Scan the faces in the Xcel Energy Center, and you’ll see a sea of white. This year’s Republican National Convention is the whitest on record, the Washington Post reports, with just 36 black delegates —out of 2,380. “It’s hard to look around and not get frustrated,” says Michael Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and the convention's only black primetime speaker.
Republicans started concerted minority outreach efforts in 2000, but for the past 6 years they’ve had not one black governor or congressman. With Barack Obama leading the Democrats, John McCain has conceded the black vote this year, while Hispanics have been driven away by the GOP’s tough immigration talk. McCain thinks he can win without them, but the minority population is growing. “If we don’t get better,” said a black delegate, “we’re in big trouble.”