Since Barack Obama began campaigning for president, the race issue has been the elephant in the room that political pundits refuse to mention (while repeatedly mentioning it). Some feel that Barack Obama was able to get away with sexist remarks towards Hillary Clinton by saying she is “good enough.” On the other hand, when Bill Clinton made a comment that was deemed racist, the blogosphere and the media were indignant. The commentators have convinced themselves and the public that this post-racial phenomenon is a novelty in 2008, while the facts state otherwise.

So let’s examine the facts:

Is 2008 the first year that an African American candidate was able to achieve a majority vote in the presidential primaries? If one listens to the pundits, they may easily believe that Barack Obama’s win introduced a progressive, liberal, and less segregated era, but this far from the truth. According to a Gallup poll published in March of 1969, just 2 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark “I have a Dream” Speech, only 34% of voters from either political party said they would not vote for an African American had he been their party’s candidate! By 1969, the number of voters willing to vote for an African American, if he was their party’s candidate, rose to 67% with only 23% opposed. In 2008 only 7% of people would not vote for an African American. Conclusion: America is clearly a less racist society today, but 2008 is certainly not the first post-racial year that many would like us to believe.

Is the campaign truly post-racial? Well, based on the polls it certainly should be. If only 7% of people would not vote for an African American then why is it even worth mentioning these 7%? I am certain that a larger majority would never vote for Barack Obama because he is a Democrat, and similarly, voters who would never vote for John McCain because he is a Republican.

This proven slim minority of racist voters suggests that anyone who declares race as a factor is possibly a racist in their own right. A striking example is when Jack Cafferty and Kathleen Sebelius suggested that race is the reason that Barack Obama is not polling higher than John McCain. When race would not have been a large factor in 1969 elections, it begs the question: why are commentators focusing on an issue that only 7% of voters are concerned about.

Kathleen Sebellus at a rally in Iowa City on Wednesday September 17th, 2008 answered the following in response to a question as why Barack Obama and John McCain are in a dead heat in the polls.

“Have any of you noticed that Barack Obama is part African-American? That may be a factor. All the code language, all that doesn’t show up in the polls. And that may be a factor for some people.”

CNN Commentator Jack Cafferty stated on his blog:

Race is arguably the biggest issue in this election, and it’s one that nobody’s talking about.

Unfortunately, they both forgot to fact check before they made their unsubstantiated proclamations.

Gallup Poll 1969
“If your party nominated a generally well-qualified man for president and he happened to be a Negro, would you vote for him?”

Year Yes No No Opinion
1958 38% 53% 9%
1963 47% 45% 8%
1965 59% 34% 7%
1967 54% 40% 6%
1969 67% 23% 10%

the Gallup poll can be seen here if you pay for it.

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