Obama is taking steps to address those concerns and plans to talk more frequently about how he was raised by a white mother and white grandparents after his father left the family when he was 2 years old. As part of that effort, he dedicated his nomination victory to his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who still lives in the two-bedroom Honolulu apartment where he was raised during his adolescence. He will also focus on courting swing states that he lost to Clinton in the primaries, including Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Obama has an advantage because of the country's mood. Polls show the country is unhappy with Republican policies on the economy and Iraq, which benefits the Democrats. Many voters are upset about soaring gasoline prices and corruption in Washington. Recent polls show 8 of 10 Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction, and a similar percentage disapprove of President Bush's job performance. Says historian Robert Dallek: "We're looking at a new upsurge of progressivism, a desire for federal activism, a desire for integrity at the White House."
All this represents a ready-made formula for a Democratic victory. But there were similar predictions in 2000 and 2004, and the Democrats failed to seize the moments.