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The Case for Identity Politics

Polarization, Demographic Change, and Racial Appeals
Christopher T. Stout

BUY Cloth · 268 pp. · 6 × 9 · ISBN 9780813944982 · $42.50 · Sep 2020
BUY Ebook · 268 pp. · ISBN 9780813944999 · $42.50 · Sep 2020

Following the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the presidential election of 2016, many prominent scholars and political pundits argued that a successful Democratic Party in the future must abandon identity politics. While these calls for Democrats to distance themselves from such strategies have received much attention, there is scant academic work that empirically tests whether nonracial campaigns provide an advantage to Democrats today. As Christopher Stout explains, those who argue for deracialized appeals to voters may not be considering how several high-profile police shootings and acquittals, increasing evidence of growing racial health and economic disparities, retrenchments on voting rights, and the growth of racial hate groups have made race a more salient issue now than in the recent past. Moreover, they fail to account for how demographic changes in the United States have made racial and ethnic minorities a more influential voting bloc.

The Case for Identity Politics finds that racial appeals are an effective form of outreach for Democratic candidates and enhance, rather than detract from, their electability in our current political climate.


"An incredibly important and timely book that offers a major contribution to the racial politics literature. Stout provides substantial evidence countering the claims after the 2016 election that identity politics is a losing electoral strategy for the Democratic Party. His book shows that Democrats can mobilize voters through racial appeals without facing the same backlash that many have long feared Democrats in general, and black candidates in particular, receive from appealing to racial and ethnic minorities."

Michael Tesler, University of California, Irvine, author of Post-Racial or Most-Racial? Race and Politics in the Obama Era

About the Author(s): 

Christopher T. Stout is Associate Professor of Political Science at Oregon State University and author of Bringing Race Back In: Black Politicians, Deracialization, and Voting Behavior in the Age of Obama (Virginia).

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