Randall Kennedy, CNN
It is often the case that a vocal, motivated minority can exercise influence that far exceeds their numbers. Enthusiasm matters. A drumbeat of complaint calling into question Obama’s attentiveness to blacks might well diminish the fervency of the support he will need for his re-election effort. Furthermore, certain actions he might take to respond to the racial critique might well alienate other, nonblack, potential supporters.
The race line will ensnare Obama no matter how he proceeds. It will not necessarily defeat him. His epochal victory in 2008 showed that, unlike previous eras, our own is one in which a black politician can overcome racial barriers to win the highest office in the land. Still, the sobering reality is that race remains an important, persistent force in American life despite the presence of a black family in the White House.