more than two-thirds of the total). The following morning, theNew York Timesproclaimed to the world that Obama had succeeded in “sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease.”

    “With ease” overstates the case considerably, but there is no disputing that Obama had won a decisive victory. How did this happen? Did Obama somehow manage to transcend race?...

    (pp. 98-117)

    In the previous chapter, we learn that race was both benefit and liability to Obama in his quest for the presidency. In this chapter, we take up the implications of these countervailing forces for the role of race in the 2008 election. Our business here is to add things up—to arrive at a credible estimate of the overall impact of race in 2008.

    There is no single, obvious, best way to do this. Rather than pretend that there is, we have developed two sensible methods to calculate an estimate of the net effect of race in 2008. The methods...

    (pp. 118-136)

    The assessment of the 2008 American presidential election that we offer in the preceding chapters reveals the imposing obstacles that still stand in the way of a color-blind society. Obama succeeded, but not because he evaded race. He did not. Obama elicited racial solidarity from one side of the color line and racial resentment from the other. By our results, a postracial society appears to be a long way off.

    This is not remotely the same thing as concluding that there has been no progress at all. Obamawasnominated. Hewaselected. Not so long ago in American history,...

    (pp. 137-157)

    On a cold January day in the nation’s capital, Barack Obama was sworn in as the forty-fourth president of the United States. Former president Bush moved out of the White House, and the new president moved in. Obama made appointments, proposed legislation, issued executive orders, and represented the nation on the international stage. He began, that is, to compile a record. In the avalanche of news spilling out of Washington, did Americans forget—as Chris Matthews, the CNBC news celebrity, famously claimed to do—that their president was black?

    In 1960, after John F. Kennedy was elected the first Catholic...

  11. 7 THE END OF RACE?
    (pp. 158-186)

    In this final chapter, we summarize our results and draw out their implications. We take up a series of distinct but interconnected subjects, each of which illuminates some aspect of the tangled relationship between social difference and American democracy: why race plays a larger role in contemporary American politics than gender; the ways religion has declined as an organizing principle of politics—and the ways it has not; the prospects for moving past race; the progress America has made in overcoming prejudice so far; the difference between traditional and modern forms of American prejudice; and finally, why—short of a...

    (pp. 187-236)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 237-274)
    (pp. 275-300)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 301-309)