As we all know, there have been repeated claims over the course of this election season that the Clinton campaign has 'injected' race into the campaign in order to build up their voting advantage among white voters.
Let's start by setting aside whether that's true or not and focus on what it means and whether it actually would matter. I frequently get emails from readers who say, in so many words, hey, what does it even mean to 'inject' the issue of race or Obama's race into the campaign. Everyone knows that Obama is black. It's not a secret, etc.
There's a superficial logic to this point. But for those who make this argument seriously (and I think many just use it as a cudgel) you can only do so if you are indifferent not only to common sense and a great deal of data in social psychology. Even if we're not steeped in the data, I think we've all seen discussions of psych experiments where respondents' answers and opinions can be changed if certain statements are told to them or pictures are shown to them before the experiment starts. Simple suggestion that keys into different thought patterns.
It's easy to make a straw man of it. No, people aren't controlled like robots if one candidate starts saying race, race, race. Black, black, black. But focusing a political contest on race can make a difference. At least there is a very, very long history of it.