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They formed a strong base of the multiracial coalition that twice elected Barack Obama and overwhelmingly backed Clinton in But that year also saw turnout among African Americans falling to its lowest rate in 20 years, with particularly sharp declines in midwestern states like Michigan, where Trump won by less than 11, votes of the 4.

Now we need a leader who will own up to that reality. The public remains deeply divided over race but attitudes have shifted. Accordingly, the party has introduced ambitious and detailed proposals to address racial disparities in maternal healthcare, to overhaul the criminal justice system and to expand access to public housing, improve accountability in policing, invest in education and explore reparations for the descendants of slaves.

The Color of His Presidency

But race and racism remain hot issues and the NAACP presidential forum provided a preview of battles to come in the second Democratic debate, which will take place in Detroit next week. In the first debate, the California senator Kamala Harris, one of two leading black presidential candidates, clashed with the former VP over his record on race,. Biden, who enjoys sizable support among African American voters, is also exchanging barbs with New Jersey senator Cory Booker, the other prominent black candidate. Biden, who has proposed criminal justice reform legislation to undo some of the effects of that bill, refuted the accusation and then unloaded on Booker, attacking his record as mayor of Newark.


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White House officials and Trump allies argue that voters will be persuaded by economic gains. The president regularly brags that unemployment among Hispanic and black Americans has fallen to record lows , even though the rates have since climbed. He also signed into law bipartisan legislation overhauling a criminal justice system that disproportionately ensnares people of color.

Racial Politics After Obama | Dissent Magazine

Hate crimes have risen. Carrying this animus into The Black Presidency , Dyson spends an inordinate amount of space, especially in the early chapters, differentiating those black leaders and thinkers whose criticisms of the president and his supporters he deems worthy, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jelani Cobb, and those whose criticisms he deems unworthy, such as Cornell West and Tavis Smiley.

This is the right distinction to make, yet one that seems almost contrived given the strained personal relationship between Dyson and West. Yet, what more could President Obama have done given the fact that the bill, even as construed to help all Americans, passed without a single Republican vote? This, of course, is the position of the current president, Donald Trump, whose efforts at repealing the ACA fell short in March and July as he has been unable to secure enough Republican votes to overcome having no Democratic support.

Despite these criticisms, The Black Presidency is one of those rare gems that seamlessly meld complex concepts appropriate for graduate studies with clear writing that makes the work accessible to a larger audience.

Barack Obama's 2008 speech on race and politics (Part 4)

This monograph will find its way into course syllabi in a variety of disciplines and should not be passed over by historians. It will be up to other scholars to balance the political record as Dyson has done for the racial record. Scott Vehstedt American University.