Journalist and author Joy Ann Reid recently spoke with NewsOne Now host Roland Martin about her new book, Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide.
The book explores a possible rift between the political families that may be affecting the Democratic party as a whole.
“There was a real break between the Clintons and the Obama campaign, because I think on the Clinton side, they felt that they were unfairly maligned and mischaracterized in the things that they were saying about the ’60s — about 1964, about Lyndon Johnson, about MLK,” Reid said.
“In 2008, for the very first time, they [the Clintons] confronted what it was like to be opposed to the main body of Black folk. They were just not used to being in that situation, especially Bill Clinton.”
Reid expounded on how former President Bill Clinton was in uncharted territory.
“You have to remember this was a Southern governor who was used to balancing the interests of rural White voters and African-American voters and being able to do both pretty seamlessly,” she continued.
Clinton was called the “first Black president” by Toni Morrison because “he had this effect and comfort level with African-Americans,” Reid added.
“All of a sudden in 2008, particularly after then-Senator Barack Obama won Iowa, African-Americans said, ‘Wait a second, we don’t owe the Clintons our loyalty, we don’t owe the establishment of the Democratic party our support. We can have a real first Black president and that’s what we’re going to do.’”
Reid believes that startled the Clintons, “just as Barack Obama running for president startled the Clintons.”
Barack Obama’s speech on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches should have represented the culmination of Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of racial unity. Yet, in Fracture, MSNBC national correspondent Joy-Ann Reid shows that, despite the progress we have made, we are still a nation divided—as seen recently in headline-making tragedies such as the killing of Trayvon Martin and the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore.
With President Obama’s election, Americans expected an open dialogue about race but instead discovered the irony of an African American president who seemed hamstrung when addressing racial matters, leaving many of his supporters disillusioned and his political enemies sharpening their knives. To understand why that is so, Reid examines the complicated relationship between Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, and how their varied approaches to the race issue parallel the challenges facing the Democratic party itself: the disparate parts of its base and the whirl of shifting allegiances among its power players—and how this shapes the party and its hopes of retaining the White House.
Watch Roland Martin and journalist Joy Ann Reid discuss her new book, Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide, in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.