Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Role of Race in State Politics and Elections


"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

"If race was truly no longer a problem in American politics, as the White Anglo Saxon Protestant power structure would have us believe, then police beatings of African Americans would be non-existent, the South Carolina church shooter would already be dead, and President Barack Obama would already be a shoe-in candidate for the fifth face on Mount Rushmore." - Kent Allen Halliburton


        The role that race has played in state level politics in the United States from the Civil War to the present is an important thing to know. Even more importantly, it is crucial to understand how much race in state politics has affected outcomes in state elections. It is understood that for most of US history, the definition of who is allowed to vote has been left to the states. However, the federal government has made certain adjustments to that policy over time. So, another good thing to understand is how the Federal Government has affected the states’ ability to determine who is eligible to vote in their state. The US Constitution, legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, and rulings made by the Supreme Court have all altered the way states can choose who votes. Exactly how these institutions have done so is another important thing to understand. To gain these understandings, it would be prudent to examine the pertinent information directly. Thus, in this piece, the sections of the Constitution that affect the voter franchise will be looked at. Next, a number of the laws that Congress has passed that affect the voter franchise will be reviewed. Further, several specific Supreme Court cases will be examined.This, however, is only the beginning. The central questions cannot be answered by just looking at constitutional statutes, repetitive legislation, and federal court cases. To truly understand the role of race in state politics and elections, one needs to dive into the scholarship on the issue. The scholarship review will be done in two stages. First, there will be a review of the early scholarship on race and state elections. Scholarly work from the early 1940s to the middle of the 1960s will be examined. This will be followed by a review of the more modern scholarship on race and state elections. This will include scholarship from 1990 to 2016, to include mention of some of the scholar's references to earlier works that also contributed to the scholarship on this issue. This section will be heavy with data, but rest assured, the data will be explained. 
        From this series of exercises, one should expect to draw an interesting series of conclusions. First, the United States government has increasingly restricted the states' rights to determine who is eligible to vote within their jurisdictions. Second, the various states have actually played a direct role in the removal of these rights. Third, despite this unique reality, the US states have regularly fought back against federal attempts to define the franchise within their jurisdictions. Fourth, there is absolutely no way to that anyone can deny that race has played a massive role in state politics and elections in the United States, since its very foundation. Fifth, despite the countless number of restrictive elements used by US states to keep people, especially minorities, from voting, scholars say that race has not had any significant effect on the outcome of states elections in the United States. The final conclusion that one will come to is that despite the many statistical analyses that have been done to show that race has not had a significant effect on the outcome of state elections in the United States, the scholars, on this issue at least, need to go back to the drawing board. After this, a mind boggling question will enter one's mind. How could race have an effect on the outcome of state elections in the United States when all of the states have been consistently attempting to keep racial minorities from voting in this country? If no minorities are voting because of restrictive laws, of course the statistics will show that race is not effecting the outcomes of state elections. This is being done intentionally. One will then wonder how it is that such fine and educated people have managed to drop the ball on this issue. It does not seem possible that such a glaring contradiction has gone unnoticed through over half a century of scholarship. The simplest answer that one can provide to this conundrum is that race is the key to the denial. Confronting the contradiction would challenge the white myth that pervades the entire history of this country, from the story of its supposed ancient roots, to the present day, where an ignorant, racist, and corrupt corporate lackey is the presumptive nominee of both major US political parties. It is time that someone confronted the contradiction head on.

The US Constitution on the Voting Franchise


        When one considers the role that race has played in American politics, there is a great deal of information already available for anyone to see without having to do extensive or strenuous research. There are several visible events where one could imagine that race has played a role in the dynamic arena that is state elections. This role has not always been an active one, but it has always been there. The original text of Article One, Section Two of the United States Constitution limited African Americans to being counted as three-fifths of a person. This was done to allow the southern slave states to have more representation in Congress, thus, relegating African Americans to property status, and ensuring that the slaves states would hard to keep them that way. Slaves, and any freemen, African Americans born free or legally manumitted, were less likely to vote at this time because of another important section of the Constitution. This section is the Tenth Amendment, which designates all powers not formerly mentioned prior to that point in the Constitution to the various states. This covers voter qualifications. Since the Constitution does not make any direct mention of voter qualifications that power has been formerly delegated to the states. This gives the states the power to enfranchise whomever they choose, however they choose, for as long as they choose. Needless to say, in 1789, the amount of people allowed to vote was kept to a minimum. Native Americans, another victim of Article One, Section Two, were also barred from voting at this time. What this basically says is that the only race that was allowed to vote were Whites, and at first, even that was limited to land owners, by the states. This particular restriction to the franchise did not fade into nothingness until 1856, when North Carolina was the last state to eliminate property ownership as a requirement for white men to vote in their state.
        Not long after North Carolina finally removed their property qualification for voter enfranchisement in their state, the Constitution was amended in such a way that states were forced to give up certain powers. On February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. This amendment made it illegal for any of the states in the Union to bar people from voting on account of their race, color, or previous condition of servitude. The amendment was passed by the early Reconstruction Congress and was subsequently undermined by many of the states. Most of the culprits were located in the post Reconstruction South. Interestingly enough, though race had now been technically removed as a restriction on the voter franchise, gender had not yet been given the same attention. This milestone would require women to wait another fifty years. In the mean time, they fought four the right to vote with a noble fury. On August 18, 1920, more power was taken from the states. The Nineteenth Amendment removed the state’s right to deny a citizen the right to vote on the basis of gender. The trip was not over for states. On March 29, 1961, things started to look as though they would begin leaning more in the states' favor again. The Twenty-Third Amendment was ratified and extended the right to determine voter qualifications within their jurisdiction to the District of Columbia, which they had previously been denied. For a brief moment, the states thought that they too might have some rights returned to them. This turn, however, was short lived. On January 23, 1964, the Twenty-Fourth Amendment was ratified. This amendment removed the states' rights to use Poll Taxes, religious tests, or any other such mechanisms, which they had been using to discourage people of certain races or economic means, or both, to keep any citizen from voting within their jurisdictions. Further, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment, ratified on July 1, 1971, gave all citizens eighteen years, and older, the right to vote in all local, state, and federal elections in the United States, thus removing even more power over enfranchisement from the states. The thing that makes this even more interesting is the fact that any proposed amendment must be ratified by the states to become law.

The US Congress on the Voting Franchise


        The first thing that is important to understand in this context is that the Amendments from the previous section began as congressional actions. However, it was important that they be reviewed separately because of one key factor. In order to become law, as is stated in Article Five of the Constitution, a proposed amendment must ratified by at least two-thirds of the legislatures in the various states. If it fails to get that number, it does not become law. Thus, it can be said that the various states have had a direct hand in the removal of their rights to determine voter qualifications. The same can be said, albeit to a lesser degree, about federal legislation that has been passed to restrict the states' rights to determine voter qualifications. This so because each of the of the representatives in Congress represent a unique constituency in one of the various states. The difference, however, lies in the fact that these representatives are not bound to vote the way their state wants them to. Article One of the Constitution gives them the right to vote how they choose. When this happens, the states' complicity is somewhat reduced. Here are some of the many actions, outside the Amendments, which the US Congress has taken on the voter franchise. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (14 Stat. 27-30), was passed to protect the rights of former slaves and Africans brought to the United States. Its goal was to offer these citizens equality before the law, in all regards. The legislation was hotly debated and even had to survive a presidential veto. The principal point of the bill in the original text read, “There shall be no discrimination in civil rights or immunities among the inhabitants of any State or Territory of the United States on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” This line was deleted; however, and it would not reappear until the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment a few years later. Such language was removed at the time because some congressmen felt that it would be interpreted too broadly, in that African Americans may have begun to sue for even more rights. For the authors of the bill that may have been the point to begin with; unfortunately, at that point, they still had some work to do.
        The Civil Rights Act of 1871 (17 Stat. 13), or the Enforcement Act, was passed to give the President the power to fight the Ku Klux Klan, who were harassing and murdering African Americans as they sought to exercise the new rights granted to them by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, as well as, previous federal legislation. This order was requested by President Ulysses S. Grant, directly, who felt that the KKK was nothing more than an attempt by certain southerners to continue the Civil War and rekindle the Confederate cause. It passed within a month of his request. It also gave him the legal right to suspend habeas corpus for individuals that he found to be guilty of being part of the KKK and the atrocities that were being committed against former slaves freemen. Defeating the KKK, it was hoped, would encourage more African Americans to take advantage of their new rights. After President Grant left office, however, Reconstruction was brought to an abrupt halt, and Congress sat back and watched while one state after another passed laws establishing segregation, limiting African Americans job options, and barring them from the polls. This was a period when states retook their right to define voter qualifications, and unfortunately, as has been mentioned, it would be a long time before Congress got back into the fight. This was the case because Congress was again dominated by the South. After the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, Congress did not act again on the issue for almost another thirty years. Thus, in nearly eighty years, Congress acted on the the voter franchise one time, and that was only to give white women the vote. Contrary to popular the belief because of restrictive race based voting laws, this amendment was not effective in granting the vote to all women. African American women were still barred from the polls.
        The Civil Rights Act of 1957 (71 Stat. 634), the first non amendment congressional legislation on voting rights since 1870, was yet another law that was supposed to secure the right to vote for African Americans. The law also established the President's Commission on Civil Rights, whose responsibility it was to advise President Dwight D. Eisenhower on what measures should be taken by the executive branch in their ongoing effort to settle the unrest building up in the South over Segregation. The unrest was being cause by African Americans who were no longer willing to accept the South's anti-voting laws, and other forms of discrimination, lying down. At the time that the bill was passed, only about twenty percent of African Americans actually voted, and this number can be scrutinized. Most others were prevented from voting by the same means used by original KKK begun by Nathan Bedford Forrest, terrorism and fear. Most others were denied the right to vote by a series of unclever legal mechanisms. If a person could not read, they could not vote. If a person could not interpret the Constitution to the satisfaction of a racist county clerk, they could not vote. If a person was not of the proper religious sentiment, namely, they were not White Angle Saxon Protestants, they could not vote. Finally, if they were too poor to pay county poll taxes, among many other means, they could not vote. The law was resisted across the South, and was very difficult to enforce effectively. It did, however, provide another milestone for Civil Rights activists, who sought to maintain the momentum that they had picked up after the desegregation ruling delivered by Supreme Court in the case of Brown v. The Board of Education. At this point, however, Congress made little effort to properly enforce the legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1960 (74 Stat. 89), was a little different however. This bill extended the life of the President's Commission on Civil Rights, but it also established federal inspections of local voting places and provided for the procurement of criminal misdemeanor penalties against anyone convicted of obstructing any person’s ability to vote in a given election cycle. Admittedly, however, convictions were difficult to obtain, especially in cases where a white public official was being tried by a white jury. African Americans were banned from serving on a jury against a white person in the South, so many attempts to bring people up on charges under this law were thwarted by racial bigotry.
        The legislation passed in 1960, thankfully was not the end of the end of the rail. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat. 241), yet again, outlawed discrimination of any kind on the basis of race, color, gender, or national origin. It also outlawed desegregation and ended the practice of uneven voter registration requirements. Additionally, this bill gave the executive branch the legal power to enforce the law and set harsh penalties on the states for any failures to comply with the law. The National Guard, the FBI, and the Department of Justice, among others, were very busy after this bill was passed. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (89 Stat. 110), was passed at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. It outlawed, in any way that could be conceived to do so, including racial gerrymandering, the use of race as a means by which to limit any person’s ability to vote, even though past legislation, technically still on the books, had already done this. However, like the bill passed the year before, this legislation had teeth, and violations of the law were investigated heavily and punished with various forms of federal charges and sanctions. The law also, very importantly, required those states with the worst records on voter restrictions to report any change to their voting laws, no matter how minor they may have been considered. Since the passage of the original bill, five expansions have been instituted. The first was by the Supreme Court in 1966 in South Carolina V. Katzenbach, which will be discussed shortly, and the other four more times, it was expanded by Congress. Expansion bills were passed in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006. There is then, also, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (114 Stat. 38), signed into law by Bill Clinton. The law expanded voting rights by requiring state governments to offer voter registration opportunities to any eligible person who applies for or renews a driver's license or applies for any form of public assistance. This law also required states to recognize the registered status of citizens in their states who used a federal voter registration form to apply to vote. Additionally, it prohibited states from removing registered voters from the voter rolls unless certain specific criteria, like moving away, being convicted of voter fraud, or the commission of certain felonies, were met. It, too,was backed up by severe charges and sanctions for violations. This all shows clearly that the federal government has fully reasserted its supremacy in the fight to determine the qualifications for the voter franchise.

The US Supreme Court on the Voting Franchise


         Now, let it not be forgotten that the United States Supreme Court has made a multitude of rulings regarding the voter franchise in the United States. Most of the cases have favored the federal government, as regards the power to determine voter qualifications. However, there are some recent cases that have conceded more power to the states on this issue. Prior to 1966, there were countless cases regarding voting rights heard by the Supreme Court involving women, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and even Asians, each with varied results. There were cases like Chandler v. Neff 298 Fed. 515 (1924), an early white primary case, Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (1927), a similar case, United States v. Classic 313 U.S. 299 (1941), which ruled the white primary unconstitutional, and Smith v. Allwright 321 U.S. 649 (1943), another case which eliminated the poll tax at the federal level. However, the cases from the late 1960s onward are the most significant. This is so, mainly because they were actually actively enforced, where prior to this period, many Supreme Court rulings were not. Just four months after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the state of South Carolina brought an Original Jurisdiction case directly to the Supreme Court challenging the new law. After only six months, the Court had made its decision. The case was South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301 (1966). The state Attorney General, Daniel R. McLeod, filed a complaint with the Supreme Court attacking the constitutionality of the act. He also asked for an injunction against enforcement by the Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas Katzenbach. McLeod challenged the Voting Rights Act as an unconstitutional encroachment on states’ rights, as a violation of equality between the states, and as an illegal bill of attainder, or legislative punishment enforced without due process of law. Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the opinion of the court. He wrote that the Voting Rights Act was a valid exercise of Congress' power under the enforcement clause of the 15th Amendment and that South Carolina's case had no standing. Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections, 383 U. S. 663 (1966), was a Supreme Court ruling that said that states could not restrict a person's right to vote because of a minor typographical error on their identification papers. Thornburg v. Gingles, 478 U.S. 30 (1986), was another Supreme Court case that held up and defended the voters protections provided to minorities by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, its predecessors and its amendments. Associate Justice William J. Brennan delivered the unanimous opinion that ruled against the Attorney General of North Carolina, Lacy Thornburg. The ruling stated that the legacy of official discrimination, when acted in concert with a multimember districting scheme intentionally designed to impair the ability of cohesive groups of African American voters to participate equally in the political process and to elect candidates of their own choosing, even if those choices may in be conflict with who the ruling coalition of that state wants in office, was in direct violation of the legislation on multiple counts.
        In Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995), Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered an opinion against Gerrymandering. The state of Georgia was in court this time. They picked up an additional congressional district after the 1990 census and then faced several rejections of their redistricting plans by federal election officials. Georgia was being accused of not accounting properly for the proportioning of their African American population. To offer more representation to African American voters, they argued, the state created an all African American voter district, in addition to the one they had created after the previous census. Interestingly enough, this case was brought to the court by white voters in the new district because they felt the district was unnaturally drawn, so as to appease African American voters. The white citizens of the district felt that the law violated their rights under the gerrymandering laws. Justice Kennedy and the majority ruled that the redistricting measure was suspect, and not because of the supposed oppression of white voters. They ruled it was suspect because it was really designed to dilute the African American vote in other parts of the state. Georgia had to go back to the drawing board again. All the state needed to do in the first place was to draw even, fair voter districts, but even after this, they continued to have a hard time making that happen. A similar case, Bush v. Vera, 517 U.S. 952 (1996), was brought against gerrymandering the following year. After the 1990 census, Texas had to account for a higher population of Latinos. The districts that were drawn were later challenged on the grounds that race was the only reason that the districts were drawn the way they were. It was argued that they were drawn intentionally to ensure that minority representation was increased in the Texas House of Representatives, but only in specific areas. Speaking for the majority, Associate Justice Sandra Day O’Connor struck down the district that had been created, stating that it deserved strict criticism because it was seen as an impermissible racial gerrymander. The Court argued that the district was drawn to dilute the Latino vote in other portions of the state, thus lowering the impact of the Latino vote statewide, not to give the Latino population fair representation in the state house.
         These cases have been beneficial to the American voter. In each case heard, a state was attempting to evade the legal requirement that they make the voting process within their jurisdictions fair for all of their citizens. Each of these rulings forced these states to do so against their will. Thus, again, the federal government, in combination with the legislation discussed in the previous section, has built up its own case in the voter franchise battle with the states. However, not all Supreme Court rulings have been of benefit to the voter. In two recent cases, the Court has actually handed power back to the states. One such case, Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. ___ (2013), was heard in 2013. The case was a landmark case in that it was a direct attack on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Shelby County, Alabama. The opinion, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, ruled on Section 4(b) of the legislation, which contains the coverage formula that determines which jurisdictions are subjected to pre-clearance based on their histories of discrimination in voting. Section 5 requires certain jurisdictions to report all changes to their voting laws or statutes because of the history of racial discrimination in those regions. While the ruling did not strike down this section of the law, it did make it unenforceable until Congress establishes an updated model to determine which jurisdictions are still a problem at present. Thus, until the Federal Elections Commission develops a new formula for Section 4(b) and Congress approves it, states cannot be punished for violating Section 5 when they fail to report changes to their voting qualifications. This is a gain for states, and it gives them direct license to pass intentionally discriminatory legislation against any voting block that they believe will pose a threat to the leadership caste of their state.
        Another case that does not bode well for people protected by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which should be everyone, is Veasey v. Perry, 574 U.S. ___ (2014). The case was related to which forms of ID that the states could accept or reject when allowing voters to register to vote. The state of Texas passed a restrictive Voter ID Law which primarily, and intentionally, targeted Latinos. The Supreme Court rejected the ruling of the 5th U.S. District Court of Appeals, which ruled that Texas was in the wrong. The Court of Appeals ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it unduly restricted minority voter's access to the polls and because it violated preset identification requirements outlined in Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They also ordered an injunction against the enforcement of the law. The Supreme Court's opinion, delivered by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, essentially, upheld the restrictive Texas law. They argued that the Appeals Court had not accurately reviewed all the facts of the case, and that in order for an injunction against the state of Texas to be upheld, further proof would need to be provided that the law was substantially restricting minorities access to the polls. The Supreme Court also held up new restrictions placed on voter registration by the states of North Carolina and Ohio. These cases, North Carolina, et al v. North Carolina League of Women Voters, et al, 574 U. S. ____ (2014), and  Ohio State Conference of the NAACP v. Husted , No. 14-3877 U.S. 6th Circuit (2014), the latter of which was dismissed without a formal hearing, did not directly involve identification qualifications, but they did involve voter restrictions, so the Supreme Court heard them all at once. These cases, again, all yielded power to the states, possibly reversing the federal government's role in protecting its citizen's voting rights. However, new developments since these cases, may be reversing the tide, yet again.
       It is key to note that each of these four cases, the vote has been skin tight. In each case, the Court ruled in the state's favor by a count of five to four. This means that if in any one of these cases, one judge had recused themselves, the vote would have been even. In Supreme Court rulings, if a vote is even, the ruling of the lower court that heard the case first is up held. In each of these cases, if this had happened, the ruling would have instead been a victory for the voters. This very thing has happened just recently. In the case of Wittman, et al v. Personhuballah, et al, No. 14-1504 U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (2016), the Court, in a four to four decision, upheld the decision of the lower court. The District Court held that race played too strong a role when the state legislature of Virginia redrew the boundaries of the Virginia 3rd U.S. Congressional District. The federal district court argued that the redrawn district was gerrymandered because the legislature packed African American voters into its boundaries in such a way that their voting strength was diluted in other districts, just as had been done previously in Georgia and Texas. Republicans appealed the ruling to the high court. They, of course, lost, and had to redraw the district. Something very significant happened before this case was heard that made such a decision possible. On February 13, 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead at the Cibolo Ranch outside of Shafter, Texas. This is significant because in each the four cases that have been discussed, where the voter was the victim, it was Justice Scalia's vote that gave the states the victories. Had he not died, this case would have been a setback for voters, as well. Though some may find it inappropriate to praise the death of a US Supreme Court Justice, there are many reasons to be thankful that Justice Scalia is no longer around. The reason most prevalent to this discussion is the fact that he is no longer around to turn back time on voter rights in the American states.

The Glaring Contradiction


        So far, the discussion has essentially been somewhat of a review of the tug of war between the federal government and state governments over who has the legal authority to define the qualifications needed to vote in the United States. By the count, the federal government has the lead. This basically means that the federal government is clearly, at least at present, the dominant legal authority in this realm. This also means that voters, whether they be white, male, female, or a racial minority, should clearly have the advantage over the state governments that are regularly trying to suppress their right to vote. For some reason, however, this does not seem to be the case, and this is especially true for racial minorities. Something is just not adding up. There is an imbalance somewhere that just seems to be alluding the powers that be. Up until this point, race has been somewhat of a side note in the discussion because the goal was to look at the voting franchise in a broader sense. It has been made clear, however that race cannot be ignored. Now, race is going to be the center of the discussion because it is that thing that is just not adding up, and it is that imbalance that seems to be alluding the powers that be. In the next section, scholars from the 1940s to the 1960s will show clearly how race has played a central role in American politics and elections. Further, they will show precisely how it has done so. The section following that will look at scholars from the 1990s to the present. Most of them will attempt to convince readers that while race has played a role in American sate politics, it has had a very small statistical effect on the outcome of state elections. They will fail miserably. In doing their research, they will contradict themselves with their own words. They will talk about the measures that states have used to control the votes of racial minorities, and then turn around and say that race had no statistical impact on subsequent elections. How could it when the outcome was manufactured by racist means? This is the glaring contradiction that many scholars seem to be missing, and it is frustrating as all hell. If anyone pays even the slightest bit of attention to what they are reading here, the contradiction will show itself so clearly that they may have to take a second glance at it to make sure its real. Unfortunately, rest assured, it is very real, and it seems that some time soon, it may come to a head. Thankfully, however, there are some scholars that can see the contradiction and have pointed it out fairly directly.

Early Scholarship on the Role of Race in State Politics and Elections


        So, the discussion will now move on to the main question. Has race played a role in state politics and elections? What better place to start than with the scholarship written in probably the most racially tense period of this country's history, the 1940s to the 1960s? One would consider including the seventies, as well, but by then, many of the racial movements had moved out of electoral politics and into revolutionary politics, which has already been discussed in several other posts here on the Refuse to Cooperate blog. Perhaps, the best scholar to begin with in this area is V.O. Key., Jr. Dr. Key was one the foremost scholars of state politics in this period. His text, Southern Politics in State and Nation, published in 1949, provides an amazing glimpse into the role that race played in southern politics up to his time. He showed very clearly throughout the text that race has, in fact, played a role in state elections in the United States. In his chapter on “Southern Suffrage Restrictions,” he made mention of the creation of the White Primary in the South, which he recounted as a direct effort to keep politics segregated in the South and to keep African Americans and anyone that may upset the Jim Crow arrangement out of public life. Further, he provided provocative evidence that outlines the effect that the poll tax had on voter participation. He noted that the poll tax did not just affect African Americans. It affected poor whites also, but the impact on African Americans was much more extreme. Additionally, he accounted for the affect that policies like literacy tests and religious tests had on African American's ability to vote, and thus, effect electoral outcomes. He, again, admitted that these policies also affected poor whites, but then, he pointed out clearly that they did not affect whites anywhere near as strongly as they did African Americans. He also accounted for the use of force or threats of force to restrain the African American vote. With the end of Reconstruction in the South, whites across the South, both rich and poor, used aggression and terrorism to secure the reassertion of white supremacy and the disenfranchisement of African Americans. Once in power, they followed this up with the passing of legislation that secured their positions with legal authority.
        Dr. Key also addressed the Populist Movement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries in the United States. In this era, those African Americans who could still manage to vote, after the post Reconstruction violence and legal restrictions, received frequent attention from organizations seeking to improve the conditions of small farmers in the South, as well as, white politicians seeking victory in a close race with another white candidate. However, at just around the height of this movement, states across the South began clamoring for state constitutional conventions. The motivation for these conventions in states like Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia, and others, he noted, was to further restrict the voter franchise for African Americans. This was a reaction to their involvement in the election of progressive candidates and in progressive union movements. Each state adopted a new constitution that actively limited the voter franchise and made unionization for anyone, especially African Americans, much more difficult. Though the language used in these new constitutions did not use direct racial language, it was widely known that their purpose was to restrict the franchise among poor African American farmers and to make it harder for them to unionize against white growers and distributors. They also put further restrictions on African American's ability to own land. After the decline of populism in the South, African Americans were left politically and fiscally unprepared for the new status quo, an even more restrictive one party South, ruled by white elites seeking to more tightly secure their position and wealth. This was grouped with the support of poor white farmers who; if they shared nothing else with their elites, had picked up a very nasty but very communal hatred for Radical Reconstruction, something that was still present in the minds of many whites who had fought in, knew people who had fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, or had lived through Reconstruction. One might think poor whites would have had some connection with the African Americans farmers that they had attempted to unionize with in the Progressive Era, but previous conditions were apparently too strong for them to overcome their bigotry. Essentially, race has definitely played a role in state elections in the United States, especially in the South, and it did so because racist white politicians made it so.
        Dr. Key has not been the only person to discuss the role of race in state politics and elections. In 1944, five years before Dr. Key published his book, Daniel S. Strong, of the University of Texas, wrote a defense of the poll tax in Texas in the American Political Science Review entitled, “American Government and Politics: The Poll Tax - The Case of Texas.” In his piece, he admitted that the race controversy warranted study, but argued that the poll tax was not as evil as it had been made out to be. He further stated that most criticisms of the poll tax were based on, many times, baseless propaganda that almost never stood up to scrutiny. He did clarify, though that he believed the argument against a poll tax to be more logical than the folklorish attempts to defend it. Despite this, he argued that the anti-poll tax argument was flawed for many reasons, mainly because the poll tax has had an effect on poor whites, as well as, the African American population. He also defined two different types of poll taxes, those designed solely to earn revenue and those whose purpose it is to disenfranchise certain segments of the population for the purpose of political gain. His final argument was that the poll tax in Texas was not necessarily a political measure taken with the intent to disenfranchise anyone at all. He pointed out that the poll tax was not adopted until just after the turn of the twentieth century, not in the original post radical reconstruction state constitution, which would have given the amendment a much more political and racial tone. Here, in this defense of a known tool of voter discrimination, is a narrative that shows how race has played a direct role in state elections since, at the least, since the end of the Civil War. The author admitted that the defenses of the poll tax were ridiculous and then argued, in complete contradiction to reality that the Texas poll tax was not racially motivated. It was implemented in Texas immediately after the Progressive Era and repeated attempts by African Americans to vote and unionize, as was noted by Dr. Key. It is not unrealistic to expect that both of these men would have had access to the same sources, so one must call Dr. Strong's conclusions into question. His work, in this case, seems more like a poor attempt to downplay race in state politics and elections than it does an attempt to defend the poll tax.
        In 1957, Henry Allen Bullock, an African American historian from Texas Southern University, wrote a gradual history of the expansion of the African American vote in Texas. The article, “The Negro Voter in the South: The Expansion of Negro Suffrage in Texas,” was published in The Journal of Negro EducationDr. Bullock's piece was, admittedly, an upbeat piece. He recognized from the outset, the many slights against African American voters such as domestic terrorism, which he called voter intimidation, literacy tests, religious tests, and other mechanisms like the poll tax. He argued that despite the discriminatory nature of the poll tax, many African Americans in Texas were poll tax paying voters, and were eligible to vote in elections at every level of government, from local to federal. He also mentioned several major voting cases like Chandler v. Neff 298 Fed. 515 (1924), an early white primary case, Nixon v. Herndon, 273 U.S. 536 (1927), a similar case, United States v. Classic 313 U.S. 299 (1941), which ruled the white primary unconstitutional, and Smith v. Allwright 321 U.S. 649 (1943), another case which eliminated the poll tax at the federal level. He did also recognize, however that despite these many advances on paper, the physical situation was not quite what it should be. He argued that African Americans in Texas, on average, were voting far below their potential strength. He reviewed census data, starting from 1870, and showed quite clearly how drastically the African American vote dropped the further west they lived in Texas, measured as their percentage of the total population in their region. He also showed how few African Americans were actually registered. The numbers are staggeringly low in comparison to how many African Americans lived in Texas at the time. His research further showed that the largest percentage of the African American, and other non-white population that votes, lives in the major urban centers of the state, like Dallas, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and their parent counties, among others. For Dr. Bullock, in 1957, things were looking up for African American Voters, as more African Americans moved to the cities looking for better jobs and gained more knowledge about the power of the ballot. This is a clear statement; from an African American, which puts race in the center of election politics in the state of Texas, even though one can clearly tell that he was making a strained effort to make the situation look rosier than it really was. After all, why was a piece that is as truly important as his relegated to a publication that is now defunct? The race of the author kept this piece out of the more mainstream historical and political publications of the day.
        In 1962, the the early edition of the Mansfield-Dirksen Bill, which would later become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a companion bill that originated from the Kennedy Administration, were both before Congress. They were both early unsuccessful attempts to pass comprehensive voter legislation geared at protecting the rights of African Americans, and other minorities, at state polling stations. The bills argued for five key protections. They stated that it was essential for the American form of government that all qualified citizens have the opportunity to participate in the choosing of public officials. They further stated that the right to vote in federal elections should be free from discrimination and other corrupt influences. Next, they stated that literacy and other tests have been used to support arbitrary and unreasonable denials of the right to vote which existing statutes are inadequate to prevent. They also stated that people with at least a minimum of a sixth grade education cannot be reasonably denied the right to vote on the grounds of illiteracy or lack of intelligence. Continuing, they stated that there should be sufficient information available in Spanish for Spanish speaking citizens who wish to make an informed decision in the election of their public officials. The potential laws also stated that denying someone the right vote on the basis that they do not speak English, or because they are of a certain race, is unreasonable. Finally, they outlined the constitutional defense of the potential legislation. They cited Article One, Section Four, of the Constitution, Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2 of the Fifteenth Amendment, and the inherent power of congress to protect the integrity of the federal election process present in Article One, in the broader sense. Essentially, this stated that it was the federal government's constitutional right to protect the voter franchise wherever it may be in jeopardy.
        These bills, given their controversial nature at the time, stimulated debate in the political science community. In his piece, “Congressional Authority to Restrict the Use of Literacy Tests,” in The California Law Review, Reed H. Bemet defended the constitutionality of these two bills, stating that he found no significant problems of interpretation that could lead to the bills facing any significant constitutional challenge after a finished product had been produced. However, he concluded that neither of the bills, if they actually managed to pass, would have any significant effect on the practice of racial discrimination in elections in the United States. He argued that at the time he was writing, the US Attorney General already had the legal authority to seek an injunction against any state that used literacy tests, in violation of federal law, to qualify or disqualify voters. This, however, was very unlikely to happen, Bemet argued, as long as the voter registration process was still in the hands of state government officials determined to maintain the white man’s monopoly over the ballot box. Further, the lengthy, and expensive, legal process, which was required to battle instances of discrimination in such cases, he argued, would discourage many poor African Americans from pursuing any defense of their rights. The burden of proof needed for legal purposes, alone, would have been too costly for many to bare. He further argued that the likelihood of them passing, at this time, was very low because of the aggressive opposition that the legislation would garner from the Southern states, who were still in intense defense mode over the issue. Here is, yet, another scholar who has made it plain and clear that race is, and has always been, a central matter in state politics and elections in the United States.
        In his piece, “Literacy Tests for Voters: A Case Study in Federalism,” in Law and Contemporary Problems, Sam J. Ervin, Jr., a visible state’s rights scholar, argued that these two potential laws were unconstitutional on the grounds that the Constitution only gives Congress the authority to enforce federal voting laws based on the qualifications preset by the various states. He stated that any attempt to usurp this authority granted to the states by the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, was a violation of the law and a threat to the precious balance that exists between the states and the national government in the federalist system government of the United States. He admitted that the Fifteenth Amendment protects discrimination on the basis of race or color, but he argued that these bills were not focused on challenging a specific state action. This, he argued, made them unconstitutional. Dr. Ervin, here, was attempting to deflect. He freely admitted that race was an issue protected by the Fifteenth Amendment, but then poorly used the Tenth Amendment to claim that the states' rights were the more important issue. A very important question needs to be asked here. If this is a states' rights issue, which of the states' rights are being infringed upon? The answer is their right to discriminate against minorities when they define the qualifications to vote in their states. Thus, states' rights is not the major issue here because the Fifteenth Amendment, as Dr. Ervin admitted, outlaws the use of race or color in the determination of voter qualifications. The issue at hand is voter suppression. Yet another scholar has contradicted themselves in their own argument against race, and instead, shown quite clearly how big a role race actually did and does play in state politics and elections.
        In 1966, not even a year after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, another critic of federal legislation restricting what tools states can use to qualify voters in their elections chimed in on the issue. Alfred Avins, in his piece, “The 15th Amendment and Literacy Tests: The Original Intent,” in the Stanford Law Review, argued that any attempt by the federal legislature to restrict any state from using literacy tests as a means by which to qualify voters is an illegitimate act of Congress, and thus, should be null and void. He argued that by retracing the history of the Fifteenth Amendment and its passage, one would find that it was clear that the framers of the amendment had considered the continued use of literacy tests, despite the very obvious possibility of increased discrimination towards African American and other minority voters. He argued that the framers of the amendment did not deem it unreasonable for a state to want its voters to be reasonably educated, so as to be able to understand, at least a little, what they were voting for in an election. He also contended that federal intervention, in the form of suspensions and the like, into state voter registration qualifications placed an undue burden on states to provide evidence that their regulations have not been intentionally designed for the purpose of restricting a specific race of people from exercising their constitutional right to vote in all elections, state and federal. He did admit, though that states have routinely used many different methods to restrict African Americans from exercising their constitutional right to vote. He, however, remained firm in his stance that this is still no excuse for the federal government to interfere in affairs in which the states have been granted constitutional authority.
        It would seem here that Dr. Avins intentionally ignored the other practices that normally accompany states' restrictive voter qualification regulations. Was he not aware of the hangings, assaults, dog attacks, muggings, arson cases, murders, and other forms of violence that were used to enforce these laws? Did he forget about the other laws that were passed by states to supplement these laws? Perhaps, he was not aware that many states also passed laws that made it very difficult for African Americans to get a quality education? Did he not think that this might be a catch twenty-two kind of situation. Essentially, for those African Americans that did meet his 'reasonably educated' requirement, voting was still not likely an option that was available to them before the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because of the many other restrictive laws that have already been mentioned here. What he was definitely missing was the fact that the enforcement clause of the Fifteenth Amendment gave the federal government every right that it needed to step in on states' rights on this issue.The Fifteenth Amendment offered clarity on an issue that had long been left vague by the original Bill of Rights, thus, the law was, in fact, on the federal government's side. This was the beginning of the federal government's assumption of rights on the issue of voter qualifications. He was also missing an interesting contradiction that has also already been mentioned here. By ratifying the Fifteenth Amendment, an amendment that gave the federal government the right to define the qualifications for voting in the United States and the power to enforce those qualifications, the states technically surrendered their right to do so. Here, again, race has been shown to be at the center of state politics and elections, and another scholar has contradicted himself and poorly defended states' rights to discriminate against their own citizens on the basis of their race or color.

Modern Scholarship on the Role of Race in State Politics and Elections


        Fast forward to the nineties, and it would seem that the trend continued. In 1990, in their piece, “White Reactions to Black Candidates: When Does Race Matter,” in The Public Opinion Quarterly Jack Citrin, Donald Philip Green, and David O. Sears reviewed the role that race played in the 1982 Gubernatorial election between Tom Bradley, an African American Democratic candidate, and George Deukmejian, a white Republican candidate. Bradley lost to Deukmejian by a very slim margin, only trailing him by 100,000 votes, in a state where over seven million people voted. They wanted to know if race was the decisive factor in the election. They also noted several scholars who had, in the twenty or so years before them, identified race as a pervasive influence upon state elections. This is, of course, in addition to those that have already been examined. The identified the work of John Becker and E.E. Heaton, Jr. (1967), who examined the role of race in the election of a Senator in their piece, "The Election of Senator Edward R. Brooke," in Public Opinion Quarterly. They also identified some of their own past work that recognized the role that race has played in state politics and elections. Sears mentioned his work with Donald Kinder, Kinder and Sears (1981), "Prejudice and Politics: Symbolic Racism Versus Racial Threats to the Good Life," published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He also mentioned his contribution made with H.M. Allen, in 1984, to the book, Groups in Contact: The Psychology of Desegregation, edited by N. Miller and M.B. Brewer. Before going back to some of their own work, they also mentioned the work of S. Baker and P. Kleppner (1986), "Race War Chicago Style: The Election of a Black Mayor," published in Research in Urban Policy. They also mentioned a chapter that they contributed to a book. It was David Sears, L. Huddy, and L.G. Shaffer (1986), "A Schematic Variant of Symbolic Politics Theory, as Applied to Racial and Gender Equality," in Political Cognition, edited by R. Lau and Sears, himself. Finally, Sears, Jack Citrin, and R. Kosterman (1987), contributed, "Jesse Jackson and the Southern White Electorate in 1984," to Blacks in Southern Politics, edited by R.P. Steed and T.A. Baker. There were several other mentions made, but the list could go on so long that another article would be necessary. Suffice it to say, the authors were well aware that that race was a significant issue in state politics and elections.
        For Dr. Sears and his associates, in this article, the presence of race in state politics is the first of three main issues that they argue are central to the roll of race in mass politics, in general. The second issue they identify is how exactly the racial reactions of voters are motivated, and their third issue is how African Americans are treated on the job. They predicted for future review that traditional racism on the job would morph into some new modern form. These authors are showing with polling data from two polls done in October of 1982 that race is not necessarily as influential on the outcomes of elections as one might think it to be. They analyzed polling data collected by the Los Angeles Times from October 10th to the 14th, and from a California Poll done by the Field Institute, collected from the 24th to the 31st. They compare this data to data collected by the same people from three other down ticket state elections to determine how much of an impact race actually had on the outcome of the 1982 gubernatorial election in California. One case was similar to the top of the ticket, in that it was a biracial contest. The other two middle ticket contests were between competing white candidates. They analyzed the data collected on four elections that year and came to four general conclusions. First, a great many people polled were more upset about perceived special treatment of minorities, rather than the fact that Tom Bradley was an African American. Second, statistically, Bradley was more popular than even the white democratic candidates on the lower ticket, and as a percentage, race had just about the same impact in the two white only races. Third, the lower race was more racially sensitive because fewer people knew the candidates, but even that was not incredibly significant. Finally, their data showed them that while there were a small percentage of people who voted against Bradley because of his race, more people voted against him because of perceived special treatment to minorities as a whole. Their data shows, they argue, a close race, in which perceived failures of government were more important in the outcome of the election than was the race of the two candidates.


        The above table shows exactly what the authors want it to show. It shows that as they argue, while race did play a role in how people organized for the election, it had very little to do with the outcome of the election. They argued that this was so because more people were concerned with what they thought were bad policies than they were the race of the candidates. There seems to be some very important problems with this conclusion, however. The easiest thing to question them on is their sources. Who conducted these polls for the Los Angeles Times and the Field Institute? Who were these mystery people polling, exactly? Were they polling everyone that might be effected by this election? Likely not. It is more likely that they were only polling those people whose names were registered at the polls on the day that voting took place. This would extremely limit their data pool, likely skewing the numbers in such a way that race would be minimized as a factor in the outcome of the election. It would be difficult to confirm whether or not this was intentional; however, it is not difficult to identify the myriad sections of the population that would not have been polled in this instance. First, if they only polled the people that voted, then they failed to at least poll all likely voters, those people that meet certain age, social status, income, and racial requirements. This is the first limitation of their numbers. One could stop here because all likely voters is somewhat of an umbrella designation, but that would be unfair to the unmentioned parties. It is very likely that most African Americans and Latinos, both significant minority populations in California, were not polled. The pollster's numbers dwindle even further. They also would not have polled the extremely poor or young people between the ages of eighteen and thirty. Polling these missing sections of the population should have been on the top of their list. They should have been asking these people, why did not you vote? How about those members of the minority community that could vote not because of unjust felony convictions? Had all these numbers been included in the pollster's data, it is likely that Dr. Sears and associates would have had to draw very different conclusions. If someone does not vote because they do not feel invested in this system, for whatever reason that may be, race included, then that is having a statistical effect on the outcome of the election because of votes not cast. Thus, wile Dr. Sears admits that race has a pervasive influence on state politics and elections, his conclusion that race had little to no effect on the outcome of California's 1982 gubernatorial election, as well as, the lower ticket elections, is based on an incomplete data set, and is therefore, suspect. 
        A year and a half after Sears, et al made their failed attempt to discredit race as a statistical factor in the outcome of state elections, John E. Filer, Lawrence W. Kenny, and Rebecca B. Morton (1991) presented the article, “Voting Laws, Educational Policies, and Voter Turnout,” in The Journal of Law and Economics. In the article, they argued that their research added further stock to the theory that race had not played as big a role in the statistical outcomes of elections as had been thought in the past. In an effort to explain why minority turnout was always lower than white turn out in elections, they reviewed voting laws and educational policies between 1948 and 1980. They wanted to see how the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the amendment in 1970, along with literacy tests, poll taxes, and total expenditures on education affected voter turnout amongst minorities. Their initial assumption was that voter turnout amongst minorities, primarily African Americans, was always at a statistical minimum in comparison to their total numbers. If they had read Dr. Bullock's piece from 1957, “The Negro Voter in the South: The Expansion of Negro Suffrage in Texas,” published in The Journal of Negro Education, which was mentioned earlier, they would not have made that mistaken assumption. Thus, when their data came back confirming that there had actually been a slow rise in African American voter participation, over time, they would not have been surprised. Admittedly, they did accurately attribute this to federal actions that were slowly lifting unjust legal restrictions on the voter franchise enacted by the various states. Their second conclusion gleaned from their data was that despite this slow but steady rise in African American voter participation, race itself, was not a major factor in the outcome of major state elections in the same time period. They argued that by 1980, the gap between the white vote and the African American vote had narrowed significantly enough that race could not be considered a notable factor in the outcome of elections. They attributed more credit to the federal actions that lifted the restrictions on the voter franchise; though; they did admit that African American voter numbers were still significantly lower than they should be. 


        This table shows that voter participation, over time, increased in the African American community. It also shows that this was the case despite laws that restricted the education options of African Americans, Literacy Tests, and Poll Taxes. This is precisely what Dr. Filer and his associates indicated. However, like Dr. Sears and his associates before, some serious questions need to be asked about their work. This is so because what this table does not show is that race did actually play a significant role in the outcome of state elections during the periods that they are studying, despite their claim that it, in fact, did not. It seems like they made a broad assumption here based on only three factors. There are several other factors that they are not considering. Up until the middle of 1960s, at the least, they are not accounting for domestic terrorism and social intimidation, as has already been discussed. Further, they are also failing to account for poverty, restrictive Voter I.D. legislation, religious tests, unjust criminal sanctions, racial segregation, and many other factors that kept, and still keep, African American voter turnout low. These restrictions, by default, have made and still make race a highly significant factor in the outcome of state elections because they are effectively eliminating one race's ability to have an impact on electoral politics, entirely. In fact, they are making race the central issue because one race, the white race, has used and is still uses laws like this to keep other races from challenging their control of the legal and political institutions in the various states. The white power structure has done and is still doing this because they fear that if African Americans, and now other races, are fully included in the political process, their electoral preferences will unseat the racially biased structure controlled by these white elites, and in turn, threaten the economic and legal benefits that they receive from their rigged system. Up to this point, Sears, et al and Filer, et al have completely missed this very obvious fact. In the end, this will be a common theme.
        At the end of 1995, Benjamin Radcliff and Martin Saiz wrote “Race, Turnout, and Public Policy in the American States,” in Political Research Quarterly. This should have been a piece were Dr. Radcliff and Dr. Saiz showed, in as clear a manner as is possible, how race plays a very central role in state politics and the outcome of state elections. They did come to that conclusion, however. They used data on voter turnout from the biennial voting studies that are done by the U.S. Census Bureau to establish a racial bias matrix that they argued accurately measured and compared white and black voter turnout with one another. The question they were asking was, how do greater participation and higher population of African Americans in a community affect the nature of subsequent public policy? Their original assumption was not a bad one. They assumed that with higher numbers of voters making it to the polls, there would be a greater response rate to the needs of African American voters. This, however, was not the case. Their data showed that in cases where the African American population was a significant portion of a state’s population, public policies were more conservative in their leanings. If they had just come out and said what they knew was true, race was the issue, they would not have been telling a lie; in fact, to a degree, they would have been taking a stand. However, like the others, they deflected. They argued, instead, that the paradox was actually the result of political factors like the slow advance of mobilization efforts in the African American community, as well as, the backlash mentality among whites, or retribution for voting too much. They also stated that it might be a result of policy delay as greater representation garners better policy results over time. They finished by stating that if voter turnout among African American voters is low, their race can have little effect on the outcome of an election.


        Did they simply miss the mark on this one, as Dr. Sears and the others have, or are they actually intentionally deflecting? Either way, their judgement must be immediately questioned. This above table shows an inverse relationship between a high African American population and voter turnout and subsequent state policies, in that they tend to be conservative and contrary to the needs of that community. They drew from this that if race did have an impact on state election outcomes, those state policies would be more geared towards helping African Americans. Let's see where they went wrong. From 1866 to 1993, as this article has noted, the federal government had slowly taken byte after byte out of the states' control over the legal right to define voter qualifications in the United States, and repeatedly, the states have resisted these attempts to take this control from them. Did these gentlemen think that this trend was going to just suddenly reverse itself because the 1990s had dawned up on the American experience? Yes, especially after the passage of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, African American voter turnout increased a little, just as it had after each new law was passed in previous eras. However, just as they pointed out, subsequent resistance to this increase rose, as well. Let it be mentioned again; the white power structure of the states where African American voter turnout increased, especially in the South, feared that the increased turnout would threaten their positions. So, they fought back by intentionally failing to the meet the needs of those new voters. What was their hope in doing this? These white elites hoped that disillusionment would set in with the new African Americans voters, and that they would, then, be less likely to vote in any subsequent elections. 
        Unfortunately, this is frequently exactly what happened. In many cases, unsatisfied African American voters, not wanting to be let down again, have chosen to simply not vote again. Apparently, the white power structures in these states know more about what they are doing than these scholars do. There are, however, some scholars that know the reality of the situation. In 1996, Rodney E. Hero and Caroline J. Tolbert in, “A Racial/Ethnic Diversity Interpretation of Politics and Policy in the States of the U.S.,” published in the American Journal of Political Science, support the reality that race does in fact play a role in the outcome of state elections. They measured the relationship between the minority population and public policy passed by a state’s ruling coalition. They created two matrices, one accounting for the minority population and the other accounting for white ethnic diversity. They used these tools to measure the responsiveness of public policy based on the ratio of minority groups to ethnic whites in the general population of the various states. Their data told them that high racial and ethnic diversity is associated with higher overall education and better social policy outcomes. Their big result, however, was the reality that in states where the population tends to more homogeneous, or almost entirely white, the social and political conditions of minorities tend to be worse. This is basically the result of a lack of both social and financial support in the more homogeneous states and increased social and financial support in the more diverse states. Dr. Hero and Dr. Tolbert argued, however that there is a caveat to this. In states that are more diverse, minority voter turnout tends to be lower, as a percentage of the total minority population, than in those those states with a more homogeneous population. Essentially, in the more homogeneous states, minorities have to vote and get involved politically if they want to have any chance whatsoever of being heard; whereas, in the more diverse states, the white power structures tend to make more concessions to the minority community, in the hope that when election day comes, they will not show up because their needs have already been appeased. The graph below depicts minority graduation in homogeneous states versus those in diverse states. The diverse states perform better. This is so because of the placation of minorities in more diverse states, which is designed to keep them away from the polls. This is all clear recognition that race plays a direct role in the outcome of state elections, whether it be through placation, political will, or some other factor.


        In 2001, Brian S. Krueger and Paul D. Mueller published, "Moderating Backlash: Racial Mobilization, Partisan Coalitions, and Public Policy in the American States," in State Politics and Policy Quarterly. They recognized the role that race plays in state election outcomes, the backlash from state governments when the African American vote rises, and the disillusionment that sets in afterwards in the African American population. The most significant manner in which they showed that race has a direct role in state electoral outcomes, is exactly how African Americans can begin to turn the tide. When wealthy African Americans contributed significant funds to the opposition party in their state, normally the Democrats, Dr. Krueger and Dr. Mueller's research showed that electoral outcomes, in the form of policy initiatives, tended to be more favorable; though, admittedly, this did not account for continued low voter turnout among less financially secure segments of the African American population. In 2003, in, "Revisiting the Racial Threat Hypothesis: White Voter Support for California's Proposition 209," also published in State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Caroline J. Tolbert and John A. Grummel support the reality that race is a determinant in state electoral outcomes. Their main question was, are white Americans living among nonwhites more likely to support ending affirmative action than those living in more homogeneous white communities? California Proposition 209 was on the state ballot in 1996. It was an effort to end affirmative action in the state. Dr. Tolbert and Dr. Grummel worked with regional census tracts to do their analysis. They concluded that white support for Proposition 209 was higher in areas with larger Latino, Africa American, or Asian American populations, even after controlling for other factors like education, urban versus rural settings, and income. They contended that this confirmed the Racial Threat Hypothesis, which said that white racism increases as the nonwhite population rises in their community. This is another clear indication that race plays a big role in state electoral outcomes. The table below shows the statistical proof that the Race Threat Hypothesis is real, which supports the role of race in the outcome of state elections. The proposition passed precisely because whites that lived among large minority populations felt threatened and turned out to vote in higher numbers. Had whites not turned out to vote, the proposition would have failed; thus, race had a direct affect on the outcome of this state election.


        In 2012, Danny Hayes and Seth C. McKee, published, “The Intersection of Redistricting, Race, and Participation,” in the American Journal of Political Science. They addressed the issue of race in the redistricting process for Congressional voter districts in the various states. They used the data from eleven post-redistricting elections across five states. They looked at the redistricting measures of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, and California. They found that redistricting most injured African Americans, but that it can affect others, as well. The also found that while the creation of purely African American voter districts helped to better mobilize the African American population in those areas, it damaged the African American voter turnout in districts where the majority of the population was white. They further found that as has been mentioned before, one of the primary effects of states' racial redistricting measures is an aggregate decline in African American voter turnout across each state in question. Dr. Hayes and Dr. McKee have argued here that the goal of these measures was to dilute the effectiveness of the African American, and this would be consistent with what has previously been stated in this article. This is simply another form of appeasement that splits the African American vote, dilutes their power, and gives the white power structures of these states the means that they need to safely maintain their positions. The graph below shows that racial redistricting in these states had a direct impact on the outcome of both subsequent elections and voter turnout. If race was not a factor in the outcome of state elections, why would states being trying so hard to dilute the minority vote? This is, yet, more support for the argument that race does, in fact, play a role in the outcome of elections because if the votes of African Americans and other minorities were not diluted, electoral outcomes would be significantly different, thus, challenging the white power structures in the various states. The same story is being repeated over and over again. Low minority voter turnout is being intentionally manufactured by whites to secure their positions of power in their state governments; thus, again, race is, unequivocally, a crucial factor in the outcome of state elections.


        One final piece warrants mention in this discussion. Though it being taken out of order may seem odd; worry not, the purpose of this swap will soon be made crystal clear. In 2001, Richard J. Fording published, “The Political Response to Black Insurgency: A Critical Test of Competing Theories of the State,” in The American Political Science Review. Dr. Fording’s goal was to address the inadequate research into why the various states, over time, tend to respond to black violence with welfare expansion. He addressed the two competing theories that seek to explain the issue, the Social Control Theory and the Neo-Pluralist Theory. The Social Control Theory, in reference to mass insurgency, argues that the state, acting in the long-term interest of elites, will seek to minimize the effect of insurgency by increasing the level of social control, whether the increase ends up being coercive, beneficent, or some combination of the two. Neo Pluralist Theory, in the same context, runs on three assumptions, the first of which is that the means by which groups can communicate with their leaders are both effective and equally accessible to all groups who wish to make use of them. Second, sufficient competition exists between all groups, such that no one single group has a monopoly over policy making. Finally, it argues that policymakers are open to demands put forth by any group who wishes to enter into the political arena. Essentially, groups already have sufficient means and political support to negotiate for what they want for their community. Dr. Fording argued that of these two theories, Social Control Theory is much more appropriately fitted to describing the relationship between the American states and African American insurgency.
        To come to this conclusion, Dr. Fording did empirical tests on these theories to measure their validity in explaining state responses to African American insurgency. He followed black insurgency in the 1960s and 1970s, and used pooled time series analyses to estimate the relationship between state welfare recipient rates, state incarceration rates, and black violence. Further, he tested a series of specific hypotheses meant to distinguish between the competing theories. He called them beneficent, coercive, or said that there could actually be a hybrid of the two which explains state responses to African American violence. Both of the theories being tested, he stated, are positively affected by beneficent responses, which means that this hypothesis cannot be used to distinguish between the two theories. Thus, coercive responses must be explored. Coercion, he argued, can do so, because the Neo Pluralist Theory does not account for things like state expenditures on police forces and the subsequent passage of punitive laws. What he found seems to be a hybrid of the two hypotheses, Beneficent responses or Coercive responses, with a little causation from Social Control Theory to Neo Pluralist Theory. His hybrid accounts for the immediate, and most usually, punitive responses from the states in the time periods measured. He then finds that after the early punitive stages of the states’ responses, there tends to be a period of calm where the states then begin to increase welfare generosity in an to keep another insurgency from occurring, which is where the New Pluralist Theory comes in. The table below is a representation of this hybrid theory.


        A number of things can be drawn from this. First, and most obvious, it shows that elections are not necessarily the only tool that politically isolated minorities have to receive redress for their grievances with the white power structures in the various states. Second, it goes a long way in explaining why minorities in diverse states tend to have better social conditions than those in homogeneous states, despite their poor turnout at the polls, as is discussed by Dr. Hero and Dr. Tolbert in, “A Racial/Ethnic Diversity Interpretation of Politics and Policy in the States of the U.S.” Mass numbers are needed if a minority population is going to gain restitution for political and social wrongs that cannot be gained through electoral means. Those means do not exist for minority groups in more homogeneous states, which explains why minorities in those states tend to be more active in electoral politics. It also reveals the more significant role that race plays in states where the minority population is more numerous. They feel slighted for a particular reason. It might be because they voted for a particular measure in an election and were soundly defeated by means that they felt were either unfair or intentionally restrictive. They then rebel over the issue. Initially, the response from the white power structure is punitive; however, over time, in order to prevent something like this from happening again, the white power structure will portion out increased amounts of social welfare benefits to the affected minority groups. This is done in the hopes that they will be appeased, so that they will not riot again, and so that they will stay away from the polls in the future, thus securing peace and the white power structure's position in the social order. This also reveals even clearer how race is used by the white power structures in the various states as a tool to intentionally mute the political power of minority groups. The goal is to keep them from participating in the democratic process so that the white power structure's position as the head of any given states' social order is maintained. Essentially, when it comes to state politics and electoral outcomes in the United States, race is everything. Dr. Fording's tests help to show how real and extremely pervasive the issue of race truly is in American state politics and elections. When measuring the causes or repercussions of any given state action in the United States, if one fails to account for race, they have failed to their proper research, and their work must be immediately scrutinized, and heavily so.

Conclusion and Analysis


        Hopefully, a steady evolution has been seen here. It shows how race has been at the center of American politics since the nation’s inception. From the references to enslaved persons in the Constitution, to the Reconstruction Amendments, to the Civil Rights Act, to the Voting Rights Act, amongst the many Supreme Court rulings, to the effects of gerrymandering in the twenty-first century, to the states’ responses to mass insurgency, race has been at the center of the debate in state elections. It is impossible for it not to be, as the racial divide in the United States has never been hidden, and the expansion of suffrage, in general, has been a common theme throughout U.S. history. Voter Suppression has also been a common theme; however, and the many the tools that states have used to keep minority voters from voting have been discussed here. Among the many tools that states have wielded are the poll tax, the religious test, literacy tests, and even racially drawn electoral districts. Bribes, in the form increased public welfare allocations, have also been a common tool. The most effective tool, historically, however, has unfortunately been domestic terrorism. Throughout the United States, white hate groups, the most famous being the Ku Klux Klan, have made minorities efforts to vote extremely perilous. During segregation, and even afterwards on multiple occasions, state governments have also had no problem ordering local police departments to use deadly force against anyone who challenges the white power structures of those states. African Americans have, of course, been the largest target group for this mixture of organized and disorganized violence. People have been hung from trees, burned alive, torn apart by dogs, drowned, shot, stabbed, dropped from high buildings, beaten in the streets, bruised with water hoses, and even killed by any number of means. Worse, in all of this, their only mistake was believing that they actually had the right to effect change in the country of their birth. They had the gall to believe that the Constitution applied them, as well. The white power structures in the various states have routinely told them otherwise.
        There has not been a single argument made in this article, by anyone that attempts, in any way, to deny the pervasive nature of the race problem in state politics and elections in the United States. In fact, every argument made has confirmed this reality. However there have some that have attempted to question whether or not race has any significant effect on the out come of state elections. In 1990, in their piece, “White Reactions to Black Candidates: When Does Race Matter,” in The Public Opinion Quarterly Jack Citrin, Donald Philip Green, and David O. Sears argued that race had no real significant impact on the outcome because one of the candidates was African American and because their stats told them that more people were concerned with perceived government betrayals and special treatment of minorities, as a whole, than they were the race of the candidates. However, numerous flaws made their work suspect. All of these flaws were encompassed in the fact that they were using polling data that was extremely limited in its reach. A great many people that should have polled were not, simply because they did not vote. There was no thought put into understanding why these people did not vote. They ignored the non voting youth, African Americans, poor, rich, white, students, and countless others. It is likely that their conclusions would have been much different had they taken these people into closer account.  A year and a half after Sears, et al made their failed attempt to discredit race as a statistical factor in the outcome of state elections, John E. Filer, Lawrence W. Kenny, and Rebecca B. Morton (1991) presented the article, “Voting Laws, Educational Policies, and Voter Turnout,” in The Journal of Law and Economics. In the article, they argued that their research added further stock to the theory that race had not played as big a role in the statistical outcomes of state elections as had been thought in the past. For this group of scholars, the most imposing factor in the outcome of state elections was all of the federal actions taken to expand the voter franchise over the years. They recognized that even after this, however, African American voter turnout was abnormally low, in relation to their population, but they did not think to measure why that was. Domestic terrorism and other tools were routinely subverting the African American vote, making it impossible for them to vote. Had they voted in their full numbers, they would have affected many more elections, thus race has been an enormous factor in the outcomes of state elections in the United States.
        At the end of 1995, Benjamin Radcliff and Martin Saiz wrote “Race, Turnout, and Public Policy in the American States,” in Political Research Quarterly. This should have been a piece were Dr. Radcliff and Dr. Saiz showed, in as clear a manner as is possible, how race plays a very central role in state politics and the outcomes of elections. They did come to that conclusion, however. They argued, instead, that it was other factors that had actually had more impact on electoral outcomes. They identified political factors like the slow advance of mobilization efforts in the African American community, as well as, the backlash mentality among whites, or retribution for voting too much. They also stated that it might be a result of policy delay as greater representation garners better policy results over time. They finished by stating that if voter turnout among African American voters is low, their race can have little effect on the outcome of an election. Unfortunately, these detractors of race's effect on electoral outcomes are not alone. Scott Keyes, Ian Millhiser, Tobin Van Ostern, and Abraham White, in “Voter Suppression Disenfranchises Millions,” published in Race, Poverty, and the Environment, (2012), unfortunately mirror these conclusions. The same goes for one of the most recent publications on the topic. Published in 2015, William D. Hicks, Seth C. McKee, who unfortunately goes back on himself, Mitchell D. Sellers, and Daniel A. Smith, admit that voter id laws have, in fact, been growing more frequent and that they have been intentionally designed to target minority voter turnout. The authors, however, argue that this is not simply because they are minorities. They point out that race has had an effect on the introduction and passing of voter id laws, but only because a larger minority population increases the chances that a state will enact voter id laws. However, they argue further that despite this, the real point of causation is partisan competition. They argue that this occurs as the Republican Party’s base shrinks over time, and the minority population increases the base of the Democratic Party. Republicans enact voter id laws to maintain the ruling coalition that they have constructed, not necessarily just because of the race of certain constituents. Their goal is to maintain their present social order. By this reasoning, it seems to follow that if the Democratic Party were in the reverse position, they would be just as likely to use voter id laws to maintain their narrowing lead over state politics, despite, at present, being the party that has stood out against voter id laws as discriminatory towards minorities and the poor. This basically means that race is the cause of the laws, and is thus, directly effecting the outcome of subsequent elections. This is so because if they vote, one party wins, the Democrats. If they do not vote another party wins, the Republicans. If this is not a direct effect, then it may be impossible to define what one really is.


        Race is, by far, the most significant factor in the outcomes of state elections. The above table attempts to show that race is not a significant factor in the outcomes of state elections. It fails to do that. What it shows, in stead, is that the reverse conclusion can be drawn from almost any data. This has been the case with other studies in this article, as well. There would be no party competition without the racial minority that the parties are either fighting over or are attempting to suppress, and the authors, themselves have admitted that subsequent elections are determined by whether or not those minorities vote. They are directly contradicting themselves. There are, however, people who recognize the reality of this situation. Rodney E. Hero and Caroline J. Tolbert in, “A Racial/Ethnic Diversity Interpretation of Politics and Policy in the States of the U.S.,” published in the American Journal of Political Science (1996), Brian S. Krueger and Paul D. Mueller in, "Moderating Backlash: Racial Mobilization, Partisan Coalitions, and Public Policy in the American States," in State Politics and Policy Quarterly (2001), Danny Hayes and Seth C. McKee, in, “The Intersection of Redistricting, Race, and Participation,” in the American Journal of Political Science (2012), and Richard J. Fording in, “The Political Response to Black Insurgency: A Critical Test of Competing Theories of the State,” in The American Political Science Review (2001) all recognize the reality of what is really going on in this situation. They understand the constant struggle that has been waving back and forth between the states and the federal government over who has the legal right to define voter qualifications. The federal government passes an amendment, and the states ratify their own restriction, Congress passes legislation, and the Supreme Court makes rulings, most all in favor of increasing the voter franchise. In response, the states come out with increasingly crafty ways to resist these federal sanctions on their rights, and by whichever means they feel they must, they restrict the rights of minorities to reach the polls. They also know that in most states, the white vote is split down the middle, thus the minority vote can be crucial in turning the tide in an election, which is precisely why the white power structures in these states make every effort they can to keep them down. If the minority vote turns out en masse for even just one election, a state's entire balance of power could be completely flipped around.
        So, what comes of all of this? How many more times is the federal government going to amend the Constitution, pass legislation, or hand down Supreme Court rulings, counteracting intentionally restrictive state laws, only to have the states come up with more ways to resist the changes, before it just gets fed up with the whole situation and simply takes control of all polling places everywhere? They would be, basically, federalizing all elections. How will the states react if the federal government does attempt to do something like that? Could there possibly be an armed conflict between the states and the federal government over this issue? Similar issues have gotten to that point in the past, namely, slavery and the Civil War. In fact, this situation is more like that era than one might expect. The South justified the war by saying their states' rights were being violated, where as the federal government argued that it had supremacy and could not allow secession. The issue was not over federalism or states' rights. It was over slavery, just look at all of the southern states' declarations of secession. Each one expressly indicates that they are seceding to protect the bedrock of their economies, slavery. There is no other cause than can be marshaled as being more important than that. This mirrors the modern conflict because again, states rights and federal prerogative are not the true issues at stake here. The central issue here is, rather, the marginalization of racial minorities. The states want to keep doing it because it protects the white power structure's position in their states, while the federal government is attempting to get the states to let go of the issue and comply with pre-existing federal laws that outlaw the practice. The conflicts are dramatically similar, if they are not actually the same issue drawn out over the space of a nation's entire history. Could this cause another Civil War?
         What is more believable, however, is a knee jerk reaction from the people. Minorities in this country have never been treated like equal citizens. What happens if some election official or other state official visibly corrupts an election to prevent an undesirable electoral outcome from taking place? Will hundreds of years of bigotry, violence, and hatred finally boil over? Will a social upheaval that cannot be repaired with a few extra dollars spent on public social benefits occur? How severe would such a conflagration be? How would the various state governments respond? Contemplating such possibilities can induce a viable fear in someone who is invested in the system that the white power structure has built; however, there is a solution to this problem that will make everyone happy. The state governments just need to stop worrying about power and money, and instead, invest their time and resources into bringing the minority community into the system without any caveats. It's that easy, just include people and help them to become invested in the survival of the system. For some reason, however, for the white power structures in the various states, especially those in the South, this just seems to be too difficult. It seems to be a challenge that they just cannot master. Well, if they want to have any chance at all of retaining their position through peaceful means, they have to get over it real quick because, eventually, it is going to be too late for them stop any popular uprising on their own, which will cause them to react violently, once again. Only, this time, the problem will be severe enough that they will have to ask the federal government for help, who will, justifiably, have no problem taking even more of the states rights away from them once they have cleaned up the mess. All the people want to know is that their vote matters, that it has a purpose. They want to know that they have a real chance at effecting change. Give them that ability and all should be well.

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