PolySigh's very own Phil Klinkner was quoted in yesterday's Chicago Tribune Magazine devoted to analyzing the role of race in American politics. Several articles in the magazine explore the significance of Barack Obama's senate race for African-American politicians to be elected to statewide office. Most of the assessments conclude that he's an exception; for the most part, Blacks still have a difficult time winning statewide political races because white voters simply will not vote for them, regardless of what they say on a survey. Says Klinkner, "Having a black candidate loses you about five points, assuming all other things are equal. That doesn't mean you automatically lose. But if you spot the other team five points, it's much more difficult." I suspect Obama is an exception and that many factors explain what will be a sure victory next Tuesday. I'd be curious to hear what others think: is Obama's entrance into the U.S. Senate an indication of a significant change in American politics? Should we expect to see several more Black candidates winning statewide (or, dare I say it, national) office in the near future? Or will he be yet another exception to the rule?