The Paradox of Representation: Racial Gerrymandering and Minority Interests in Congress

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Princeton University Press, 1999 - Political Science - 159 pages

In The Paradox of Representation David Lublin offers an unprecedented analysis of a vast range of rigorous, empirical evidence that exposes the central paradox of racial representation: Racial redistricting remains vital to the election of African Americans and Latinos but makes Congress less likely to adopt policies favored by blacks. Lublin's evidence, together with policy recommendations for improving minority representation, will make observers of the political scene reconsider the avenues to fair representation.


Using data on all representatives elected to Congress between 1972 and 1994, Lublin examines the link between the racial composition of a congressional district and its representative's race as well as ideology. The author confirms the view that specially drawn districts must exist to ensure the election of African Americans and Latinos. He also shows, however, that a relatively small number of minorities in a district can lead to the election of a representative attentive to their interests. When African Americans and Latinos make up 40 percent of a district, according to Lublin's findings, they have a strong liberalizing influence on representatives of both parties; when they make up 55 percent, the district is almost certain to elect a minority representative.


Lublin notes that particularly in the South, the practice of concentrating minority populations into a small number of districts decreases the liberal influence in the remaining areas. Thus, a handful of minority representatives, almost invariably Democrats, win elections, but so do a greater number of conservative Republicans. The author proposes that establishing a balance between majority-minority districts and districts where the minority population would be slightly more dispersed, making up 40 percent of a total district, would allow more African Americans to exercise more influence over their representatives.

 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Overview of the Voting Rights Act
4
Racial Redistricting and the Voting Rights Act
5
Reaction and Criticism of Racial Redistricting
8
The Efficacy of Racial Redistricting
10
The Morality of Racial Redistricting
11
Descriptive and Substantive Representation
12
Overview of the Book
13
Liberals but Not Always
66
The PooleRosenthal Scores
67
Partisan and Regional Differences
68
The Ideology of AfricanAmerican Representatives
69
The Ideology of Latino Representatives
70
Conclusion
71
Race and Representation
72
AfricanAmerican Public Opinion
73

BLACK AND LATINO DESCRIPTIVE REPRESENTATION
15
The History of Black and Latino Representation
17
Black and Latino Representation Prior to the Voting Rights Act
18
Latino Representation 18651964
21
The Second Reconstruction 19651994
22
The Link between Descriptive Representation and MajorityMinority Districts
23
Percentage of the House versus Percentage in the Population
25
Why Did Minority Descriptive Representation Take So Long to Achieve?
28
Whites Continue to Win Some MajorityMinority Districts
30
Potential Costs of Racial Redistricting
34
MajorityMinority Districts May Cost Blacks and Latinos Influence
36
Conclusion
37
The Election of Black and Latino Representatives
39
Past Studies
40
Black Representatives
41
The 65 Percent Rule Is Wrong
45
Latino Representatives
48
Threshold for Election Depends on the Proportion of Citizens in the Population
51
Pressure for Minority Representation Facilitates the Election of New Black and Latino Representatives from MajorityMinority Districts
52
Conclusion
54
BLACK AND LATINO SUBSTANTIVE REPRESENTATION
55
AfricanAmerican and Latino Representation
57
Latino Partisanship and Electoral Success
59
Seniority and Minority Influence
61
The PreVoting Rights Act Era
62
Black Seniority in the PostVoting Rights Act Era
63
Latino Seniority in the PostVoting Rights Act Era
65
Racial Issues
75
Political Impact of the Racial Gap
76
Modeling Responsiveness to African Americans
78
Results
82
Implications
84
Black Majority Districts Provide the Highest Level of Black Representation
87
Racial Redistricting Enhances Black Representation if the Democrats Lose No Seats
89
Social Redistricting Undermines Black Representation in the South but Not the North
91
Conclusion
96
Racial Redistricting and Public Policy
98
Maximizing Descriptive and Substantive Representation Conflict
99
Jointly Maximizing Descriptive and Substantive Representation
101
The Minimal Aggregate Effect of Racial Redistricting on Black Substantive Representation in the 1980s
103
The Negative Aggregate Effect of Racial Redistricting on Black Substantive Representation in the 1990s
104
Aggregate National Effect of Racial Redistricting
109
Racial Redistricting Caused the Democrats to Lose Seats
111
Racial Redistricting and Public Policy
114
Using the PooleRosenthal Scores to Predict RollCull Votes
115
Racial Redistricting Changes RollCall Vote Outcomes to the Detriment of Black Interests
117
Conclusion
119
The Outlook for the Future
120
Implications of Recent Court Cases
124
Notes
135
References
147
Index
155
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

David Lublin is Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and International Studies at the University of South Carolina.

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