Published: June 18, 2020

John D. Griffin and Brian Newman

Published: 2019, Presidential Studies Quarterly 49(2): 310-329.


Presidents face incentives to move toward the median voter as elections approach. We explore the racial consequences of these electoral incentives. As presidents move toward the center, they move away from ideologically noncentrist groups like the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). Comparing the president’s annual budget proposal to the CBC’s alternative budget from 1980 to 2012, we test whether Democrats’ (Republicans’) budgets are less (more) congruent with the CBC’s alternative budgets in election years. Typically, Democrats’ budgets are much more congruent than Republicans’ with the CBC’s budgets. However, in election years, Democrats’ budget proposals tend to move away from the CBC’s ideal such that Democrats’ budgets are no better aligned with the CBC than are Republicans’ budgets.

Click here to read more.