Racial Change and the Politics of Hope
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“I was never the likeliest candidate for this office,” Barack Obama reminded his enthusiastic supporters at Lincoln Park, Chicago, in his victory speech. Yet the jubilant crowd showed how high the Obama electoral coalition had climbed within a short period. It defeated arguably the most formidable political organizations led by Hillary Clinton in the primaries and John McCain in the general election in 2008. To explain how Obama built the first ever black-led minimum winning coalition at the national level, this chapter examines the pre-election context in which Obama started his “politics of hope.” This chapter focuses on the relative positions of whites and minority racial groups in political coalitions and their major group interests. Built on the rationality thesis developed in the last chapter, this chapter will explain why Obama’s message of hope served as a rational foundation for his minimum winning racial coalition.
KeywordsPresidential Election Democratic Party Republican Party Electoral Success Minimum Winning Coalition
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