If there is anything approaching an iron law of American politics, it’s this: The next president will be a member of the same race as the current one. It’s a rule that has held through 42 of 43 transfers of power. And there’s every reason to think it will hold through the next one. The next president will, in all likelihood, be African-American, most likely one of the two African Americans who would make anybody’s list of the top 10 contenders for the Democratic nomination.
This is, obviously, the sort of statistical bullshit with which political and sports pundits amuse themselves all day on cable TV and talk radio. It’s equally true that 43 of 44 presidents have been white men.
But there are also strong reasons to believe that the Democratic nominee, at least, will be African-American. First, African-Americans represent a vital voting bloc in Democratic primaries, and they — like most ethnic groups — typically rally around the favorite son or daughter. Black voters represented an overwhelming 55 percent of the vote in South Carolina in 2008, and almost 20 percent in, for instance, Florida. And the liberal white Democrats who make up the primary electorate in places like Iowa obviously have no problem voting for a black candidate.