Thursday, August 30, 2012

Way Before 0% of Blacks Supported the Republican Nominee, Most Blacks Once Were Republicans

Jas M. Sullivan and Jonathan Winburn. The Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus: Race and Representqation in the Pelican State. Baton Rouge,La.: Louisiana State University Press, 2011.

This book examines the Louisiana state legislature's Black Caucus. It concludes the caucus, so far, since its 1977 beginning, has achieved legislaative enactments that have helped their African American constituencies, yet as rates less successful as achieved by white legislators.

Sen. Yvonne Dorsey notes 80% of Louisiana's Blacks are poor. The Black Caucus represents their concerns in a sometimes uphill battle. Dorsey notes "racism is surreal in Louisiana" and that while the Black Caucus has not gained much power it has been successful in defeating "hundreds of insidiously racially biased" proposals.

The political history shows there were Blacks who were Governors (when they were regional mediators) between 1775 and 1819 in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. In modern times, there have been two elected Governor, one in Massachusetts and one in Virginia with a third in New York who succeeded a resigned elected Governor.

The Congressional Black Caucus formed in 1971. Several state legislative Black Caucuses followed.

The authors note that special interests are influential with Louisiana legislators. Most Louisiana legislators serve part time while holding outside employment.

There were 32 Louisiana Black Caucus members in the 1005-2006 session, 23 House members plus 9 Senate members. Seven were committee chairs, one was President Pro Tempore, and one was Speaker Pro Tempore. The authors' research indicates the Black Caucus members share similar backgrounds and ideologies as their constituents. If Caucus members did not know how their constituents leaned towards on an issue, they tended to use their best judgment on the issue without seeking the opinions of their constituents, which is consistent with more representative legislatures. The Black Caucus had a range of different means in how they obtained information from trusted and delegated sources.

Black Caucus members indicated there were often disagreements among members on some issues. They  would come together on issues important to their constituencies. The members noted a lack of empathy on other legislators on issues specific to Blacks,.such as sickle cell anemia.

Research indicates that economic interests were usually more important than racial matters as factors in the legislative agendas of Caucus members. Legislators were more responsive to constituent needs. Caucus members recognized the importance of being unified on caucus agenda issues.

Numerous studies show racial minority legislators have lowere success rates in geting legislative proposals passed compared to white legislators. This continues in Louisiana. The book found legislative passage rates for white legislators at 58.37%, for Republicans at 56.35%, and Black Caucus members at 52.59%. THe passsage rate of legislations of interest to Blacks was 44.30%.

The Black Caucus fosters cohesiveness among Louisiana legislators. Cauucs members vote more cohesivily than do legislators by party, sex, or geographic region,.


Post a Comment

<< Home