On election night, November 4, 2008, a quarter of a million Americans gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park under a crescent moon and a crystalclear sky to celebrate a turning point in history. For several hours that evening, expectations in the racially and ethnically diverse crowd had been rising as one state after another went for Barack Obama in the presidential race, including normally Republican strongholds such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Indiana. As the polls closed for each time zone and the vote count rolled from east to west, it became increasingly likely that the impossibly young-looking rookie senator from Illinois would be America’s next president.