Obama's Victory Ushers in a New America

The Democrat's big win heralds a new generation of leadership — and an America that is still taking shape

Oli Scarff / Getty

A vendor sells a copy of the Times featuring Barack Obama on the cover outside the U.S. embassy in London

Eleven months ago, I attended a John Edwards speech in the little town of Algona, Iowa. It was a Sunday afternoon, and Edwards had drawn a large crowd of mostly uncommitted voters to a local factory that made wind-turbine components. Two things soon became apparent as I interviewed a dozen or so Algonans before the speech. The first was that there were a fair number of Republicans present, a phenomenon I was beginning to notice all over Iowa. They were not yet committed to voting Democratic, but they mentioned their disappointment in George W. Bush, their frustration with the...

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