Thursday, February 6, 2020

"Steadfast Democrats: How Social Forces Shape Black Political Behavior" by Ismail K. White & Chryl N. Laird, Princeton University Press, out 2/25/20

Steadfast Democrats: How Social Forces Shape Black Political Behavior
Ismail K. White & Chryl N. Laird
Princeton University Press

Despite the fact that nearly a third of Black Americans identify as ideologically conservative, 80 to 90 percent identify and vote as Democrats. Why has ideological change failed to push more black Americans into the Republican Party? STEADFAST DEMOCRATS (publishing 2/25/20) answers this question with a path-breaking new theory that foregrounds the specificity of the black American experience and illuminates social pressure as the key element of black Americans’ unwavering support for the Democratic Party.

Ismail White (Duke University) and Chryl Laird (Bowdoin College) argue that the roots of black political unity were established through the adversities of slavery and segregation, when black Americans forged uniquely strong social bonds for survival and resistance. White and Laird explain how these tight communities have continued to produce and enforce political norms—including Democratic Party identification in the post–Civil Rights era. The social experience of race for black Americans is thus fundamental to their political choices. Black voters are uniquely influenced by the social expectations of other black Americans to prioritize the group’s ongoing struggle for freedom and equality. When navigating the choice of supporting a political party, this social expectation translates into affiliation with the Democratic Party. Through fresh analysis of survey data and original experiments, White and Laird explore where and how black political norms are enforced, what this means for the future of black politics, and how this framework can be used to understand the electoral behavior of other communities.

Ismail K. White is associate professor of political science at Duke University. White is the co-editor of African-American Political Psychology: Identity, Opinion, and Action in the Post-Civil Rights Era. Twitter @IsmailWhitePhD

Chryl N. Laird is assistant professor of government and legal studies at Bowdoin College. She has appeared on NPR’s Code Switch in an episode about Black Republicans. Twitter @chryllaird

Ismail K. White and Chryl Laird
Hardcover | $29.95 | 9780691199511 | 256 pages
41 b/w illustrations, 33 tables, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4

Publication date: February 25, 2020

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