In The Breakthrough , veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential victory and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.
Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama (all interviewed for this book), and also covers numerous up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on exclusive interviews with power brokers such as President Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, his son Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict, the race/ gender clash, and the "black enough" conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.
The Breakthrough is a remarkable look at contemporary politics and an essential foundation for understanding the future of American democracy in the age of Obama.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Breakthrough|
|Release Date: 01-20-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||The Breakthrough|
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I learned how to cover race riots by telephone. They didn't pay me enough at my first newspaper job to venture onto the grounds of South Boston High School when bricks were being thrown. Instead, I would telephone the headmaster and ask him to relay to me the number of broken chairs in the cafeteria each day. A white colleague dispatched to the scene would fill in the details for me.
I've spent 30 years in journalism since then chronicling stories like that – places where truth and consequences collide, rub up against each other, and shift history's course. None of that prepared me for 2008 and the astonishing rise of Barack Obama.
It is true that he accomplished what no black man had before, but it went farther than that. Simply as an exercise in efficient politics, Obama '08 rewrote the textbook. His accomplishment was historic and one that transformed how race and politics intersect in our society. Obama is the leading edge of this change, but his success is merely the ripple in a pond that grows deeper every day.
"When people do something that they've never done before, I think that makes it easier to do it a second time," David Axelrod, the Obama campaign's chief strategist, told me just days after Obama won. "So when people vote for an African American candidate, I think itmakes it easier for the next African American candidate."
The next African American candidates – and a fair share of those already in office, subscribe to a formula driven as much by demographics as destiny. When population shifts – brought about by fair housing laws, affirmative action and landmark school desegregation rulings – political power is challenged