This chapter discusses the concept of accuracy and how to measure it. It presents a chronology of the accuracy of the presidential pre-election polls during the 2008 election, and then studies the various ways to estimate election outcomes that do not include polls conducted by the analyst. The chapter also examines the impact of new technologies and evolving voting procedures on the accuracy of polls.
Walter J. Stone
This article describes the place of party activists in the electoral process, with attention to questions about whether and how they distort processes of electoral representation in the United States. In general elections, activists' strong partisanship is usually seen as pushing them inexorably to support their party's candidate. Furthermore a study of the 2006 midterm elections in the House of Representatives is elaborated. The effect of activist opinion in districts on incumbent position-taking and the influence of activist mobilization on incumbent vote share are reviewed. There is an increasing realization among scholars of the electoral process that activists are essential to understanding the connections between the public and candidates, party images, and processes of change. It is possible that the participation of activists contributes essentially to the health and functioning of the electoral system.
As Emancipation and Reconstruction eliminated much of the legal foundation of slavery, states and individuals became increasingly concerned about preserving the racial integrity of whiteness. The Reconstruction Amendments were intended to change not only the scope of matters over which states retained control but also the balance of power between the federal and state governments. Their ability to achieve these objectives, however, was limited by both the Tenth Amendment and principles of state sovereignty. Consequently, the Tenth Amendment became an increasingly important source of state power to make the privileges, immunities, and rights of state citizenship racially contingent. To the extent that the Fourteenth Amendment's federal citizenship had any effect, it required states to treat similarly situated individuals and situations equally. Moreover, sovereignty meant states continued to have the ability not only to define the particulars of race but also to determine when and how race would matter. Federal citizenship, however, did not make race constitutionally irrelevant.
At the end of World War I, whites tried to put blacks back in their place. They found, however, that the place of African Americans had changed. The Harlem Renaissance represented the soaring aspirations—including in the area of constitutional rights—in the African American community. As the country faced the economic exigencies of the Depression, the federal government took a more active role in protecting individuals' economic rights. Minimum wage and maximum hours laws, as well as legislation establishing federal social welfare benefits, marked a shift in the balance of power between the federal government, the states, and their citizens. Soon thereafter, the Court concluded that the line it had drawn between intra- and interstate commerce could not be maintained. The Court demonstrated its willingness to consider the substantial effect of individual activity on interstate commerce in the aggregate should every individual be allowed to do what the actor in question did. This change would signal a more expansive view of interstate commerce that allowed Congress to regulate matters formerly committed to the control of the states by way of the Tenth Amendment.
Michael C. Dawson
Black politics in the United States since the end of the Civil War has been centered on the quest for inclusion that King, Douglass, and Shklar describe and has at its goal not only the full political inclusion of African Americans but also full economic and social inclusion. As Shklar states, citizenship is not a static concept and “has changed over the years” on the ground. Consequently, black political struggle for citizenship has evolved as well both in content and specific goals. This article considers a wide range of African American political activity in the period between the end of the Civil War and the advent of the new millennium. The range of political activity that are discussed includes black ideologies and public opinion and how they have changed, the massive social movements that shaped a nation and slowly won blacks greater standing within the nation, as well as black efforts to utilize electoral politics both to become represented in the nation's political institutions at all levels and to make those institutions more accountable to African American interests.
Claude Steele and Jennifer Richeson
There are multiple possible views of the Black American psyche. But in the science that focuses on the psyche, the science of psychology, there has really been only variants of one view: the Black psyche is “damaged” to use Daryl Scott's term, in deficit, dominated by self-hatred, infected with self-destructive values and habits of mind, a double consciousness divided against itself, replete with cognitive, linguistic, and emotional deficiencies, and so on. This narrowness of perspective, as reflected in this article, is not restricted to psychology. It is a long evolved cultural framework. Much of the research that has focused squarely on blacks' experiences has examined the potential psychological toll that membership in a socially devalued group may take on black Americans. Although this research is undoubtedly important and informative, it is a perspective that is overrepresented compared with work examining the resilience and strength of blacks and members of other socially devalued groups in the face of group-level devaluation.
Jamila Celestine Michener, Andrew Dilts, and Cathy J. Cohen
Political participation has been a fundamental constant in the lives of African American people. Whether it is voting, membership in social/political community organizations, or participation in social movements for causes ranging from abolition to civil rights, black Americans have consistently leveraged politics and civic engagement as vehicles for freedom and justice. This article focuses on the history of political activism among African American women, reviewing the manifold ways they have participated while traversing the often perilous American political landscape. It highlights significant trends and provides a broader context for understanding those trends. To that end, the article begins with a broad discussion of the intersectional positioning of African American women. Subsequently, it discusses the patterns of black women's participation between Reconstruction and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Finally, it rounds out the historical account by addressing black women's traditional forms of participation since the Voting Rights Act.
Tasha S. Philpot and Hanes Walton Jr.
This chapter describes the evolution of African-American political participation. Beginning with early findings in Black political participation, it discusses the major paradigm shifts in this research and their catalysts. The chapter concludes by providing a roadmap for future research in the field.
Indigenous rights are arguably the most successfully institutionalized form of minority rights in international law today. Currently, Indigenous rights provide greater protections (particularly where the control of territory and self-government are concerned) than more general minority rights. This creates clear incentives for historically subordinated minority groups to assert Indigenous status. The proliferation of claims to indigeneity has led to debates about whether the category should be expanded to include some minority groups who now fall outside it or whether a more restricted conception of indigeneity should continue to prevail. Yet what makes Indigenous rights distinct from other kinds of minority rights, from a moral and philosophical perspective? In other words, if Indigenous peoples are entitled to certain protections to which other minority groups are not entitled, how is this disparity justified? The successful institutionalization of Indigenous rights in recent years raises important questions about what constitutes fair treatment for similarly situated minority groups, especially in countries and regions where there have been close historical connections between Indigenous peoples and other historically subordinated groups, as is the case in Latin America. Indigenous rights regimes have been quite successful in the Americas, where the proper way to define indigeneity has generally been viewed as fairly self-evident. Yet the experiences of Afro-descendants in Latin America raise important questions about whether they should be included in conceptions of indigeneity that illustrate the important public policy effects of legal and philosophical definitions of Indigenous rights. For instance, if some Afro-descendants occupy a position similar to the descendants of the region’s original inhabitants (i.e. Amerindians), should they also be included in Latin American conceptions of indigeneity? Is the best solution to devise broad legal categories that encompass both Indigenous people and Afro-descendants with similar characteristics? Or, instead, should narrower conceptions of indigeneity be preserved, while simultaneously finding ways to recognize that some Afro-descendants share similar characteristics with Amerindians and are thus entitled to similar rights? This essay analyzes the vexed relationship between Indigenous rights regimes and other minority rights frameworks through the prism of Latin American state responses to the issue of whether and how to include Afro-descendants in conceptions of indigeneity.
Amy B. Zegart
This article describes the insights and limitations of rational choice institutionalism in political science. It then shows that organization theory offers insights into agency evolution but has limited explanatory power for public sector agencies. Moreover, a general model of agency adaptation failure that combines elements of the two theoretical perspectives is provided. The literatures in organization theory, political science, public administration, and public management that appear most relevant for studying agency adaptation failure do not offer any off-the-shelf approaches. The article looks at adaptation from the perspective of agency leaders, and then represents the substance and logic of the model of adaptation failure. It finally presents some thoughts about promising avenues of future research on agency design and evolution.