Regardless of your politics, you have to agree that the Iowa Democratic caucuses last night produced a glowing moment in American political (and cultural) history. The fact that Barak Obama defeated two well-qualified presidential candidates in a state that’s more than 90% white represents a true breakthrough in this country. David Brooks explained it well in a New York Times opinion piece today:
Barack Obama has won the Iowa caucuses. You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel moved by this. An African-American man wins a closely fought campaign in a pivotal state. He beats two strong opponents, including the mighty Clinton machine. He does it in a system that favors rural voters. He does it by getting young voters to come out to the caucuses.
This is a huge moment. It’s one of those times when a movement that seemed ethereal and idealistic became a reality and took on political substance.
Iowa won’t settle the race, but the rest of the primary season is going to be colored by the glow of this result. Whatever their political affiliations, Americans are going to feel good about the Obama victory, which is a story of youth, possibility and unity through diversity — the primordial themes of the American experience.