This study attempted to highlight the effects of nationalist rhetoric on ethnic representation in national government through experimental design. In particular, the effect of nationalist rhetoric was hypothesized to be dependent on three things: the inclusive/exclusive nature of the rhetoric, the political elite who is saying the nationalist rhetoric, and whether the people engaging with the nationalist rhetoric had an affinity for the national identity. Ultimately, this study found exclusive rhetoric by well perceived elites engaged by people with an affinity for the national identity was effective in impacting decisions which lead to worse ethnic representation. In addition to the overarching result, however, certain demographic indicators, such as party and ideology, were also found to influence the effects of nationalist rhetoric in their own unique ways. For example, participants who identified as Democrats were influenced by exclusive nationalist rhetoric and inclusive nationalist rhetoric by elites they liked without having an affinity for the national identity. All together, the results demonstrate nationalist rhetoric likely impacts ethnic representation in the descriptive sense and further research should be pursued to better understand its effects.


Krain, Matthew


Political Science


Representation, Rhetoric, Nationalism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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