Explain the meaning and impact of Barack Obama's election as president.

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is not at all easy to know what the impact of President Obama’s election will be.  We are still early in his second term and that is too early to make conclusions about the overall impact of a president’s time in office.  That said, there are a few things we can say.

First, we can say that the main meaning of his election (and reelection) is that it shows that race relations in the United States have improved to a certain degree.   This is not to say that race relations are perfect in the US today.  However, a few decades ago, the idea of a black man becoming president would have been unthinkable.  We have clearly progress and Obama’s elections make this clear.

As to impact, I would argue that the main impact of his election has been to divide the nation more than it previously was.  Obama’s liberalism, combined with the fact that our debt had already been rising and, perhaps, lingering white worries about his race, has helped to give rise to the “Tea Party” movement.  This movement may end up being very important in US politics.  If it does, this will be a major impact of Obama’s election.