Lafleur Stephens-Dougan’s Race to the Bottom: How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics illuminates how the use of racial stereotyping benefits not only White conservatives attempting to solidify their base but also Black and White liberals who want to demonstrate they are not beholden to Black voters. While much of the literature has focused on the Republican Party’s use of negative racial stereotypes to garner White votes, Race to the Bottom demonstrates how these negative stereotypes benefit others. Using case studies examining the nation’s first Black president and several other notable Black candidates, along with a series of survey experiments, Race to the Bottom demonstrates that Black candidates benefit from disparaging Blacks. Relying on the theory of racial distancing, the book highlights how candidates’ use of images and rhetorical strategies signal to Whites that they will...

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