Few politically aware Europeans understand the extent to which race remains a fissure in American society and politics. There are reasons why the USA has never previously elected a black president. Segregation ended barely fifty years ago. The obnoxious legacy of slavery still poisons relations between communities even in locations beyond the Confederate states. Now some Democrats fear that Barack Obama may be pipped at the post by phenomena known as the "Bradley Effect" and the Kohut Lacuna."  The Independent's US Correspondent, Rupert Cornwell, touched on the problem in his excellent piece from the crucial swing state of Ohio.  

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"If it wasn't for race, this would be a slam dunk."