The 2008 American presidential election brought into lucid focus longstanding discourses of racial belonging in the United States that have amplified Islamophobia and continue both subtly and explicitly nearly a year into Barack Obama's presidency. The Islamophobic discourses underlying the 2008 election weren't novel or newfangled, but they did reinvigorate dormant or tacit narratives of American nationhood as a domain of restricted access.
These narratives of nationhood are replete with nostalgia and the implicit belief that a true American is somebody who is white and Christian. Islamophobia has become an acute element of America's national identity.
The problem of whiteness and Christianity acting as a synecdoche for proper Americanness isn't new. Numerous scholars have analyzed it — Valerie Babb, for instance, in *Whiteness Visible*, and, more recently, Joel Olson in *The Abolition of White Democracy*. I don't want to recapitulate those analyses here. I instead want to focus on how this conflation became a central component of an American presidential election and how it continues today.
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