The symbolic importance of Barack Obama's election is without question. But beyond symbolism, does the election of African-American politicians matter? Grose argues that it does and presents a unified theory of representation. Electing African-American legislators yields more federal dollars and congressional attention directed toward African-American voters. However, race and affirmative action gerrymandering have no impact on public policy passed in Congress. Grose is the first to examine a natural experiment and exceptional moment in history in which black legislators - especially in the U.S. South - represented districts with a majority of white constituents. This is the first systematic examination of the effect of a legislator's race above and beyond the effect of constituency racial characteristics. Grose offers policy prescriptions, including the suggestion that voting rights advocates, the courts, and redistricters draw 'black decisive districts', electorally competitive districts that are likely to elect African Americans.
Christian Grose is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern California, where he has served on the faculty since 2010. He previously taught at Vanderbilt University and Lawrence University. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Rochester and received his BA from Duke University. His research has focused on American political institutions (Congress and the Presidency), legislative representation, distributive public policy, voting rights and racial politics. In addition to this book, he has published or has forthcoming 16 articles in scholarly journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Polity and Presidential Studies Quarterly. Christian received the 2010 CQ Press award for the best paper on legislative studies presented at the American Political Science Association meeting. He is also a previous recipient of the Carl Albert award for the best dissertation in legislative politics from the American Political Science Association. In addition to his scholarly work, he is a commentator on politics and public affairs in the media.
1. African-American legislators, African-American districts, or democrats?; 2. A unified theory of African-American representation in Congress; 3. The 'hollow hope' of civil rights change in the US House; 4. Location, location, location: delivering constituency service to African Americans; 5. Constituency service in the district: connecting black legislators, black staff, and black voters; 6. Bringing home the bacon: delivering federal 'pork' to African Americans; 7. The future of racial redistricting: black decisive districts.