Minority Report

Evaluating Political Equality in America

John D. Griffin,

Minority Report: Evaluating Political Equality in America
 
 
Are the views of Latinos and African Americans underrepresented in our federal government?  For that matter, what does it mean to be represented equitably? Rather than taking for granted a single answer to these complex questions, John Griffin and Brian Newman use different measures of political equality to reveal which groups get what they want from government and what factors lead to their successes.
 
One of the first books to compare the representation of both African Americans and Latinos to that of whites, Minority Report shows that congressional decisions and federal policy tend to mirror the preferences of whites as a group and as individuals better than the preferences of either minority group, even after accounting for income disparities. This is far from the whole story, though, and the authors’ multifaceted approach illustrates the surprising degree to which group population size, an issue’s level of importance, the race or ethnicity of an office holder, and electoral turnout can affect how well government action reflects the views of each person or group. Sure to be controversial, Minority Report ultimately goes beyond statistical analyses to address the root question of what equal representation really means.


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