If a white Republican unseats the first African-American president, what would happen next?
The stock answer from GOP political professionals is: "Not much of anything, really." The new president, they say, will focus on the issues all Americans care about, including jobs, which is the direst need in the black community now.
That may well be the technically "right" answer, but it ignores the obvious cultural backlash that would likely arise if President Obama's familiar countenance were to be replaced next year by a white one. Like it or not, Barack Obama and his family are symbols of upwardly mobile black achievement -- and a source of racial pride.
“If you look at why African-Americans and Hispanics surged to Barack Obama [in 2008] -- to say there was not a racial element to it is not being serious about the subject,” said Cornell Belcher, a member of the Obama polling team in the last election. “Of course there’s a racial element to it.”
But that’s not the whole story. “They’re also not voting for a candidate just because he’s black or white,” Belcher added. “It also has to be someone whose values they share, and whom they trust.”
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