The Urban Voter: Group Conflict and Mayoral Voting Behavior in
American Cities. By Karen M. Kaufmann. Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan Press, 2004. 248p. $60.00 cloth, $24.95 paper.
In her book, Karen M. Kaufmann persuasively argues that context
shapes the degree to which racial and ethnic factors structure voting
in mayoral elections. While this may sound obvious, what is not obvious
is determining which contextual factors matter and how they matter to
urban voters. Her answer, in part, provides an explanation for how two
quintessentially Democratic cities—Los Angeles and New York
City—elected (and reelected) Republican mayors during the 1990s,
a fact that alarmed local activists and intrigued both urban scholars
and political pundits alike.