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Racial Coalition Building in Local Elections
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This book examines racial and ethnic coalition building in local elections and considers Black and Latino political incorporation more broadly. Although many argue that Black and Latino voters have much to gain from alliances that advance shared interests, coalitions between the two groups have not always formed easily or been stable over time. Recent mayoral elections across the country show different patterns of out-group candidate support. This book seeks to explain these variations and the specific conditions under which Blacks and Latinos vote for the same candidate. Drawing on large-n observational data, survey experiments, and qualitative case studies, Benjamin develops a theory of co-ethnic endorsements, which points to the significance of elite cues from Black and Latino leaders. The book demonstrates that voters use elite co-ethnic endorsements to help inform their votes, that they do so particularly when race is salient in an election, and that this has real implications for representation and access to political benefits.


'That race is a defining feature of twenty-first-century electoral politics in America surprises no one in the age of Obama. Yet much of the focus remains steadfastly on federal elections and on the identifiable motivations of white voters confronted with a non-white candidate on the ballot. Andrea Benjamin departs the beaten path and blazes a new trail by focusing on black and Latino voters facing mayoral ballots without a black or Latino candidate. Benjamin very perceptively and powerfully demonstrates that race still informs African American and Latino voters through co-ethnic cues, especially those that reveal the inner workings of cross-racial elite coalitions. A must-add to my basket of indispensables!'

Taeku Lee - University of California, Berkeley

'For decades, scholars have puzzled over the volatility of Black and Latino voting coalitions in local elections. Many different explanations have been offered, but until now, they’ve all neglected a key piece of the puzzle: endorsements. In this careful and convincing study, Benjamin argues that voters use co-ethnic endorsements to help inform their vote, particularly when race is salient in the election. Offering powerful evidence of the theory through a series of well-designed experiments, analysis of survey data, and newspaper coverage of elections, Benjamin’s book helps us make sense of twenty-first-century city politics.'

Jessica Trounstine - University of California, Merced and author of Political Monopolies in American Cities

'It is an engaging read, with chapters that work well in isolation …'

Melissa R. Michelson Source: Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

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  • 3 - The Co-ethnic Elite Cues Theory and Elite Black–Latino Coalitions
    pp 99-122
The American National Election Studies (ANES; The ANES 2008 Time Series Study [data set]. Stanford University and the University of Michigan [producers]. These materials are based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants SES-0535334, SES-0720428, SES-0840550, and SES-0651271, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding organizations.
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