The Limitations of the Deracialization Concept in the 2001 Los Angeles Mayoral Election

By Austin, Sharon D. Wright; Middleton, Richard T., IV | Political Research Quarterly, June 2004 | Go to article overview

The Limitations of the Deracialization Concept in the 2001 Los Angeles Mayoral Election


Austin, Sharon D. Wright, Middleton, Richard T., IV, Political Research Quarterly


In June 2001, Mexican American candidate Antonio Villaraigosa and white candidate James Hahn competed in the Los Angeles mayoral runoff election. Both were liberal Democrats seeking office in a political climate characterized by nonpartisan mayoral elections, a majority Latino population, and a long history of successful deracialized campaigns and biracial coalition politics. From 1973 to 1993, former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley utilized deracialized campaigns to develop a coalition of liberal white, African American, Latino, and Jewish voters. In June 2001, however, the coalitions supporting white candidate Hahn and Latino candidate Villaraigosa differed from the Bradley coalition. Whereas African Americans, moderate whites, and conservative whites preferred Hahn, the majority of Latinos and liberal Democrats voted for Villaraigosa. A Villaraigosa victory would have symbolized the evolving political power of Latinos both locally and nationally. In addition, Villaraigosa's mayoralty would have resulted in an electoral and governing coalition dominated by while liberals and Latinos in Los Angeles. Although he won the plurality of votes in the primary, Villaraigosa lost the runoff after the Hahn campaign used racially-offensive ads to attack his integrity and character. We attempt to provide explanations for the loss of a Latino candidate to a white candidate who "played the race card" and the possible implications for the theory of deracialization. First, we examine the question, Why was Antonio Villaraigosa's deracialized campaign unsuccessful? The concept of deracialization was developed to describe one useful method for developing citywide biracial and multiracial electoral coalitions. Candidates "deracialize" their campaigns by de-emphasizing racially-divisive issues in an attempt to garner crossover support from voters of other races while also receiving the lion's share of support from voters of the candidate's racial group. We hypothesize that Villaraigosa lost the runoff because he received a small percentage (less than 20 percent) of the black vote and failed to mobilize a turnout of 50 percent or more of the Latino voting-age population. We conclude with a discussion of the possible implications of Villaraigosa's loss about the future usefulness of deracialized mayoral campaigns in racially-mixed cities.

In june 2001, Mexican American candidate Antonio ViIlaraigosa and white candidate James Hahn competed in the Los Angeles mayoral runoff election. Both were liberal Democrats seeking office in a political climate characterized by nonpartisan mayoral elections, a majority Latino population, and a long history of successful deracialized campaigns and biracial coalition politics. From 1973 until 1993, former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley utilized deracialized campaigns to develop a coalition of liberal white, African American, Latino, and Jewish voters. In june 2001, however, the coalitions supporting white candidate Hahn and Latino candidate Villaraigosa differed from the Bradley coalition. Whereas African Americans, moderate whites, and conservative whites preferred Hahn, the majority of Latinos and liberal Democrats voted for Villaraigosa.

If he had won the runoff, Antonio Villaraigosa would have become the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles since Cristobal Aguilar in 1872 and one of the most powerful mayors in the nation. The city's charter had been changed from a weak mayor to a strong mayor- weak City Council system. Because of the increased amount of power possessed by the city mayor after this change, a Villaraigosa victory would have symbolized the evolving political power of Latinos both locally and nationally. In addition, Villaraigosa's mayoralty would have resulted in an electoral and governing coalition dominated by white liberals and Latinos in Los Angeles. Although he won the plurality of votes in the primary, Villaraigosa lost the runoff after the Hahn campaign used racially offensive ads to attack his integrity and character. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Limitations of the Deracialization Concept in the 2001 Los Angeles Mayoral Election
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.