Critical_Essay_PBelloy.docx - Foundations of Public Policy...

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Foundations of Public Policy II: Critical Essay and Analytic Discussion Leader Patricio Belloy, 04/21/18 The readings of this week aim to demonstrate how the views and attitudes on race and class are influencing policy at the federal and state levels, in addition to how policy has been strategically crafted to perpetuate unequal participation in society, favoring certain socially constructed groups and marginalizing others, particularly low-income people and minorities. The piece from Bentele and O’Brien (2013) analyzes state level legislative developments in terms of partisan, electoral, and demographic conditions associated with the proposal and passage of restrictions to voting. Even if restrictive voter-access policies are passed at rates lower than they are proposed –in consistency with the policy process (Peters, 1999)– the Republican party has pursued and achieved a strategy of demobilizing voters inclined to elect democrats. To arguably protect voting legitimacy against fraud, racially biased policies are restricting access to the ballot to those who are less capable to navigate the system and marginalizing black communities, in line with the changes in social welfare policy and criminal justice in the last decades. Through an empirical analysis, the authors provide support to identifying the factors associated with whether states proposed or passed restrictive voter-access policies between 2006 and 2011. Among the findings, in general, proposed and passed restrictive legislation is expected in states with a Republican majority; where there are more closely divided legislatures; and where low-income, African American, and non-citizens groups are a majority and vote more frequently. In the case of states with higher elderly population –a group that goes to the polls at higher rates and predominantly votes Republican– those restrictions are less common. Likewise, states with a more liberal political culture are less prone to adopt these restrictions. The results strongly support the case of these policies being racially biased and aimed to demobilizing African-Americans and low-income population, illustrating a frontlash effect

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