Editor, The World Today
With campaigning for the 2016 US presidential election coming to close, here's a quick question to test your knowledge of a neglected issue that may affect the outcome.


The average household wealth for white Americans is $144,000. What is the figure for African-Americans?
 
a. $97,000
b. $63,000
c. $38,000
d. $11,000
 

 

Shockingly, the answer is d – less than 8 per cent of the household wealth of white Americans. You can read more about the wealth gap and the effects of the US criminal justice system here.
 
If after eight years of a black man in the White House the majority of African Americans still have such a small slice of the pie, why would they bother to vote for a Clinton restoration?
 
Black voters turned out in large numbers to elect Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, surpassing the participation rate of white voters. Polls suggest they are unlikely to do so for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic contender.  
 
Some may vote for Donald Trump, the Republican nominee, on the grounds that the system is so broken that any change would be an improvement. But the prospect of African-Americans abstaining is a more pressing concern for the Clinton camp, hence her deploying the star power of Beyonce and Jay Z and Barack and Michelle Obama in the closing days of the campaign.  
 
Finally, a reminder that US elections have not always been sedate affairs, as sepia-tinted memory has it. In this article, Charles Pierce – writing with his accustomed brio - uncovers a sordid tradition of mud-slinging going back to the days of the founding fathers.