What about the possibilities of African Ameri cans being a swing vote and

What about the possibilities of african ameri cans

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What about the possibilities of African-Ameri- cans' being a swing vote and thereby influencing at-large candidates? Some commentators say the swing vote theory does not operate well in fact. 3. The Swing Vote Theory The argument could be made that if minorities vote as a bloc they could greatly affect at-large elections just by being a "swing vote-the decisive marginal percentage in a close race. 122 There are two problems with this theory, particularly as it applies to presidential elections. First, rarely are presidential elections close enough for minorities to have a swing vote effect. 123 Second, even if minorities cast the determinative votes, the indebted candidate must also remember "that white votes also 'made the difference,' because they, too, were necessary if not sufficient for victory." 124 Moreover, if more white votes were cast for the candidate than African-American votes, which, because of the size of the entire minority population in the United States will more U.S. 755, (1973) (striking down at-large elections based on a theory of discriminatory effects); Zimmer v. McKeithen, 485 F.2d 1297, 1308-09 (5th Cir. 1973) (holding that a preference for at-large districts by state officials, and unresponsiveness of legislators to minority interests, inter alia, are criteria supporting a claim for minority vote dilution). These cases are noted not to denigrate the United States' method of presidential election per se, but instead to point out the inherent defects of at-large elections versus district-based elections in the area of minority voting effectiveness. 122 Davidson, supra note 17, at 10. 123 For example, in the 1980 presidential election Ronald Reagan beat Jimmy Carter by approximately eight million votes. See Rhodes Cook, Reagan Buries Carter in a Landslide, CONG. Q., Nov. 8, 1980, at 3296, 3299. In 1984 President Reagan accomplished another landslide victory over Walter Mondale taking 59% of the popular vote. See Rhodes Cook, Landslide Victory by Reagan Underscores Democratic Ills, CONG. Q., Nov. 10, 1984, at 2893, 2893-94 (stating that landslides occurred in almost one out of every three elections since records began being kept in 1824). Likewise, in the 1988 election George Bush defeated Michael Dukakis by approximately six million votes. See Rhodes Cook, Bush Victorj Fits 20-Year Presidential Pattern, CONG. Q., Nov. 12, 1988, at 3241, 3245. The 1992 presidential election, in which Bill Clinton defeated George Bush by approximately five million votes might be seen as an exception to this point. See Rhodes Cook, Clinton Picks the GOP Lock On the Electoral College, CONG. Q., Nov. 7, 1992, at 3548, 3552 (giving the final vote totals as: Clinton, 43,728,275; Bush, 38,167,416; and Ross Perot, 19,237,247). Considering that the race was a three-way contest, however, underscores that most election victories are by sizable margins. 124 Davidson, supra note 17, at 10. 2339
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2340 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 141: 2311 than likely be true, 125 "the post-election pressures from white constituents of a winner may be strong enough to minimize or nullify minority pressure on him." 126 What is more important, however, is that looking at minority voting strength as a factor resting on
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