This Independent Study explores the ways in which a candidate’s intersectional identity affects their use of gender and race issue ownership techniques in their political campaigns. While prior research has studied the campaign strategies of (white) female candidates and black (male) candidates, it has not studied the effects of possessing multiple minority identities on the campaign strategies employed by black female candidates. Scholars have found that female candidates benefit from embracing gender issue ownership in their campaigns, while black candidates benefit from rejecting race issue ownership in their campaigns. I theorize that black female candidates’ intersectional identities preclude them from highlighting one aspect of their identity and simultaneously downplaying another. Using a content analysis method, I analyze the 2018 campaign websites of black female, black male, and white female candidates running for the United States House of Representatives. Limited by a small sample size, I do not find statistically significant evidence to support my hypotheses. When looking at gender issue ownership, I do not find that black female candidates embrace gender issue ownership at higher rates than their black male or white female counterparts. However, in regard to race issue ownership, I find that while candidates of all identities do not embrace race issue ownership in their campaigns, black female candidates embrace race issue ownership at higher rates than white female candidates. This study has important implications both for the ways that we understand the theory of deracialization, and as it points to the importance of continuing to employ intersectional frameworks when studying campaign strategies.
Cotter, Mary ("Emma") M., "How Minority Candidates' Intersectional Identities Affect Their Use Of Race And Gender Issue Ownership Campaign Strategies" (2020). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9171.
deracialization, gender issue ownership, race issue ownership, intersectionality, campaign websites
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar
© Copyright 2020 Mary ("Emma") M. Cotter