The triumph of hope

On 4 November, Barack Obama won an emphatic mandate for change. Over the next ten pages we celebrate

A new world

CHICAGO, 4 November 2008
President-elect Obama arrives with his wife Michelle and their daughters Malia and Sasha at his election-night victory rally

SOUTH SIDE, CHICAGO, 4 November 2008
At the Hyde Park Hair Salon, where Barack Obama gets his hair cut, ecstatic supporters cheer the election news

The campaign

BOISE, IDAHO, 2 February 2008
Support for Obama scrawled in the snow at Boise University. Three days later, on Super Tuesday, 22 states voted. Obama won 13, but Hillary Clinton took California, a huge symbolic victory. Both claimed first place

Obama greets a supporter at a town hall meeting in the week that Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tried to impose a deadline on the nomination contest. He urged superdelegates: “It would be nice to have this all done by 1 July . . . we don’t want this to degenerate into a big fight”

the road to victory

27.07.04 Obama delivers a rousing keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

03.11.04 Wins 70% of the vote to become Senator for Illinois, the only African-American in the Senate.

10.02.07 Announces his intention to run for the US Presidency.

04.01.08 Wins Iowa Caucuses, seen as his breakthrough victory.

29.04.08 Denounces Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his pastor of 20 years, amid controversy over the clergyman's racially charged speeches

03.06.08 During his victory rally, he and his wife Michelle celebrate with the now famous "terrorist" fist bump.

24.07.08 Over 200,000 people attend a Democrat rally in Berlin.

23.08.08 Joe Biden becomes Obama's running mate.

25.08.08 At the Democrat convention, Michelle Obama gives a powerful speech focusing on family and national pride

29.08.08 Formally accepts the party's nomination at the national convention in Denver, 45 years to the day after Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech.

26.09.08 The first of the Presidential debates. The result is indecisive.

19.10.08 Amid a flurry of endorsements, a real surprise: Colin Powell

29.10.08 A record fundraising pot ($605m by late September) allows Obama to broadcast a half-hour, prime-time advert simultaneously on seven US TV channels.

02.11.08 One final controversy for the Obama campaign: his aunt is revealed to be an illegal immigrant.

04.11.08 Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States.

Obama waves to the 200,000 German supporters who assembled near the Brandenburg Gate to hear him speak. As Europe swooned over the Democrat nominee, the Republican campaign got increasingly nasty

NEW YORK, 11 July 2008
Hillary Clinton leads her former rival offstage at a “Women for Obama” event in New York. The race for the nomination had become increasingly bitter, but on 6 June she officially conceded and spoke warmly in support of Obama

Obama answers a question during the second presidential debate, the only one to be held in “town hall” style, taking questions from the audience. After an inconclusive first debate, Obama was declared the winner at this second round

NEW ORLEANS, 7 February 2008
Obama prepares himself for a bowl of gumbo at the Dooky Chase restaurant after a rally at Tulane University. That day his campaign declared funds of $7m raised in the 48 hours since Super Tuesday – a show of strength which shook the Clinton campaign. Five primaries were held the following weekend, all of which Obama won comfortably

“We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say – let us . . . work together.”

Obama on securing the Democratic nomination, June 2008

A few weeks after the Iowa victory that established him as a serious contender for the presidency, Obama
meets one of his youngest supporters at a rally in Columbia, South Carolina, a state which he went on to win by a landslide. Eight days later, Ted Kennedy gave Obama his endorsement, comparing him to “another young candidate” – JFK

The work begins

"It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, at this defining moment, change has come to America."

Barack Obama, 4 November 2008

GRANT PARK, CHICAGO 4 November 2008
Barack and Michelle Obama leave the stage after his victory

The count

Democrat presidents’ share of popular vote

Obama 2008 52.3%
Clinton 1996 49.24%
Clinton 1992 43.3%
Johnson 1964 61.0%
Kennedy 1960 49.7%

The Democrats now control Congress
US House of Representatives
Democrats 251
Republicans 172
US Senate
Democrats 54
Republicans 39
Independents 2

This article first appeared in the 10 November 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Change has come