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Twists of Fate: Multiracial Coalitions and Minority Representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, Vanessa C. Tyson

Reviewed by Tony E. Carey Jr.



Amid shifts in the racial composition of the U.S. electorate, political scientists have devoted more attention to the prospects for interminority political coalitions. Vanessa C. Tyson's Twists of Fate highlights the conditions under which representatives of marginalized groups in the U.S. House of Representatives can influence the policymaking process. Tyson observes that members are often marginalized based on the racial and economic characteristics of their districts. Racial and class biases motivate microaggressive behaviors toward legislators from or representing marginalized groups and restricts their access to the resources and party status necessary to pursue their constituents’ substantive interests. Given these limitations, they increasingly rely upon multiracial alliances.

One compelling topic raised in the book concerns the potential for minority representation to move beyond majority-minority districts. Recent efforts in the state of Georgia to reduce the concentration of minorities in majority-minority districts were intended to increase the number of competitive or influence districts. Relying upon a quantitative analysis of House members’ votes on civil rights legislation, Tyson discovers little evidence that a heightened minority presence in influence districts translates into greater substantive representation of minor

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