This race is Obama's to lose. It would have been any democrat's race to lose IMO.
Reading this thread from '08 I find the discussion very interesting. Too bad I wasn't around at the time.
One of the reasons Obama won so easily, imo, is because of the Republican George W Bush's miserable two term administration which got us into two wars, one of which was totally unnecessary (Iraq) and Afghanistan, neither war paid for. We were losing jobs by the miles and entering the worse recession in a very long time. Bush II made us think outside the box, and Obama seemed like such a fresh new beginning that he won handsomely. College age students voted for him, Latinos voted for him, Asians, Gays, moderates, Independents, Liberals, and African Americans, the latter overwhelmingly, even those black Americans who seldom vote. The only factions voting against him were older whites, conservative whites, those whites who felt the mantle of the presidency of the US belonged exclusively to the white man. Fundamentalists religious folk voted against Obama as did white people in West Virginia.
It is fair to say though, that ANYONE NOT A REPUBLICAN WOULD HAVE WON!
Obama's race made quite a heart-moving difference in the African American community, a group that has historically been made to feel second class citizenship, because of pride in one of their own, similar to John F. Kennedy when the Catholics got one of their own in power, like the Irish who celebrated. There is nothing wrong with each ethnic group displaying pride that one of their own have achieved so much.
Since Obama has been in office, race has often reared its ugly head, especially among the teaparty, southern whites, although in the north racism is more subtle with emphasis more on money than social class. The extreme opposition to Obama at this time is due to opposition to an African American holding this high-ranking seat of authority and obstructionism is in plain sight; Obama might have had a far better economy if the Republicans would pass a jobs bill instead of trying daily to make this man look impotent.
PS In the finality, McCain's pick for vice prez was a monumental mistake because in the end Sarah Palin ended up hurting his campaign and he lost with an even larger margin because of her.