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Racial Winners and Losers in American Party Politics

  • Zoltan L. Hajnal and Jeremy D. Horowitz


The Democratic and Republican Parties both make strong claims that their policies benefit racial and ethnic minorities. These claims have, however, received little systematic empirical assessment. This is an important omission, because democracy rests on the ability of the electorate to evaluate the responsiveness of those who govern. We assess Democrats’ and Republicans’ claims by compiling census data on annual changes in income, poverty, and unemployment over the last half century for each of America’s racial and ethnic groups. Judged by the empirical record, it is clear which party truly benefits America’s communities of color. When the nation is governed by Democrats, racial and ethnic minority well-being improves dramatically. By contrast, under Republican administrations, blacks, Latinos, and Asian Americans generally suffer losses.



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