Alan Ehrenhalt is a former executive editor of GOVERNING.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a subject that hasn't come up in the presidential campaign, and isn't likely to. But it's worth asking anyway. What effect would the election of Barack Obama as president have on affirmative action programs in state and local government around the country?
Obviously Obama wouldn't come into office seeking to cut affirmative action back -- he'd be supportive of it in the way Carter and Clinton were. But it seems to me millions of middle-class white Americans would start saying something like this: "Okay, we have a black president now. Doesn't that represent the pinnacle of what affirmative action was supposed to accomplish? Why do we need these programs at all any more?"
I can see this argument resonating with legislatures and even courts at every level, from local to federal. I'm not saying it would be a good or bad thing -- merely that it's one likely indirect consequence of an Obama victory. I'm curious what other people think.
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