Participating in the Political Process/percentages


QUESTION: When a political candidate wins any office, the news is always reporting on the percentages. For example,Hillary wine "x" percentage of the black vote in South Carolina or Donald Trump got x percent of the Latino vote. Does it really make that much difference? The point is to win overall.

ANSWER: You are right--but people in politics want to know which demographic groups they should try to turn out, and where they need to strengthen their appeals. In the case of the SC primary, people wanted to see who could turn out black voters, as Democrats need a high black turnout to win in November.

Hope this helps!


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QUESTION: I don't understand why they need or even THINK they need black votes? I just don't understand why they just don't want votes? Why does it matter to them what color the vote is? Why does it matter?

Well, black votes ARE votes. So of course you want them, if you think you can get them. One could turn your question around and ask why any politician would want to give up a big bloc of votes.

To win an election, a candidate has to put together a coalition of votes that adds up to a majority, and different groups want different things. For example, rich people want to eliminate the capital gains tax, but people who are not rich generally want to keep it. So a candidate tries to come up with an appeal that will unite a majority coalition, without losing too many votes by taking positions a particular group does not like.

Participating in the Political Process

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John C. Berg


How to run for office and win, how to lobby, how to promote your political cause effectively, how to get involved in electoral and issue campaigns, how to get a job in politics.


I have been a professor of political science since 1974, and direct a graduate program in professional politics. I have worked on many campaigns in various capacities.

American Association of Political Consultants, American Political Science Association, Caucus for a New Political Science, National Society for Experiential Education, International Political Science Association.

Polity, New Political Science, Policy Studies Journal. Author of Unequal Struggle: Class, Gender, Race, and Power in the US Congress.

PhD, Harvard University, 1975
MA, Harvard University, 1973
BA with Honors, University of Wisconsin, 1964

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