KC Johnson

The 2008 Election


2008 Democratic primaries: Obama vs. Clinton

2008 Democratic primaries: Obama vs. Clinton

2008 general election: Obama vs. McCain

2008 general election: Obama vs. McCain

The McCain belt, 2008 election

The McCain belt, 2008 election

Comparisons, Democratic performance in swing states, 2000 vs. 2008:

Pennsylvania 2000

Pennsylvania 2000

Pennsylvania 2008

Pennsylvania 2008

Virginia, 2000

Virginia, 2000

Virginia, 2008

Virginia, 2008

Images–Obama’s Portland, Oregon rally, May 2008, Democratic nominating campaign:


Obama Jefferson-Jackson Day speech, pre-Iowa caucuses, Nov. 2007:

Bill Clinton compares Obama’s South Carolina win to that of Jesse Jackson, Jan. 2008

Obama Philadelphia race speech, March 2008

Jon Stewart profiles the West Virginia primary, May 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Palin rally, eastern Ohio, fall 2008

Obama campaign closing rally, Manassas, Virginia, Nov. 2008

Obama victory speech, Nov. 2008


Obama’s position and image used to rally African-American backing for California’s Prop. 8, to strip right to marry from gays and lesbians:

yes on 8 obama , 2back, yes on 8 obama


I. The Campaign

1. Emergence of Obama (Gore decision not to run; weaknesses of other Democratic candidates; Clinton’s inept campaign; Obama support—fundraising, Iraq war position, youth vote; significance of Iowa caucuses; Iowa victory and change in black support; South Carolina primary and first emergence of race issue—portraying Obama as the “black candidate”?; “Super-Duper Tuesday” and failure of Clinton strategy—Obama benefiting from Jesse Jackson rule changes)

2. Obama as Unelectable? (Obama coalition: African-Americans, younger voters, better-educated/wealthier Democrats; Clinton as white working-class heroine; release of Wright videos and Obama’s race speech; North Carolina and Indiana; Clinton’s racial argument—West Virginia, Kentucky, rejection by superdelegates)

3. The Fall Election (McCain as “maverick”; race and taking Wright off table?; economic collapse; Obama benefiting from race?—increased black turnout, symbolizing change, role of Hispanics; appeal in exurbs and traditionally GOP states—Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Indiana; victory)

II. Continued Prejudices?

1. Palinism (Wallace legacy; difficulties with media/knowledge of issues; crowds and coded messages; demographic appeal; Appalachia/Ozark results)

2. Prop 8 (legacy of rights in U.S.; peculiarities of California constitution; nature of campaign; role of Obama and significance of black vote in outcome; legacies—SCLC, Obama and gay rights)

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