Political Parties and Race/Gender
What does it mean to say a group is captured by a political party?
When a group cannot switch parties so they stay in their party. For example, theAfricanAmericans have been
captured by the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party received tremendous support from blacks, and the
Republicans did not try to take away the black support from them.
How did the Democratic Party respond to protests at their 1968 convention?
They amended convention rules
Who does Frymer say the parties are trying to appeal to during elections?
Median white voter
• Electoral capture:Apolitically relevant group that votes overwhelmingly for one of the major political
parties and subsequently finds the primary opposition party making little or no effort to appeal to its
interests or attract its votes, they have no choice but to remain in an unresponsive party
• Crises sometimes require one or both of the major parties to deal directly with racial policies
• Following this public response, the party system returns to “normalcy”
• Race policy then gets put on the back burner because elites perceive them as turning off the median
white voter (which parties try to appeal to)
• What kinds of factors may influence a party’s position on politics?
• While the widespread support for political equality measures, social or economic measures are perceived
as more divisive
• So as the policy evolves, so does white support, this then impacts political elites’behaviors
• One thing we all agree on is political equality (everybody should have the right to vote, everybody
should be treated the same in courts, etc.)
• However, Americans don’t care about economic equality
• Some Democratic Party examples:
o 1965 Voting Rights Act becomes school busing or affirmative action
o Party reforms to increase descriptive representation and advantage more liberal nominees
• Why do party elites think race policy puts off the median voter?
o Electoral losses
o Polling • Electoral incentives (winner take all system) encourage political party elites to “capture” black interests
o Winner take all system: In this voting system the single winner is the person with the most votes;
there is no requirement that the winner gain an absolute majority of votes
• In the 1990s, the Democratic Party tried to move back to the center (they went too left and lost liberal
• Democratic Leadership Council
o Founded in 1985 as a response to Democratic electoral losses
o Welfare reform, fiscal responsibility,Americorps, NAFTA, public school choice charter schools,
and performance-based federal education funding
• How can capture be avoided?
o Racial policies must not be framed in such a way as to divide the party (ex. PutAfrican
Americans against other important electoral groups)
o AfricanAmericans may be strategically important electorally if their small numbers are
concentrated in geographically relevant districts or states
• Key Terms
o McGovern Frasier Commission
o Electoral capture
o Philadelphia Plan
o Winner take all electoral system
o Hunt Commission
• The current party positions on feminism are the reverse of what they had been historically
• Why did the Democratic Party open itself to feminist claims rather than the Republican Party?
First Wave Feminism
• Moderate wing of Suffrage Movement
o NationalAmerican Women’s SuffrageAssociation
o The vote! (2 sides- one wanted to vote, one wanted more than the vote)
o Carrie Chapman Catt
o Mobilized the ratification campaign through its state chapters
o Following suffrage, move to bipartisan League of Women Voters
o Satisfied with the vote • Radical wing of the Suffrage Movement
o After they get the vote, they try to get the ERA to pass
The Equal Rights Amendment
• Section 1: Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any state on
account of sex
• Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legisla