When President Obama became the first black president in 2008, it seemed to mark a tremendous historical turning point for black representation in American political life. But four years later there has been no great renaissance in black electoral representation. If the number of office-holders was demographically proportionate, there would be at least 12 African American senators and six governors. In reality, there are currently no African-American senators and only one African-American governor in office.
Bruce Oppenheimer is a political scientist at Vanderbilt University. Genia Philip is president of Black Americans Lobbying for Leadership of Tomorrow.