The road to the White House comes straight through the Black community

By Noble Johns

Sen. Barack Obama is considered by many to be the first African-American candidate with a realistic chance of winning the White House. Today Obama stood before the Capitol in his home state of Illinois and he announced he would seek the 2008 Democratic nomination for president.

While Obama is considered Black by most standards, he is not really Black in that he does not share the history and culture of American slavery. Nor does any other candidates in the race for president. Be that as it may Black, white or in between, the road to the White House come straight through the Black community!

You got to get the Democratic nomination to run for president, and in many states in the South, like South Carolina, North Carolina Virginia, Mississippi Georgia, and Alabama where Blacks make up over 50% of the voters in the Democratic primaries, if you can get that vote in a block and a reasonable number of white and Hispanics, the White House could be yours. In other words, if you can get a block of Black voters during the Democratic primary election, you can win the nomination and go on to be President of the United States.

Now, Senator Hillary Clinton is leading Obama in the race for the Black Democratic vote for 2008: Clinton having 60% of the Black voters polled and Obama 24%. Like Malcolm X once said, “When the white vote is evenly divided, it is he Black vote that counts the most…” Again, the Black vote is the key!

Moreover, unlike previous Black presidential candidates, Obama was not part of the civil rights struggle, which makes some African-Americans wary of him.

His mixed, half-white-half-African heritage — with a white mother from Kansas, and a Black father from Kenya — has in fact led some observers to suggest that he is an African and an American, but not a true African-American… like the ones the whites cops beat-down everyday!

Some say he has little national experience, causing others to question if his skills match his ambition. I think that is a misnomer because his skill set is stronger that most white running and certainly stronger that Stupid Bush.

According to a University of New Hampshire Survey Research Center conducted this month, Obama placed second, behind Sen. Hillary Clinton, among New Hampshire Democratic primary voters. Obama snared 21 percent of the vote in that popularity poll, trailing Clinton by 14 points.

While speculation is endless over whether a black presidential candidate can be viable, Obama… whose first name comes from the Swahili word for "one who is blessed" — has not let the color of skin hinder his career.
He has attended elite colleges like Harvard and Columbia universities and was the first Black president of the Harvard Law Review. He entered politics in Illinois, where he practiced civil rights law and taught at the University of Chicago Law School.

His first run into the political world came in 1997, when he took his seat in the state Senate, where he served until 2005. He was sworn in as a U.S. senator in 2005.

He had a big crowd of supporters who braved the sub-zero temperatures in Springfield, Illinois to watch Obama make his announcement.

Standing in the shadow of the building where Abraham Lincoln called for Americans to unite against slavery, Obama said: "I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," causing the crowd to chant his name.

As he declared his candidacy, Obama acknowledged that some consider him too inexperienced to take on such a role saying: "I know that I have not spent a long time learning the ways of Washington, but I have been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington have to change."

Ahead of Saturday's speech in the city of Springfield Obama appeared in an online video message to his supporters. In it he expressed a desire to re-engage with people on a grass roots level, saying that together they are beginning "a great journey to take our country back and fundamentally change the nature of politics".

Instead of being cynical about politics he asked people to believe in the possibility they can make an impact on people's everyday lives.

Obama burst on to the national scene two-and-a-half years ago, delivering a stirring keynote speech at the Democratic Party convention. Once saying, “There was no white or black America, but a United States of America.” That helped him win a seat in the US Senate and subsequently set him on a fast track to vie for the White House.

The news media has dubbed Obama "America's hottest political phenomenon" …Oprah Winfrey urged him to announce his candidacy on her program.

Instead, he chose to launch his presidential campaign on the very spot where Abraham Lincoln once denounced the divisions in America caused by slavery.

His experience under fire

Though undoubtedly ambitious and charismatic, with relatively little national experience and formidable opponents, including Clinton, many question whether he can really secure the Democratic nomination, and whether he has the depth of policy to match. Obama has tried to answer critics in recent weeks, our correspondent says, introducing a bill that calls for the phased redeployment of US troops from Iraq.

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