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Barack Obama's America

How New Conceptions of Race, Family, and Religion Ended the Reagan Era

John Kenneth White

Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Imprint: University of Michigan Press
Published: 01/2009
Pages: 320
Subject: Political Science - American Government/Executive Branch, Social Science - Discrimination & Race Relations, Social Science - Sociology of Religion
Print ISBN: 9780472033911
eBook ISBN: 9780472900909


The election of Barack Obama to the presidency marks a conclusive end to the Reagan era, writes John Kenneth White in Barack Obama's America. Reagan symbolized a 1950s and 1960s America, largely white and suburban, with married couples and kids at home, who attended church more often than not.

Obama's election marks a new era, the author writes. Whites will be a minority by 2042. Marriage is at an all-time low. Cohabitation has increased from a half-million couples in 1960 to more than 5 million in 2000 to even more this year. Gay marriages and civil unions are redefining what it means to be a family. And organized religions are suffering, even as Americans continue to think of themselves as a religious people. Obama's inauguration was a defining moment in the political destiny of this country, based largely on demographic shifts, as described in Barack Obama's America.


"John K. White, one of the nation's foremost political scientists, skillfully and with deep insight explores in Barack Obama's America the social and cultural upheavals that have produced a new political era—supplanting 40 years of conservative domination. White's lively and highly readable account of changing morays culminates in the 2008 election which, in his words, 'represented a moment when a new demography caught up to a new politics.' White's literary skills make his description of how 'the Ronald Reagan era has come to a close and the Barack Obama era has begun' attractive and accessible to both the layman and the specialist. Barack Obama's America is essential reading for all those seeking to make sense of the transformation of American politics in the past few years."

—Thomas Edsall, Columbia Journalism Professor and Huffington Post Political Editor and author of Building Red America: The New Conservative Coalition and the Drive for Power