We make the case for why the racial threat hypothesis should characterize the relationship between states’ racial composition, whites’ racial attitudes, and black representation in the United States Senate. Consistent with this claim, we find that senators from states with larger percentages of African-Americans among the electorate and more racially conservative preferences among whites provide worse representation of black interests in the Senate than their counterparts. We also apply theories of congressional cross-pressures in considering how senator partisanship and region moderate the effect of white racial attitudes on black representation. Finally, consistent with the racial threat hypothesis, we show that the negative effect of white racial attitudes on the quality of black representation is stronger when state unemployment rates are higher.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 2, 2011
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