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The Obama PhenomenonToward a Multiracial Democracy$
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Charles P. Henry, Robert L. Allen, and Robert Chrisman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036453

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036453.001.0001

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Toward a Multiracial Democracy

Toward a Multiracial Democracy

The Jackson and Obama Contributions

(p.15) One Toward a Multiracial Democracy
The Obama Phenomenon

Charles P. Henry

University of Illinois Press

This chapter traces the evolution of Blacks from voters to candidates following the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It argues that there were two waves of Black electoral success. Focusing on Black mayors, it contrasts the “insurgent strategy” with the later “deracialized strategy.” The “insurgent” strategy often resembles a social movement more than a political campaign and is directed at mobilizing the candidate's racial support base. The “deracialized” strategy attempts to downplay any racial issue as the candidate reaches out to form a broad coalition of supporters. The chapter also gives credit to Harold Washington and Jesse Jackson for their strategy of expanding the base of the Democratic Party rather than moving to the right to capture “Reagan Democrats.”

Keywords:   black voters, 1965 Voting Rights Act, electoral success, Harold Washington, Jessie Jackson, Democratic Party, political campaign strategy, black mayors

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