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Voting Rights--and Wrongs (09 Edition)

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Synopses & Reviews

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Publisher Comments:

The 1965 Voting Rights Act is the crown jewel of American civil rights legislation. Its passage marked the death knell of the Jim Crow South. But that was the beginning, not the end, of an important debate on race and representation in American democracy. When is the distribution of political power racially fair? Who counts as a representative of black and Hispanic interests? How we answer such questions shapes our politics and public policy in profound but often unrecognized ways. The act s original aim was simple: Give African Americans the same political opportunity enjoyed by other citizens the chance to vote, form political coalitions, and elect the candidates of their choice. But in the racist South, it soon became clear that access to the ballot would not, by itself, provide the political opportunity the statute promised. Most southern whites were unwilling to vote for black candidates, and southern states were ready to alter electoral systems to maintain white supremacy. In this provocative book, Abigail Thernstrom argues that southern resistance to black political power began a process by which the act was radically revised both for good and ill. Congress, the courts, and the Justice Department altered the statute to ensure the election of blacks and Hispanics to legislative bodies ranging from school boards and county councils to the U.S. Congress. Proportional racial representation equality of results rather than mere equal opportunity became the revised aim of the act. Blacks came to be treated as politically different entitled to inequality in the form of a unique political privilege. Majority-minority districts that reserved seats for blacks and Hispanics succeeded in integrating southern politics. By now, however, those districts may perversely limit the potential power of black officeholders. Max-black districts typically elect candidates to the left of most voters; those officeholders rarely win in majority-white settings. Such race-conscious districting discourages the development o

Synopsis:

In Voting Rights-and Wrongs: The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections, Abigail Thernstrom explores the complex issues raised by the Voting Rights Act today. Thernstrom celebrates the landmark 1965 law that opened southern voting booths to African Americans-while challenging its evolution into a tool to create a racially fair distribution of political power. Federal law now requires states to draw majority-minority legislative districts, giving minority voters a uniquely sheltered status. Color-conscious policies were morally justified when the only alternative was the perpetuation of all-white or overwhelmingly white legislatures. Today, such race-conscious districting may create less-rather than more-integrated politics.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780844742724
Author:
Thernstrom, Abigail
Publisher:
American Enterprise Institute Press
Subject:
Political Process - Elections
Subject:
Voting -- United States.
Subject:
Elections -- United States.
Subject:
Election law
Subject:
Politics - General
Publication Date:
20090731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
316
Dimensions:
8.90x5.90x1.30 in. 1.10 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Election Law
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Voting Rights--and Wrongs (09 Edition) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 316 pages American Enterprise Institute Press - English 9780844742724 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In Voting Rights-and Wrongs: The Elusive Quest for Racially Fair Elections, Abigail Thernstrom explores the complex issues raised by the Voting Rights Act today. Thernstrom celebrates the landmark 1965 law that opened southern voting booths to African Americans-while challenging its evolution into a tool to create a racially fair distribution of political power. Federal law now requires states to draw majority-minority legislative districts, giving minority voters a uniquely sheltered status. Color-conscious policies were morally justified when the only alternative was the perpetuation of all-white or overwhelmingly white legislatures. Today, such race-conscious districting may create less-rather than more-integrated politics.
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