The presidential election of 2008 is unique in a history of memorable campaigns for the highest office in the U.S. Never before has an African American captured the nomination of a major political party. Never before have the Republicans nominated a woman for vice president. Never before has a woman come so close to capturing the nomination of a major party. And with at once one of the oldest and youngest candidates contending for the office, never before has the campaign been stretched over such a range of voters and issues. Add to that the multiple threats to the U.S. economy and the longest war the country has ever waged and the electoral context is set. This book is the first to describe and assess these monumental developments with original analysis by an all-star cast of contributors. No other book captures both the range and depth of this one in its early look at the meaning of the most significant election in years-one with unprecedented institutional, constitutional, and policy consequences for all of us.