The Black President: A balance sheet of things Obama did right and could have done better

Book review: Clegg’s focus is on race and how the Obama presidency affected black Americans

Visitors view the official portrait of former president Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley at the Art Institute of Chicago on June 18th, 2021. Photograph:  Scott Olson/Getty Images

Visitors view the official portrait of former president Barack Obama by Kehinde Wiley at the Art Institute of Chicago on June 18th, 2021. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A ghost is haunting American politics – the ghost of Barack Obama. Donald Trump won the White House by appealing to those who could never accept a black man as their president. He rose to prominence by promulgating the racist conspiracy theory that Obama had not been born in the US.

Joe Biden is president today because he was Obama’s vice-president. Biden struggled badly in early Democratic primaries, but he was saved by African American voters who supported him because for eight years he had gladly taken orders from a black man. Also, Obama intervened behind the scenes to rally party support for Biden and squelch the chances of Bernie Sanders.

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