Minority Representation in Federal Government (Congress (Minority…
Minority Representation in Federal Government
The 2016 congress was 19% people of colour, despite people of colour making up 38% of the US population
However this is a huge increase from 1984 when there were only 21 African-Americans in Congress and 10 Hispanics, compared to 42 African Americans and 28 Hispanics in 2011
Clinton in 1982 emphasised the importance of a government that 'looks like America'
There are districts where minorities are the majority which makes minority congressmen more likely eg. Hawaii has Mazie Hirono
Black voters have been influential in replacing incumbents eg. in 2008 many Republican incumbents were uprooted on Obama's coat-tails effect
Minority representation is better in the House of Representatives than in the Senate eg. there have only been 10 African American Senators, including Obama but there have been 143 in the House of Representatives
State wide elections are more expensive than district ones & minorities tend to be financially disadvantaged
The Senate is seen as more prestigious so well known politicians tend to contest and do better
There is a white majority population in nearly every state, so white candidates may be seen as a safer choice (apart from in minority-majority states such as Hawaii, which has never had a white majority)
There is a rise of minority-majority districts eg. Mississippi, so it is easier for black representatives to be elected
Although fewer minorities are registered voters, Obama's campaign did a lot to mobilise especially black voters to register and campaign. This shows how minorities in government can improve the democratic process.
The first major party African-American candidate was Shirley Chisholm in 1972. Since then, 3 African Americans have run, including Barack Obama
Between 1992 and 2008 African Americans gave 85% of their vote to Democrat candidates which rose to 95% in 2008
The Latino population is the fastest growing making it very important in presidential elections. However, they tend to swing between Democrat and Republican- Republican because the pro-life policies appeal to Catholic Latinos, but Democrat affirmative action policies may also appeal
A record number of Latinos voted in 2016, although it may have been swamped by other voters as more white voters participated than normal. 28% said they voted for Trump, a substantial amount. This is due partly to religion and some also agreed with his stance on immigration.
There is one African American in the Supreme Court- Clarence Thomas, who was appointed by George W Bush
There are 3 women: Ruth Ginsberg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. All 3 were appointed by Democrats
Sonia Sotomayor is of Hispanic descent and Ruth Ginsberg is Jewish
This first became an issue when LBJ appointed African-American Robert Weaver as Secretary of Housing in 1966
Trump's current cabinet is more white & male than any other cabinet since Reagan's, with minorities taking up 6 of 24 spaces
Obama's cabinet only had 8 white men compared to 18 in Trump's cabinet. Obama's was the most diverse cabinet of any administration, with the heads of 7 out of 15 departments being minorities