Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections : Trailblazing Candidates in Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral Campaigns book cover
1st Edition

Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections
Trailblazing Candidates in Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral Campaigns

Edited By

Evelyn M. Simien

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 15, 2022
ISBN 9781032101521
April 15, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
152 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections:Trailblazing Candidates in Gubernatorial, Congressional, and Mayoral Campaigns examines barrier-breaking figures across various types of elective offices and constituent groups. The moment in which historic firsts enter the electoral arena, and the unique campaigns that ensue, are shown to be symbolically empowering. These change agents on the campaign trail become lighting rods for more liberal policies, and their candidacies are tied to questions of representation, electability, and performance. The distinctive combinations of race, ethnicity, and gender identities represented here translate into voter excitement to go to the polls and participate in other ways. Original chapters by respected scholars and practitioners consider how recent breakthrough elections are similar to yet different from past elections for gubernatorial, congressional, and mayoral offices. The shadow of Donald Trump’s wildly unconventional U.S. presidency looms over this groundbreaking analysis, linking local to national level politics. For students of politics across the curriculum, this book expands the theoretical capacity of intersectionality research and links it to voter mobilization and electoral success.

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections: An Introduction

        Evelyn M Simien

    2. Andrew Gillum’s Quest to Become Florida’s First Black Governor

    Sharon Wright Austin

    3. Ilhan Omar: Breaking Barriers for Muslim, Somali American, and Immigrant Women

        Stefanie Chambers and Laurel Elder

    4. Ayanna Pressley: Change Can’t Wait

        Lauren E. Jones and Evelyn M. Simien

    5. Rashida Tlaib: A Symbol and Champion for Detroit

        Michael Minta

    6. Mayor London Breed and the Limits of Governing while Black and Female in San Francisco

    Chelsea Jones, Crystal Robertson, and Lorrie Frasure

    7. Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections: A Conclusion

    Evelyn M Simien

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Evelyn M. Simien is Professor of Political Science, and Director of the master’s degree in Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics (IREP) at the University of Connecticut. Her first book, Black Feminist Voices in Politics (SUNY Press, 2006), examined black feminist consciousness and its effect on political behavior using national survey data. Her second book, Gender and Lynching: The Politics of Memory (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2011), focused on African American women who suffered racial-sexual violence at the hands of lynch mobs in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Her third book, Historic Firsts: How Symbolic Empowerment Changes U.S. Politics (Oxford University Press, 2015), considered whether candidates like Shirley Chisholm in 1972 and Jesse Jackson in 1984 as well as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008 mobilize voters through emotional appeals while combating stereotypes and providing more inclusive representation. She teaches undergraduate and graduate classes—for example, African American Politics, Black Feminist Theory and Politics, Black Leadership and Civil Rights, as well as Race, Gender, and Ethnic Politics.


Praise for Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections

"Historic Firsts in U.S. Elections deepens our understanding of the social, psychological, and racial context surrounding the election of minority candidates. It is a must-read for those interested in American electoral politics."

Jas M. Sullivan, Louisiana State University

"Truly pathbreaking candidates do not come along often. When they do, we need to understand how they campaign, mobilize support, and, if elected, do their work as representatives. This volume does that important work and should be read by scholars and politicians alike."

John M. Sides, Vanderbilt University

"This important and intersectional text moves beyond the Historic Firsts of Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to offer superb analysis of gubernatorial, congressional and mayoral historic firsts. The authors brilliantly demonstrate the limits as well as achievements of descriptive and substantive representation for historic candidacies across race, ethnicity, and gender. Simien’s influential theory of symbolic empowerment undergirds this volume which helps to frame how scholars and practitioners should consider both multiracial and multiethnic constituencies in American behavioral studies. This is an essential text for anyone who seeks to better understand electoral outcomes via an intersectional lens."

Nadia E. Brown, Georgetown University