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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Shafer, Byron / Disalvo, Daniel

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Mobilizing Marginalized Groups among Party Elites

1 / Michael T. Heaney2 / Dara Z. Strolovitch3

1University of Denver, Department of Political Science, 2000 E. Asbury Ave., Denver, CO 80208, USA

2University of Michigan, Departments of Organizational Studies and Political Science, 722 Dennison, 500 Church St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

3Princeton University, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Department of Politics, Dickinson Hall, Room 113, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA

Corresponding author: Seth E. Masket, University of Denver, Department of Political Science, 2000 E. Asbury Ave., Denver, CO 80208, USA, e-mail:

Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 257–280, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: 10.1515/for-2014-5007, August 2014

Publication History

Published Online:
2014-08-08

Abstract

The Democratic Party has long used a system of caucuses and councils to reach out to marginalized groups among convention delegates. This article tests two hypotheses about how this system works within the party. First, the Parties in Service to Candidates Hypothesis holds that caucuses and councils mobilize elites from marginalized groups to increase support for the party nominee. Second, the Group Solidarity Hypothesis holds that caucuses and councils mobilize elites from marginalized groups to enhance group solidarity. Regression analysis of data drawn from an original survey of delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Convention provides no support to the Service Hypothesis, while the evidence supports the Solidarity Hypothesis in the case of the Women’s Caucus, which became a rallying point for women who were disappointed that Hillary Clinton was not the Democratic Party nominee. A similar survey of delegates to the 2008 Republican National Convention did not uncover a parallel system of representing marginalized groups within the Republican Party.

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