Title

Responding to Racial Resentment: How Racial Resentment Influences Legislative Behavior

Abstract

Despite the growing body of scholarship urging congressional scholars to consider the racialization of Congress, little attention has been given to understanding how racial resentment impacts legislative behavior. To fill this gap, we ask if and how racial resentment within a member's home district influences the positions she takes on racially tinged issues in her press releases. Due to constituent influence, we expect legislators from districts with high levels of racial resentment to issue racially tinged press releases. Through an automated content analysis of more than fifty four thousand press releases from almost four hundred U.S. House members in the 114th Congress (2015-2017), we show that Republicans from districts with high levels of racial resentment are more likely to issue press releases that attack President Barack Obama. In contrast, we find no evidence of racial resentment being positively associated with another prominent Democratic white elected official, Hillary Clinton. Our results suggest that one reason Congress may remain racially conservative even as representatives' cycle out of office may be attributed to the electoral process.

Publisher

SAGE

Publication Date

7-3-2019

Publication Title

Political Research Quarterly

Department

Politics

Additional Department

Comparative American Studies

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1177/1065912919857826

Keywords

American politics, Racial resentment, Legislative behavior

Language

English

Format

text

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