What will happen if, on election night in November, John McCain wins the presidency? Will it necessarily be determined that Obama’s defeat is the result of a conspiracy? A fraud? Or something worse?
Much has been said and written in recent months about the historical and cultural significance of the Obama nomination, and the would-be Obama presidency. Obama, himself, seems to place no limits on his own historical and cultural significance. At age 46, he has already authored two books - - both are about himself - - and the securing of his party’s nomination marked, according to him, the moment when our nation began to “heal..”
But what if Obama’s seemingly inevitable destiny - - that of “change agent President” - - was abruptly cut short? I’m not hinting here at the possibility of an assassin’s bullet (I’ll leave it to Hillary Clinton to suggest such things). I’m merely stating the obvious. The first Black American to secure the presidential nomination of a major political party could end up losing the election. If that were to happen, then what would the historical and cultural significance of that event be?
I first raised this question about five months ago, during some of the ugliest days of Obama’s primary election struggle with the race-baiting Clintons. In a private conversation over lunch in Washington, a friend and former Bush Administration staffer told me “Obama is a much more formidable candidate than many Republicans think. And while I disagree with him on policy issues, there is part of me that really believes that electing this guy President would go a long way towards healing the black-white rift in our country.”
“But does the inverse of that hold true?” I asked. “If he
makes it to the general election but then loses, are black-white relations made worse?”
“I don’t want to think about that” my friend replied after a long pause. “There could be trouble in the streets.”
That was in February. And since that conversation, I’ve repeatedly experienced people hinting at similar concerns in a variety of different contexts. I see it in email messages from readers of this column. I hear it from listeners to my own talk radio program at Washington, DC’s 630 WMAL, and the many other talk shows I guest host around the country.
And this past week I heard it in the most explicit terms. While speaking with a friend who is a yacht broker in the affluent Santa Monica coastal region of Southern California, I asked “what do people in your circles have to say about the presidential election? Are they even talking about it? What do they say?”
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.