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The Consequences of Multiracial Identification for Candidates and Elected Officials

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-ND' version 4.0 license

This multi-method dissertation is the first to investigate how race and identity operate for multiracial elites in the United States. Research on minority elites often makes assumptions that multiracial elites, who have become more visible in politics, may bring into question. Does multiracial identification matter for the politics of elites? I explore media coverage of multiracial elected officials, test whether multiracial candidates have an electoral advantage, and explore how once elected, multiracial legislators view their identities. I argue that the politics of multiracial officials depends on their specific racial backgrounds, not just their multiracial status. I find evidence that non-Black multiracial elites have freedom to assert their identities in ways not available to multiracial-Black elites, suggesting that the American historical context of anti-miscegenation and the one-drop rule still has ramifications for minority elites today. This research has implications for campaign and coalition strategies.

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