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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Congressional Black Caucus and a Theory of Concordance

  • Author(s): Tate, Katherine
  • et al.

Minority incorporation or empowerment theories have not advanced much beyond the assertion that minority influence increases as their numbers in office increase. However, political incorporation is a two-sided process. Not only do minorities struggle for representation in the political system, fighting established groups in the system and racism, but there is a second struggle over how these newly-incorporated groups will lead. Incorporation favors political moderation even as newly-incorporated liberal members seek to liberalize their party. Over time, there is concordance. Data analyzed from Poole and Rosenthal (2007) show that African American House members have become less liberal over time as the Democratic Party has liberalized.  Furthermore, African American legislators are less likely to vote as a bloc (except on the CBC’s alternative budget), and have joined other caucus groups as they seek to expand their influence as both liberals and moderates.

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