Why neither party can fully seize control?
The latest episode of political foot-in-mouth disease with Trent Lott explains part of why the GOP can't get over the hump. If the GOP is serious about becoming the "big tent" party, they MUST jettison the residual boarderline/outright racism that rears its head in things like the recent Trent Lott mouthing off. That is the GOP hurdle just as the democrats have to banish their looney lefties if they want any hope of recovering their standing with the majority of the public.
As an ethnic minority, I once was asked by a democrat why I wasn't a democrat which is the party that welcomes all the minority groups. Though it is true I'm likely to see more people who "look" like me at a democratic gathering, I couldn't support many parts of their party platform. At a republican gathering, I'd experience the opposite, I'd find more common ground in policy issues but I would stand out as an ethnic minority.
The GOP, if it is serious about winning over the ethnic vote should dump Lott as Majority Leader and roundly criticize his remarks.