Tuesday, October 7, 2008

28 days from the end: Race and the presidential campaign

George Packer has an interesting report in the current New Yorker. He actually goes out in the field and asks people questions about what they think. Imagine that. This statement jarred me.

For obvious reasons, neither Obama nor McCain wants to address the conjunction of race and class in this election. The national press corps—which more and more confines its political coverage to politicians, campaign officials, strategists, and itself—has often discussed the role of race in the campaign, but the conversation is inevitably softened by euphemism. Americans accustomed to discussing race politely, or not at all, might follow the campaign without a real sense of the potency of skin color.

I have to admit: When I have reflected on this election, and tried to make sense of the events and the shifts and the goings-on, I have rarely put race at the center of my analysis. Packer's story argues that race is central.

Twenty-eight days out. Should be an interesting four weeks.

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