The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Congressional Black Caucus showing some leg on CAFTA

Another sign that the caste element in US politics is weakening a little: first, there was the loan-sharking bill HR 1295 that garnered five CBC cosponsors (May 10).

Now it's reported that CBC members are to be lobbied to support CAFTA.

And David Sirota raises the possibility of a link between this lobbying effort and complaints from the SEIU about CBC ties with Wal-Mart.

The Wal-Mart PAC, it seems, is injecting some diversity in the range of pols it is funding - in more ways than one.

A good reason why the CBC might cease to be a coelacanth of Tammany-style regularity is that its increase in numbers (following the 1990s racial gerrymanders) means that the range of its constituents' interests have broadened, and are closer to the range of interests of Democratic Congressman as a whole [1].

Whether Nancy Pelosi counts this as progress, I'm disposed to doubt.

[The story featured on Rachel Maddow's show this morning. It's the only show on Air America that I've heard with a manageable bloviation/information ratio - well worth picking up the MP3s.]

  1. The increase in diversity of interest is merely my hypothesis. Verification is required:

    One might, for example, compare the difference in average per capita personal incomes between CBC and non-CBC districts going or staying Democratic in 1990 and 2004: a narrowing of the difference (in constant dollars) would suggest that, on the average, the behaviour of CBC members should more closely resemble that of their non-CBC colleagues.

    To see whether an ideological shift had in fact occurred, one might compare over time the DW-NOMINATE scores of members and non-members. And other, rather more sophisticated, things as well, no doubt.

    This sort of change takes a long time - the elimination of the (more or less) Solid South following the Dems' 1964 decision to dump their white Southern constituency took four decades. And I doubt whether blacks will be representing rich white districts in numbers any time soon.

    It's the fact that there is any movement at all that is remarkable.

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