To simply say the 2008 presidential election was historic seems like an understatement. The election was unique in many ways beyond the selection of the nation's first African-American as President. The drama of the election was also heightened by the historic nomination battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The contest generated issues of race and gender throughout the campaign, as did the candidacy of Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. And John McCain brought his own unique qualities to the campaign: Vietnam War hero, long-term Congressional service record, feisty temperament, and the oldest first-time presidential candidate to run for the Presidency.
Thus, issues of race, gender and age dominated the campaign both implicitly and explicitly. The candidacies of Clinton, Obama, McCain and Palin provided the context and dynamics for charges of racism, sexism and ageism. Studies of Identity in the 2008 Presidential Campaign explores issues of identity politics and the presidential election. Investigating all aspects of race, gender or ageism, the contributors to this volume address the role and function of "identity politics" in political campaigns, and highlight challenges of "identity politics" in contemporary political campaigns.
Robert E. Denton —
Robert E. Denton, Jr. holds the W. Thomas Rice Chair of Leadership Studies in the Pamplin College of Business and is Professor in the Department of Communication at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).
Studies of identity in the 2008 presidential campaign, ed. by Robert E. Denton Jr. Lexington Books, 2010. 235p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780739141021; ISBN 9780739141038 pbk. Reviewed in 2011jan CHOICE.
This edited collection examines the role of identity in the historic presidential election of 2008. After a brief introductory essay that provides an overview of the election, an essay analyzes Sarah Palin's campaign as the Republican nominee for vice president. The Palin campaign is notable in that a woman ran against the typical image of feminism. A particularly interesting essay closely examines Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama's use of apologia in his campaign. The collection considers both the primary and general election campaigns. An essay reviews Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democratic nomination. The Evangelical voter is the focus of another essay. Most of the essays use fairly simple quantitative analyses. Denton (Virginia Tech) provides a summary essay that critiques the importance of identity politics in contemporary political campaigns. The collection closes with a short epilogue that considers the role of liberals in the US academy. While the essays come from communication scholars, they include political science research in their framework that answers the research question at hand. Students of presidential campaigns as well as those readers interested in understanding the contours of the 2008 election will find this collection useful.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- J. D. Rausch, West Texas A&M University