Editorial: Race may play large role in 2008 Presidential Election

By Mallory Terrence
October 23, 2008

The 2008 presidential election is less than two weeks away and the country seems pretty split on who will win. The American people are concerned about the economic plans, health care coverage and the Iraq war, but are they concerned about the race of the president?

From a country as diverse as America you would hope that race is not a decisive factor, but some polls are saying that prejudice will affect the results of the election.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates race will play a big role in November; 37 percent said yes when asked if race would be a factor in their vote. AP-Yahoo News poll conducted last month showed that one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views towards African-American people.

Even when Sen. Barack Obama seems to be ahead in election polls, supporters should not jump to any conclusions. Previously in history, race largely swayed an election at the last minute. In 1982, Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley was running to become California’s first African-American governor, polls showed Bradley holding a significant lead over his white opponent, but when Election Day came, Bradley lost. The assumption is that voters lied when answering polls; they did not want to seem prejudice but could not give support to an African-American in the end.

Although a racial mindset has changed much since the early ’80s, will it still affect the outcome of the 2008 election?

Prejudice towards race is not the only obstacle the candidates will face this election. If elected, Sen. John McCain will be the oldest first-term president. Some have even speculated that Obama is associated with terrorism, simply because of his middle name.

How can a voter focus on something as ignorant as race when the education system is suffering, 5 million Americans are living in poverty and over 4,000 Americans have died at war? We need a leader to get us through these hard times and the decision needs to be based on their policies and goals.

Under the country’s current president, our nation’s budget has gone from having a surplus to running a half-trillion-dollar deficit and now the financial markets are in turmoil. Come November we must make a choice of who is better able to offer economic plans to put us back in reasonable shape and build America back to what we once were.

Students should invest time to study the issues and make sure you are voting for the candidate you feel will better the country for what they stand for and not what they look like.

It is our generation that will pay the price, it is college students that headed into the job market, buying homes and searching for health insurance. It will only harm us if we do not educate ourselves before casting our vote.

In a country and election focused on change, how far are the American people willing to go to actually change from the stereotypical white house?

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Mallory Terrence

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