Barack Obama’s new memoir will give his former deputy little comfort

THE ONLY racist epithets Barack Obama recalls from his first presidential campaign, in his engrossing new memoir, “A Promised Land”, were uttered by the rural white folk who declared they were “thinking of voting for the nigger”. He would go on to win the biggest majority of any Democrat since 1964, including by unexpectedly bagging white, working-class states such as Iowa and Ohio. “Race doesn’t matter!” chanted the crowds that celebrated his victories. Yet two years later Tea Party protesters were waving banners of Mr Obama with a bone through his nose. The proportion of Republicans who said he was Muslim soared—to around half by the end of his presidency. Whereupon millions of those same rural supporters elected the main spreader of racist lies about Mr Obama to be his successor.

As that chronology should suggest, the white backlash to Mr Obama, which Donald Trump rode to the White House, was not inevitable. It was engineered, a product of unprecedented obstruction from the Republican establishment in combination with relentless slander of the president and his adored, politics-loathing wife by the conservative media. “It’s a trip, isn’t it?” murmured Michelle Obama, after glimpsing a Tea Party rally on television. “That they’re scared of you. Scared of us.

The hate-mongering on Fox News was...

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