Swimming the Multiple Currents: The Political and Racial Time of Barack Obama’s Presidency

  • Kimberley S. JohnsonEmail author


Kimberley Johnson uses the concepts of political and racial time to scrutinize Obama’s presidency. Obama’s presidency is evaluated using Stephen Skowronek’s model of political time. While Obama was initially hailed as a reconstructive president, an overview of his policy success and failures reveals that he was forced to govern as a preemptive president. Obama’s preemptive presidency was also shaped by racial time. His neoliberal race relations approach was met with resistance, within his own coalition and later by the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement as well as by the rise of right-wing white populism. The latter re-animated the Republican Party which in turn acted as a hard check on Obama’s policy goals. Johnson argues that the Obama presidency was unique not only because he was the first black president, but also because his presidency inhabited both political and racial time.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.New York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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