Latino and African American candidates to win office will not eliminate ethnic

Latino and african american candidates to win office

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Latino [and African- American] candidates to win office will not eliminate ethnic thinking at the voting booth. 1 86 Therefore, despite the provisions of the Voting Rights Act, "race is still a dynamic consideration in American politics, particularly as reflected in the strong continuing patterns of voting along racial lines. In contests where voters are given a racial choice, whites tend to vote white and blacks to vote black." 1 8 7 Moreover, Thernstrom herself concedes that "[t]here is no doubt that where 'racial politics ... dominates the electoral process' and public office is largely reserved for whites, the method of voting should be restructured to promote minority officeholding. Safe black or Hispanic single- member districts hold white racism in check, limiting its influ- ence." 188 Given the arguments presented by various commenta- tors that race is still a factor in voting, Thernstrom's allowance 186 Luis R. Fraga, Latino Political Incorporation and the Voting Rights Ac4 in CONTROVERSIES IN MINORITY VOTING, supra note 76, at 278, 279-80; see also Samuel Issacharoff, Polarized Voting and the Political Process: The Transformation of Voting Rights Jurisprudence, 90 MICH. L. REV. 1833 (1992). Professor Issacharoff takes an even more probing look at claims such as Thernstrom's and remarks: Polarized voting is not just a result of historic antipathy or enforced ethnic divides, nor is it a construct of a misdirected voting rights case law seeking to enforce group-based identities and entitlements at the expense of either individual autonomy or broader communitarian values. Rather, much of this unfortunate voting pattern is the product of fundamentally different societal interests resulting from the basic differences in the socioeconomic means of blacks and whites. Under such circumstances, it would be extraordinary if there were not divergent voting patterns. The persistence and extremity of the polarized voting practices in community after community, despite substantial numbers of middle-class blacks and poor whites indicates that, beyond the divergent socioeconomic interests, there must also be a more fundamental racial antipathy at work as well. Id. at 1879. 187 McDonald, supra note 133, at 75; see also CAVANAGH, supra note 118, at 50 ("For blacks themselves to secure and retain office, they must generally rely on black voters."); Issacharoff, supra note 186, at 1888-89 ("The polarized voting evidence demonstrates that racial divides continue to dominate the electoral arena .... Race is the perfect cue: it is a simple call and it elicits intensely held beliefs and values. Race serves more than perhaps any other single issue in contemporary American life as a defining ideological bellwether."). 188 THERNSTROM, supra note 72, at 238-39 (footnote omitted). 2353
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2354 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 141: 2311 should prompt her to support the holding of Gingles and the law delineated in Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.
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