Unless the polls are wrong, the winner of today’s election is clear: Lyndon Baines Johnson. “We have lost the South for a generation,” Johnson said when he signed the Civil Rights Act. Well, “for that generation, time’s up,” Richard Cohen writes in the Washington Post. Barack Obama isn’t a transformational figure, he’s “a conformational figure,” representing a seed that’s already blossomed. It was planted by Johnson.
“Pockets of racism exist,” Cohen allows. “But the country has changed.” Johnson forced black people and white people to mix: Affirmative action put African Americans in positions they’d previously been kept away from. Now, America has celebrated black entertainers and black elected officials, and for that matter Jewish and Indian and Austrian ones as well. It isn’t just Obama that’s post-racial: It’s America.