How will our underlying values about race shape our presidential election?

arack Obama will lead the Democratic Party’s ticket in the presidential election this autumn — the first black candidate to run as the nominee of a major party for our nation’s highest office.
   Will the “Bradley Effect” defeat him?
   In 1982, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley ran as the Democratic candidate for governor of California against Republican George Deukmejian. Approaching the election, polls indicated Bradley had a good shot at winning. Polls before the election predicted a Bradley win. So did exit polls on Election Day.
   But Bradley lost. Bradley (who died in 1998) was black; Deukmejian white. After the vote, political analysts concluded that white voters told pollsters they were going to vote for Bradley or were undecided. However, in the privacy of the polling booth, they voted for the white candidate. This racial dynamic was dubbed the “Bradley Effect.”
   That was 1982. That was California, not the entire U.S. No one is sure what will happen this time.
   So, what do you think? Will race be a big factor in the November elections?   Will Barack Obama suffer the same fate as Tom Bradley?  Can a black man be elected president in America?

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