America's Uneven Democracy: Race, Turnout, and by Zoltan L. Hajnal

By Zoltan L. Hajnal

Even if there's a common trust that asymmetric voter turnout results in biased results in American democracy, present empirical exams have came across few results. by way of supplying a scientific account of ways and the place turnout issues in neighborhood politics, this publication demanding situations a lot of what we all know approximately turnout in the US at the present time. It demonstrates that low and asymmetric turnout, an element at play in so much American towns, results in sub-optimal results for racial and ethnic minorities. Low turnout leads to losses in mayoral elections, much less equitable racial and ethnic illustration on urban councils, and skewed spending guidelines. the significance of turnout confirms lengthy held suspicions concerning the under-representation of minorities and increases normative matters approximately neighborhood democracy. thankfully, this e-book bargains an answer. research of neighborhood participation exhibits small switch to neighborhood election timing - a reform that's inexpensive and comparatively effortless to enact- may dramatically extend neighborhood voter turnout.

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Example text

And there were certainly cases where the gap was much greater. The white-Latino divide grew as high as 68 percentage points in one case and the white-Asian American divide ranged up to a 48 point gap. Judged by these electoral contests – albeit a limited set of elections in a small number of cities – the local political arena generates considerable racial and ethnic division. Those who vote regularly often want different candidates to govern than those who vote less regularly.

We simply do not know whether turnout matters at this level. This is not to say that urban scholars have been mute on the question. There is a robust debate about how open the urban political arena is and how much different voices in the local community are heard. A long line of pluralists starting with Dahl (1961) have claimed that the mobilization of residents to vote can, potentially, shift local political outcomes. Since Dahl published his seminal work on New Haven, research by Browning, Marshall, and Tabb (1984), Erie (1988), and Bridges (1997) has, in different ways, also highlighted the potential of voter turnout.

As recent tests have shown, these irregular voters tend to jump on the bandwagon and “surge in the direction of the candidate that appears to be winning” (Texeira 1992:87; see also DeNardo 1980). The end result is that increased turnout serves merely to exaggerate existing electoral outcomes. Knowledgeable readers might also point to a number of more popular publications that do highlight the role of turnout in modern American politics. Scholars from Piven and Cloward (1988) to Wattenberg (2002) and Walters (1988) have made strong claims about the importance of turnout in American politics.

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