Let me add one additional thought about race and the relevance to this campaign.
I think race is important now as it is in every question in America, inescapably so. But there is much more at stake in this election than just "closing the racial divide," (or however it is Newsweek will choose to describe it in self-important terms).
One example--When we look at a major, historic clusterfuck like the Bush administration response to Hurricane Katrina, I do think it is likely that race was a major factor in the unconcern with the fate of black-dominant New Orleans. I think partisanship was a key factor in the unconcern with the fate of Democratic-dominant New Orleans. Sure the Republican party is the refuge of institutional racism in our society. But there is more going on that deserves our attention.
Most of all I think the lessons of Katrina are deeper and more structural and more important. They signal a total lack of responsibility and competence in our leadership, a bloated and incompetent government system that can only marshal competence when it is deploying the police power of the state.
We didn't utterly screw up Iraq because of racism, it was because of corrupt, immoral, and illegitmate leadership. We didn't screw up the response to our crippling dependence on foreign oil because of the race question, we did it because of corrupt, immoral, and illegitmate leadership. Black America is suffering economically not (exclusively) because of racism, but because of corporate greed that lead to U.S. jobs being shipped overseas. Pick your topic, the response seems pretty damn clear. It is a question of responsibility, leadership, and political acumen.
Let's not get bogged down by race, and let's not get too over-inspired by it either.