This article by Bob Wing (found via zentronix) convincingly argues that race is the crucial (but totally ignored by the media) element in the 2004 US Presidential election (as it is in American politics and social life in general). Bush won, less because he mobilized the evangelicals (since black evangelicals, for instance, voted very strongly for Kerry despite the predictions that they would swing towards Bush for reasons of morality), then because he increased his share of the votes by white people — which effectively outbalanced the mobilization of people of color at the polls (which is the main reason why Kerry, despite losing, received far more raw votes than Gore did).
Wing writes: “The Republican victory turned almost exclusively on increasing its share of the white vote. In 2000 Bush won the white vote by 12 points, 54-42; in 2004 he increased this to a 17-point margin, 58-41. That increase translates into about a 4 million vote gain for Bush, the same number by which Bush turned his 500,000 vote loss in 2000 into a 3.5 million vote victory this time around.”
The very fact that there is such a division between how white people voted, and how people of color voted (in all groups, overwhelmingly for the Democrats, despite Bushite claims that Asian Americans and Latinos were swinging more Republican) shows how significant the color line is in this country, despite the efforts of the media, and of mainstream political commentators, to pretend that it does not exist. In particular, the fact that 62% of white males voted for Bush (and only 37% for Kerry), in itself shows why the United States today is a cesspool of bigotry, xenophobia, smug conformism, self-congratulatory ignorance, and violence directed against any sort of otherness and difference.