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Chapter 6 The Mile High Difference: Examining the Impact of Political and Institutional Context on the Electoral Strategies Pursued by Minority Mayors in Denver, and the Impacts of Those Strategies on Minority Communities

21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests

ISBN: 978-1-78190-184-7, eISBN: 978-1-78190-185-4

Publication date: 4 April 2013

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter offers a unique examination of the influence of a city’s electoral arrangements and political culture on the governing capacity of minority mayors. Highlighting the important roles played by institutional context in shaping the agendas and opportunities for minority mayors enriches the scholarly discussion of descriptive representation.Approach – I employ case study examinations of the three minority mayors elected from the city of Denver, Colorado, focusing prominently on current mayor Michael B. Hancock. I utilize archival data consisting of accounts from local newspaper stories, journal articles, and written recollections from the mayors themselves to evaluate how well three distinct electoral strategies—including a novel strategy, which I have termed as the issue agreement coalition model—aid mayors in advancing the interests of their shared race constituencies. I evaluate these strategies by assessing relevant policy outcomes and economic indicators.Findings – Observational comparisons lead me to conclude that across a variety of issue domains, the issue agreement coalition model provides minority mayors with the greatest capacity to advance their shared race constituencies’ interests, whereas the deracialization model provides the least.Value – This chapter is of value to students of urban politics, particularly those interested in descriptive representation. The novel electoral strategy introduced here provides scholars with a new paradigm allowing for richer evaluations of minority mayoral tenures. Additionally, the focus on the relationship between institutional context and mayoral governing capacity can aid scholars’ understanding of the unique opportunities and limitations facing minority mayors.

Citation

Phoenix, D.L. (2013), "Chapter 6 The Mile High Difference: Examining the Impact of Political and Institutional Context on the Electoral Strategies Pursued by Minority Mayors in Denver, and the Impacts of Those Strategies on Minority Communities", Perry, R.K. (Ed.) 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 111-132. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2013)0000018010

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited