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Uneasy Alliances : Race and Party Competition in America - Paul Frymer

Uneasy Alliances

Race and Party Competition in America

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Published: 5th September 2010
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"Uneasy Alliances" is a powerful challenge to how we think about the relationship between race, political parties, and American democracy. While scholars frequently claim that the need to win elections makes government officials responsive to any and all voters, Paul Frymer shows that not all groups are treated equally; politicians spend most of their time and resources on white swing voters--to the detriment of the African American community. As both parties try to attract white swing voters by distancing themselves from blacks, black voters are often ignored and left with unappealing alternatives. African Americans are thus the leading example of a "captured minority."

Frymer argues that our two-party system bears much of the blame for this state of affairs. Often overlooked in current discussions of racial politics, the party system represents a genuine form of institutional racism. Frymer shows that this is no accident, for the party system was set up in part to keep African American concerns off the political agenda. Today, the party system continues to restrict the political opportunities of African American voters, as was shown most recently when Bill Clinton took pains to distance himself from African Americans in order to capture conservative votes and win the presidency. Frymer compares the position of black voters with other social groups--gays and lesbians and the Christian right, for example--who have recently found themselves similarly "captured." Rigorously argued and researched, Uneasy Alliances is a powerful challenge to how we think about the relationship between black voters, political parties, and American democracy.

In a new afterword, Frymer examines the impact of Barack Obama's election on the delicate relationship between race and party politics in America.

"The vast literature on American political parties has been immensely enriched and enhanced by this pioneering work on race and parties...This is a highly recommended work."--Hanes Walton, Jr., Political Science Quarterly "In a work that effectively challenges cherished notions of how the political system functions, Paul Frymer ... shows the centrality of race in the American political process. In addition, he makes a strong theoretical contribution to our analysis of the functioning of political parties in democratic regimes. Uneasy Alliances will be a valuable resource for scholars and students alike, for both its substantive arguments and its theoretical achievements."--Howard L. Reiter, American Political Science Review "Frymer makes a strong case that Democratic presidential candidates have distanced themselves from black voters and issues... The villain in the tale is the United States electoral structure, the two-party, winner-take-all system."--Sandra Featherman, Journal of Politics "Frymer argues that the failure to seriously address white racism's impact on the party system causes us to misunderstand how and why African Americans are and remain at the margins for reasons not related to their abilities and potential impact on the American political system."--Choice

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentp. xi
Introdutionp. 3
Competitive Parties and the ├┤Invisibility├ of Captured Groupsp. 27
National Party Competition and the Disenfranchisement of black Voters in the South, 1866-1932p. 49
Capture Inside the Democratic Party, 1965-1996p. 87
Party education and Mobilization and Captured Groupp. 120
Black Representation in Congressp. 140
Is the Concept of Electoral Capture Applicable to Other Groups? The Cash of Gay and Lesbian Voters in the Democratic Party and the Christian Right in the Republican Partyp. 179
Afterword to the 2010 Edition. Obama and the Representation of Captured Groupsp. 207
Indexp. 237
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691148014
ISBN-10: 0691148015
Series: Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 5th September 2010
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.39
Edition Type: Revised