The Pursuit of Victory and Incorporation: Elite Strategy, Group Pressure, and Cross-Racial Mobilization
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Cross-racial mobilization (CRM) is conscious race-targeted mobilization of blocs of voters of one racial group by politicians and campaign operatives of another racial group. To date, no theoretical framework has articulated the processes and myriad components of CRM. This dissertation fills that void. The four research questions posed are: Does cross-racial mobilization happen on a measurable basis? Under what conditions is cross-racial mobilization most likely to happen? Does it tend to work? And does cross-racial mobilization produce a by-product of enhanced minority participation? As the U.S. diversifies, and as the ramifications of the 2012 presidential election materialize, the entry of new racial groups into the electorate brings new strategic considerations and constraints to bear on political elites -- in the process changing when and how campaigns mobilize minority voters. Using a series of historical and contemporary case studies and mixed-methods, I demonstrate that CRM has been a constant feature of some states' post-war politics, and that the key elements driving CRM outcomes are in-group characteristics such as the hostility of the white constituency (white backlash), and out-group characteristics such as the organizational capacity, size, and growth-rate of the minority constituency. In addition, institutional barriers -- such as the poll tax and restrictive immigration laws-- negatively affect CRM opportunities. Competitiveness of the election and whether an opposing candidate is engaged in CRM also influence whether a candidate mobilizes members of another racial group. With respect to the third question, I find that increases in CRM tend to associate with increases in vote share. Finally, I find that in their pursuit of votes, candidates often contribute to increases in voter registration and turnout among minority populations -- thereby forging a link between political elites and historically under-represented populations.
- Political science