Barack Obama won enough delegates to lock up the Democratic presidential nomination on the last day of the primaries on Tuesday, becoming the first African American to lead a major party ticket. '“Tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another—a journey that will bring a new and better day to America,” Obama said to cheering supporters at a Minnesota rally. (Politico)
What the commentators said
“The long wait is over,” said the San Francisco Chronicle in an editorial. “For the first time in its history, a nation that began by discounting the votes of African Americans will have a black man as a major party nominee.” But Obama’s success doesn’t mean that America has suddenly become “colorblind”—exit polls found that many Americans are reluctant to vote for a black candidate.
Breaking barriers in the primaries is no guarantee of success in November, said John B. Judis in The New Republic. Look at how Catholic candidates—members of another social group “once on the margins of politics”—fared as they fought for acceptance. “In 1928, Democrats nominated the Catholic Governor of New York, Al Smith, but he lost to Herbert Hoover. Then, in 1960, Mass. Sen. John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic to be president.”
Obama’s “personal story—of mixed race, and up from nowhere through Harvard—resonates” with the his party’s crowds, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. But the rest of what we know about him—a freshman senator promising to bridge the partisan divide but seemingly unwilling to break with liberal orthodoxy on any big issue—is less inspiring. “The young Senator has been a supernova exploding into our politics.” But he’s "the least tested and experienced major party nominee in modern times,” so he’ll find general election voters to be a “harder audience.”