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How racism hurts Obama
Could prejudice decide a presidential election?
 

The issue of race is back in the campaign spotlight, said Jonathan Stein in Mother Jones online, and the news is "pretty disheartening." An Associated Press-Yahoo study estimated that Barack Obama's support would be 6 percentage points higher if there were no white racism, a difference big enough to tip a tight race.

The media are “shamefully stoking” the claim that only racism can defeat Obama, said Jonah Goldberg in the Los Angeles Times. If reporters were more objective, they’d stress that Obama’s problem is racism “at the heart of the Democratic Party,” but “such objectivity would cause too much cognitive dissonance for a press corps that defines ‘racist’ as shorthand for Republican and sees itself as the publicity arm of the Obama campaign.”

Get real, said Nicholas Kristof in The New York Times. Nothing compares to the way Obama’s enemies are trying to “otherize” him. Nearly a third of Americans believe he is or could be a Muslim. It’s not acceptable to reject a candidate over his skin color, so “religious prejudice” is acting as a proxy.

Polls predicting the influence of racism are “thin gruel,” said Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic online. Obama didn’t suffer from a “Bradley effect”—where voters tell pollsters they’ll support a black candidate but don’t—in the primaries. The truth is that, with the first African-American nominee, we’re in uncharted territory.

 

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