Barack Obama’s ascendancy allows Hawaii to laud and claim him as its own. When Hawaii’s Democrats held their presidential caucus on Feb. 19, an electoral tsunami swept over the islands.
Hawaii Democrats are sending more than 45 delegates, alternatives and party officials to the national convention in Denver, with many fresh faces who bring overwhelming support for U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.
Even though Obama clinched the nomination in June, the battle between his supporters and those of U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton still echoes through the party.
Despite their different party affiliations, if Sen. Barack Obama manages to recapture the White House for Democrats in November, even Hawaii Republican Gov. Linda Lingle might have at least one reason to cheer.
Some political analysts say the Hawaii-born Obama would bring an understanding of the islands to the nation’s top office that no other president has possessed.
Growing up as a young man of mixed race, Barack Obama benefited from the spirit of tolerance that defined Hawaii’s racial climate.
His childhood in the country’s idealized melting pot was far from painless, though.
As part of the islands’ small group of black Americans in the 1970s, he encountered racism and struggled to form a black identity.
The personalities and personal histories of Barack Obama and John McCain are as evident in the artwork, books and mementos in their Senate offices as in any words they might utter.
Obama’s office feels more like a gallery of modern art: precisely placed objects, sparsely adorned surfaces, clean lines, choreographed displays.
McCain’s office oozes comfy clutter and informality: random piles of books, a fortune-cookie message taped to the desk, an abundance of tchotchkes and bric-a-brac.
At key moments in his adolescence, Barack Obama could not turn to a father he hardly knew. Instead, he looked to a left-leaning black journalist and poet for advice on living in a world of black and white.
Frank Marshall Davis had his opinions. He once argued that the public schools of his youth prepared neither blacks nor whites for “life in a multiracial, democratic nation.” He called hypocrisy “a national trait of American whites.” Advocating civil rights amid segregation, Davis wrote in 1949: “I refuse to settle for anything less than all the rights which are due me under the Constitution.”
Barack Obama won a landslide victory in the state of his birth in Hawaii’s Feb. 19 Democratic caucuses, as an unprecedented turnout overwhelmed precinct volunteers and party officials.
Obama emerged with 28,347 votes, or 75.7 percent, to 8,835, or 23.6 percent, for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.
Excitement about Obama, who graduated from Punahou School and represents Illinois, raised interest in the caucuses to record levels. Party officials had expected a larger-than-normal turnout and printed 17,000 ballots. It proved well short of the more than 37,400 votes cast and many precincts resorted to handing out scraps of paper to voters to write in their choice.