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Jane Junn, Associate Professor in the Political Science Department and the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University,
Kerry L. Haynie, Associate Department Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science, Duke University
With significant waves of new immigration to the United States, overwhelmingly from Asia and Latin America, the electoral significance of minority voters is becoming increasingly apparent. As the studies in this volume make clear, how increases in the racial and ethnic diversity of the voting public will influence political representation, policy outcomes, and democratic politics, more generally, remains to be seen. For example, despite the growing size of minority groups in the United States, political representation by minority officials lags far behind their numbers in the population. The 109th Congress, elected in 2004, is a specific case in point. This Congress is the most racially diverse Congress in the history of the United States. That year, voters sent a record number of minority Americans to both the United States House and Senate. The 109th House of Representatives included forty-two African Americans, twenty-four Latinos, five Asian Americans, and one American Indian, whereas the 109th Senate had one African American, two Asian Americans, and two Latinos. Nevertheless, the Senate and the House were 95 percent and 83 percent white, respectively. At the same time, nearly one-third of the U.S. population considered itself to be a race other than white. One of the most intriguing questions for the new race politics of the United States in the twenty-first century is whether those proportions will change as a function of changing patterns in minority and immigrant voting.
Foreign migration to the United States is dramatically altering the demographic profile of the American electorate. Nearly a third of all Americans are of non-white and non-European descent. Latinos and Hispanics have recently eclipsed African Americans as the largest minority group in the United States. Between 1990 and 2000, Asians doubled the size of their population to more than 4 percent of Americans. Though immigration has altered the racial and ethnic composition of every state in the nation, surprisingly little is known about the consequences of this new heterogeneity for American politics. This book explores the impact and political consequences of immigration. After considering the organizations that mobilize new citizens to politics, the authors examine the political psychology of group consciousness for political mobilization. Finally, they consider the emerging patterns and choices of new voters.