From the If Only files

Steve Sailer, perhaps to stir the pot a little bit, has imagined two different scenarios in which we’d already had a black President:

  • Walter Mondale picks Tom Bradley for the Veep slot in 1984, manages to beat a rattled-in-the-debates Ronald Reagan, and is killed when Air Force One crashes;
  • Colin Powell, urged on by Mrs Powell, defeats Bob Dole, then Bill Clinton, in 1996.

Given either one of these scenarios, Sailer asks:

In either alternative history, does Barack Obama become the second black President? If there had already been a first black president, would anyone have ever even considered Obama to be Presidential Timber? Would you have ever even heard of Obama?

Sailer’s commentariat, at the moment, seems to be evenly split among Yes, No, and Blame the Jews. I figure we have fewer axes to grind here, so I’ve imported the question. (I lean towards No, but I’m willing to be shown the error of my ways, if such it be.)



  1. Joseph Hertzlinger »

    5 October 2012 · 1:29 am

    Blame the Jews?

    Speaking as a Red-Sea pedestrian, all I have to say is…

    I didn’t do it; nobody saw me do it; you can’t prove anything!

  2. Roger Green »

    5 October 2012 · 4:27 am

    It would all have depended on how the terms went. Powell has Clintonian economic upturn, maybe yes. Powell gets re-elected in 2000, we experience 9/11, almost certainly not. But would President Powell seen the warning signs sooner?

  3. Jess »

    5 October 2012 · 8:01 am

    I think we would have heard of Obama, if the country was motivating along like it has for the last 4 decades. Obama’s handlers probably don’t care about anything but their continued success in influencing world monetary policies and influence of power.

    Obama is a useful tool, especially when you have the media helping with the sale. His skin color was just another selling point and it never mattered if he was of Presidential timber.

  4. McGehee »

    5 October 2012 · 8:37 am

    We might have heard of him, and he might even have been elected to the Senate, but at best he might have been a second-tier Cabinet secretary, or a running-mate to a sacrificial Dem nominee against a popular incumbent.

    Really, the Senate was the highest office he was ever qualified for, and that only because Biden set the bar so low.

  5. Kirk »

    5 October 2012 · 9:33 am

    I love these alternative history scenarios. It’s so much fun to play what-if.

    In either of these scenarios, we would never have heard of Obama, and he would be, at most, a Senate back-bencher. In these scenarios, he’s not the choice of the moment rising star who gets the nod for the 2004 Dem keynote address, and he’s not even seriously considered as a candidate for president in 2008.

  6. fillyjonk »

    5 October 2012 · 10:07 am

    Another question: if Shirley Chisholm had become president, what would the future possibilities for Black presidents, women presidents, or presidents who were both, be?

    (I’d like to think that if she had won, she would have made it through the term intact, but seeing as she had had three assassination attempts during her campaign….)

  7. Tatyana »

    6 October 2012 · 6:57 am

    Who cares if he is black, tan, or polka-dot. He is a vulgar socialist and racist – which qualify him as Quite Ordinary. Or even Typical.

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