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Obama is the Man for Dem

By Selwyn R. Cudjoe
February 08, 2008

When Barack Obama started his lonely quest for the presidency of the United States a year ago few gave him much of a chance to derail what seemed like Hilary Clinton's inevitable ascendancy to the White House. Obama may have been lanky as the Lincoln; as articulate as Brother Malcolm; and personable as Mandela but no one really expected him to reach to the mountain top. In spite of his admirable qualities, few thought he would give the wife of a former two-term president such a run for her money. In fact, she had to borrow five million dollars from her personal fortune to continue her quest for the White House. Like Lincoln, Malcolm and Mandela, he, too had a dream for his country that is sustained by hope in America's future and her many blessings.

Initially, with all of the doubting Thomases, things did not look well for Obama. Then he won in Iowa. It sent Hilary scurrying to New Hampshire where, with well orchestrated eye water, and the determined votes of women, she captured the state and became a viable candidate again.

Then Bill Clinton got in the way. He started to make pronouncements about Obama that did not go down too well with many Democrats. Many saw his intervention as pouring racial poison into the campaign where none was needed. Stung by Bill's negative comments, African Americans in South Carolina voted overwhelmingly for Obama and he was in the race to the White House again.

The stage was set on Super Tuesday (February 5). The original script called for Hilary to lock up the nomination when these twenty two states cast their votes. On that day, Obama was supposed to succumb to her overwhelming power. Things did not work out that way. Not only did he survive, he won more states than Hilary (14) and received fifty eight thousand fewer votes than Hilary. Obama received 7,369,798 votes while Hilary received 7,427,700 votes in what turned out to be a record-setting number of voters.

The New York Times reports that Obama received 583 delegates as opposed to Hilary's 667 delegates. Overall, Obama has a total of 716 delegates as opposed to Hilary's 892. The Financial Times reports Obama has 765 delegates as opposed to Hilary's 845 delegates. With liberals, independents and young people (Obama's major supporters) voting in Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska and Washington State this weekend and blacks voting in Maryland and Virginia on Tuesday Obama should amass more delegates than Hilary by the end of next week. A candidate needs 2,025 delegates to win the nomination.

Obama's achievements have not been so bad for a black man whose father was born in Kenya and whose mother comes from Kansas, a state that Obama won on Tuesday with the help of his white cousins. Trying to keep it real, Obama recognizes that he can lift up his confidence level a bit. He calls himself a slight (nor a great) underdog and expects better things as voters come to know him better.

Hilary sees her chances as improving as she goes into Ohio and Texas where more established and older democrats live and Hispanics form a large part of democratic voters. Asians and Hispanics have thrown in their lot with Hilary thereby making up for the losses that Hilary has sustain as a result of Obama's African America supporters.

Yet, the question remains: can Obama pull off victory? How will Obama perform in those cold, balmy and sunny days that lead up to the Democratic convention in Colorado? Some experts predict that we are looking at a brokered convention where the Democratic presidential candidate will be chosen. In this scenario, Hilary will have the advantage.

Yet, all of the signs seem to suggest that Obama will make it before we get to the convention. He is wining the white votes in the South and the affluent communities. The white men who went for John Edwards are turning to him. He has all of the ingredients to pull off a victory. Jesse Jackson says he "has the presence. He has the message. He has the money, the machinery and the timing."

However, he will have to continue to rely upon his messianic message; his soaring rhetoric; and his promise of American redemption. He has to continue to inspire Americans to make them believe that he is the one who can transform their society and take them into a New Jerusalem. As he insisted to his euphoric supporters, "We are the ones we been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." Salvation lies within us rather than outside of us.

"America," as Toni Morrison observed, "is ripe, outrageously rich in possibilities. Yet, unleashing the glory of that future will require a difficult labor." Obama, she says, is capable of making that delivery. She believes that "there have been a few prescient leaders in our past, but you are the man for this time." Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States of America. This is a prediction rather than a hope.

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