US electoral campaign: national minorities’ preferences

The struggle for prisoner’s voting rights is strengthening

In recent years, issues of racial and ethnic population makeup have begun to play an increasing role in the study of electoral processes in the United States. Classically defined affiliation to the figurative conservative and liberal representatives of society has started intermixing and losing thereof former meaning. Shortly before the congressional midterm elections, which are to be held in November this year, the role of the racial factor deserves special attention.

Analysing this topic, one cannot neglect the role of the prisoners in the formation of the USA electoral map. The fact is that in the USA the voting right of a convicted citizen is determined by the territorial laws of the states. As a result, only in two states prisoners have the voting right (Maine and Vermont), while in 15, including the District of Columbia, their rights are restored immediately upon discharge. At the same time, in 21 states, former prisoners are allowed to vote after a certain time, and in 13 there is a lifetime ban (as a matter of fact, for certain crimes only).

In the current situation, one should expect an increase of the political confrontation between Republicans and Democrats on the matter of providing prisoners with voting rights. After all, almost half of all convicts are African Americans who vote mainly for Democrats, and the race for granting them the voting right will be one of the main tasks for Democrats in case of victory in the midterm elections to the assembly of such important Swing States, as, for example, Florida. At that, some American researchers recommend the current presidential administration to favour maintaining the existing requirements of the States to convicts, substantiate it by the fact that it is extremely difficult for former and serving prisoners even to integrate back into society, not to mention the fact that most of them eventually re-commit a crime and return to prison.

At the same time, an important aspect of the turbulent political climate in the United States today is the strengthening, though not significant, of the positions of the Republican Party represented by D. Trump, among African Americans and American Chinese people. A significant part of Black Americans support Trump's ironfisted methods of limiting migration to the country. But they will not be as willing and open in their views as traditional white supporters of the USA President.

For most Black Americans, the complete expulsion of illegal immigrants and ordinary migrants from the country is important, as they often squeeze the former out of the labour market, because they do not need much pay. African American entrepreneurs cannot compete for government contracts because large companies hire specialists from India who arrive on a non-immigrant H-1B visa, because the salary threshold for them is 60,000 dollars a year, while the Black American would have to be paid a minimum twice as much. All this greatly influences the increase in the number of supporters of the actions of the current president and the party he represents.

In this regard, it will be extremely difficult to predict as accurately as possible the electoral preferences of ethnic and national minorities on the eve of the congressional midterm elections. Nevertheless, the experience of the last presidential election shows that one can expect the strengthening of the positions of Republicans in the so-called Swing States represented by African Americans. At the same time, the positions of Democrats are growing strong among the Latin Americans, who defend their being granted with significant financial preferences in response to the fact of their presence in the USA, which the Trump administration is trying to stop in every way.

Congress USA elections