As gaping as it was in 2008, the racial gap between the parties in presidential politics is likely to only widen in the coming years.
In a fresh and insightful new book, Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz points out that during the presidential elections of the 1950s, non-whites provided about 7 percent of all the votes won by Democrats and 3 percent of the votes collected by Republicans, according to the University of Michigan's National Election Studies data. But since then, he writes in The Polarized Public? Why American Government is So Dysfunctional, "the racial divide between supporters of the two parties has widened, from a very narrow gap...to a yawning chasm...." By 2008, according to the Edison Research exit polls, minorities provided about two-fifths of all the votes cast for Barack Obama and only about one in every ten votes won by John McCain. One party has become kaleidoscopic; the other has remained largely monochromatic.