Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


The topic of race, redistricting, and minority representation in Congress has emerged as one of the most salient issues in contemporary political thought. The creation of so‑called majority minority districts has been attacked as unfair and racially polarizing by some observers and ultimately struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The study of race in relation to American politics and institutions, and, in particular, to the institution of Congress, has produced a wealth of research and literature in recent years. This scope of budding research ranges from legislative activity and Congressional voting to the electoral process and campaigning. This study examines the effects of race in Congressional elections and campaigning, and will be primarily focused on constituent relationships with members of the House of Representatives. Through this research, a better understanding of the differences in constituent relationships and engagement between African American House members and their Caucasian colleagues will be reached. Based on the current literature and prevailing scholarly attitudes, one could likely conclude that African American Congress members, on the whole, develop closer and more personal relationships with their constituents than do white representatives.