Hope and change 
eight years later

And so it begins, ends and begins again. The pre-fight chatter is almost over. Iowans officially kick off the long struggle for party delegates with their convoluted caucuses on Feb. 1. On the Democratic side, self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is giving Hillary Clinton a run both in Iowa and New Hampshire. Though his candidacy seemed a long shot in the beginning, some are now asking if he can pull off an Obama-level surprise.

The Republican camp is a veritable circus marked by comedic personalities with polarizing ideas and sharp axes to grind. Party traditionalists don’t like the front-running Donald Trump. Other insiders hate Ted Cruz so much that they see Trump as the nuclear option to keep Cruz out. Everyone is still trying to figure out what the hell happened to Jeb Bush. Trump’s candidacy also seemed far-fetched at its inception. To the GOP’s chagrin, he has morphed into the unwanted houseguest who ultimately took over their house. Intriguing.

No matter who ultimately prevails, he or she will follow Barack Obama. When Obama is escorted to Marine One after the inauguration, it will mark the end of one of our country’s most historic and controversial presidencies. There was no way it could not have been both given that we’re still wrestling with the consequences of America’s original sins of slavery and racism. Candidate Obama made bold offers of “hope” and “change you can believe in.” The summer before his initial election, I wrote the following in my book “What’s wrong with Obamamania?”:

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