representative was not essential for the representation of Black interests at the congressional level. Although I do understand her concept, I strongly disagree with the idea of race not being an important factor in Congress. I believe that racial differences are most likely to rise during congressional voting. Congressional scholars generally take the position that members of Congress don't have to descriptively mirror their constituents in order to be responsive. Yet ample scholarship has shownthat legislators work very hard at identifying with their constituents, at conveying the impression that they are alike in interests and opinions. I find that blacks consistently express higher levels of satisfaction with their representation when that representative is black, even controlling for other characteristics of the legislators, such as political party. When bills are being amended, different racial leaders can have different opinions on important issues which leads to a wide range of different votes on the amendments. Black members of Congress who are mostly all Democrats are more likely to earn higher ratings from their black constituents than white Republicans. Blacks with black legislators also know more about their legislators than those represented by whites. The most important difference in race is politcal party. It generally knownfor blacks to be democratic, whereas whites are mostly Republican. This already brings a drastic change in the views of different races. This study underscores the value of descriptive representation in the black community and highlights the need for additional empirically based studies of political representation. Although preliminary research indicates that Blacks in districts that have Black representatives are more satisfied with there representative, more knowledgeable, and more interested in politics than those in districts that have White representatives, it is not clear that the reason is entirely due to race of representative. Blacks may prefer Black representatives to White
representatives because Black Democrats are still more liberal than White Democrats.
- Spring '14