Ethnic Cleavages and Voting Patterns in Los Angeles
Immigration into the U.S. from countries in Latin and Asia is rapidly changing the ethnic and demographic composition of American cities. In Los Angeles alone, the Hispanic 1 population grew from 18 percent of the city's total population in 1970 to 28 percent in 1980. The Asian population, while smaller in total size, rose from 5 percent in 1970 to 7 percent in 1980. As the new wave of immigrants grows in size, much attention in both the academic community as well as the mass public is being devoted to their impact on the social and political composition of the communities in which they reside. In terms of political development, the new wave immigrants pose new questions for research on ethnic politics. Most salient of these are the following: what form of political empowerment will take place in these ethnic communities? How adequate is the political assimilation model posed by Robert Dahl (1961) or the political incorporation model posed by Browning, Tabb and Marshall (1984) in explaining the political behavior of these ethnic groups? Moreover, given that new wave immigration is highly concentrated in American cities where Black Americans have come to constitute both sizeable proportions of the population and political office holding , what impact will the growing presence of new immigrants have on Black political development? In order to address some of these concerns, this paper examines the political behavior of the Asian, Black, and Hispanic communities of Los Angeles in a comparative context. Attention is focused on the following issues: 1) the extent to which each group forms an ethnic voting bloc in the city 2) differences in comparative levels of local political involvement and the forces responsible, and 3) the potential for inter-ethnic coalition building among Asians, Blacks and Hispanics. Moreover, the work assesses the adequacy of the Dahl ethnic political assimilation model in explaining the political experiences of these new wave immigrants and discusses the nature and level of political incorporation developing within each group.
|Date of creation:||01 Jun 1988|
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