Beyond the Boundaries: A New Structure of Ambition in African American Politics

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2009-03-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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In the past, African American aspirations for political office were assumed to be limited to areas with sizeable black population bases. By and large, black candidates have rarely been successful in statewide or national elections. This has been attributed to several factors: limited resources available to African American candidates, or identification with a black liberationist ideological thrust. Other factors have been a relatively small and spatially concentrated primary support base of black voters, and the persistent resistance of many white voters to support black candidates. For these reasons, the possibility of black candidates winning elections to national office was presumably just a dream. Conventional wisdom conceded a virtual cap on both the possible number of black elected officials and the level of elective office to which they could ascend. But objective political analysis has not always made sufficient allowances for the more universal phenomenon of individual political ambitions. The contributors to this volume explore the ways ambitious individuals identified and seized upon strategies that are expanding the boundaries of African American electoral politics. This volume is anchored by a symposium that focuses on new possibilities in African American politics. Both the electoral contests of 2006 and the Barack Obama presidential campaign represent an emergent dynamic in American electoral politics. Analysts are beginning to agree that the contours of social change now make the electoral successes of black candidates who are perceived as ideologically and culturally mainstream increasingly likely. Th e debate captured in this volume will likely inspire further scholarly inquiry into the changing nature and dimensions of the larger dynamic of race in American politics and the subsequent changing political fortunes of African American candidates.

Author Biography

Georgia A. Persons is professor of political science in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia. She has written articles for Policy Studies Review, The National Civic Review, and Phylon and is also the editor of Transaction's series The National Political Science Review.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Editor's Notep. xi
A New Structure of Ambition in African American Politics: A Symposium
Beyond the Boundaries: A New Structure of Ambition in African American Politicsp. 3
Making History, Again, So Soon? The Massachusetts Gubernatorial Electionp. 7
Running on Race and Against Convention: Michael Steele, Kweisi Mfume, and Maryland's 2006 Senate Contestp. 23
Three Wrongs and Too Far Right: The Wrong Candidate, the Wrong Year, and the Wrong State: J. Kenneth Blackwell's Run for Ohio Governorp. 45
Southern Racial Etiquette and the 2006 Tennessee Senate Race: The Racialization of Harold Ford's Deracialized Campaignp. 63
Racial Threat, Republicanism, and the Rebel Flag: Trent Lott and the 2006 Mississippi Senate Racep. 83
The Evolving Developmental Context of Black Politics and Praxis
Statewide Races in Maryland: Unusual Beginnings of a New Era in Electoral Politics?p. 99
Electoral Cycles in Racial Polarization and the 2006 Senate Electionsp. 111
The Early Electoral Contests of Senator Barack Obama: A Longitudinal Analysisp. 123
The Third Wave: Assessing the Post-Civil Rights Cohort of Black Elected Leadershipp. 139
Black Identity: What Does It Mean for Black Leaders?p. 163
Learning to Participate: The Effects of Civic Education on Racial/Ethnic Minoritiesp. 179
The Literature on Senator Barack Obama's 2008 Presidential Campaignp. 195
A Radical Critique of the Reparations Movementp. 205
Creating a Transnational Network of Black Representation in the Americas: A Profile of the Legislators at the First Meeting of Black Parliamentarians in Latin Americap. 227
Introductory Political Science Textbooks: Are They Inclusive of African American Politics?p. 247
Book Forum
African American Politics in Third Parties and Urban Affairs: A Review Essayp. 267
Invitation to the Scholarly Communityp. 271
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