Essay on Political Science Question

Published: 2021/12/02
Number of words: 2216


Minority groups often trump the majority factions in United States politics since most people focus on aggregate representation. The United States is a democratic country where the majority have their way. At the same time, the minority groups are often overruled by the masses since the tyranny of numbers is critical in a democracy. As a result, those who have power have a significant influence in the political and policy processes since they have the numbers to pass policies in their favor. Democracy focuses on popular sovereignty where the majority groups rule. However, a system in which the minorities prevail over majorities appears inconsistent with the democratic tenets (Bishin, 2009, p.4). Therefore, this essay focuses on how the minority groups lacking power get the policy they want in the face of majority opposition and institutional design that seems to thwart change and how the theory of the sub-constituency politics allows the marginalized to overcome hurdles that the constitution erects.

A background understanding of the challenges faced by the minority groups

The American political system has practices that have adversely affected people of color for a considerable period. Slavery and discrimination against the minority groups, such as the blacks, have been part and parcel of the American political system. Over the past few years, police brutality against people of color has escalated political debates in the United States and beyond. The recent murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police officers raised equality concerns for all American citizens (Azari and Bacon, 2020, p.1). As a result, Trump was accused of violating the democratic values that America is anchored on. After George Floyd’s murder by police officers, Trump was reluctant to embrace them; thus, showing his unwillingness to policies that seek to address the past and current discriminatory practices against African Americans. This was perceived as a bad practice since, as a leader, he was expected to reach out to the affected communities and find a mutual approach to addressing the grievances raised by the communities of color. Over the years, the Democratic and Republican presidents have adopted policies that have made life challenging for people of color.

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In the face of violation of individual rights, the constitution allows people to protest peacefully. There is a fundamental constitutional right to protest (Azari and Bacon, 2020, p.2). However, Trump did not acknowledge such constitutional provisions when the police used teargas to disperse peaceful protesters opposing the brutal murder of George Floyd in the hands of the Minneapolis police. Police and military institutions should be politically neutral to ensure they equally serve all the American people. Based on the American democratic values, it is difficult for the minorities to prevail in policies and affect government decision in their favor. As a result, the minority groups can use protests to make known their grievances and demand the government to initiate actions and policies that promote equality and respect for human rights.

Policy provisions are integral for people to get what they want and need from the government. The government should represent both the minority and the majority groups after an election to ensure that the interests, views, opinions, and demands of all the groups are considered to ensure that the government is inclusive. An American constitution is a critical tool that the minority groups lacking power can use to get the policy they want in the face of opposition by the majority groups and institutional design that is rigid to changes. One objective of the constitution was to prevent majority tyranny. Thus, separation of power is embraced in the constitution. Different government arms share power and check each other to ensure that none abuse its constitutional powers (Dr B’s YouTube Channel, 2021, 12:14). Power is asymmetric; hence, separate institutions sharing power make it difficult for the majority groups to make policies that adversely affect the well-being of the minority groups. This is because the U.S. constitution is the standard yardstick used by the representatives. Therefore, they cannot make laws contrary to the constitution.

Sub constituency politics

Sub-constituency politics is critical since it offers an in-depth explanation of why some politicians act contrary to their party positions. Some politicians spurn their political parties to gain sub-constituency benefits (Bishin, 2009, p.8). The common denominator in political campaigns is that shared experiences and common interests bind voters together. The core of sub-constituency politics is why and how politicians appeal to groups by explaining how a person’s socialization experiences inform the groups they affiliate to and identify with. It also focuses on how the political aspirants use individual social identities to facilitate beneficial political behavior. The theory values critical aspects, components, and actors that make the political process complete.

The group concept is usually used in politics to show organized interest. It comprises of individuals who interact, the products leading to shared values, attitudes, and beliefs. Individuals may have shared attitudes and opinions; however, it is only through physical interactions that an organization of political consequence can be formed (Bishin, 2009, p.20). Sub-constituency politics states that politicians overcome the challenge of lack of interest among the citizens by exploiting and acknowledging that people coalesce through shared interests, experiences, and outlooks. Most politicians achieve this by making appeals that activate identities resonating with these experiences and aligning the groups around such issues. This view of how representation works is anchored on the self-categorization theory of social identity. The theory holds that people categorize themselves based on their unique characteristics or as group members based on the circumstance and context of their interactions.

In most cases, groups comprise individuals who share activated social identities that bind them. Social identities are formed in response to an individual’s social environment and experience. As a result, group members hold a social identification and belong to the same category. Group identity makes people think, feel, behave, and define themselves based on group characteristics. In some cases, a group is formed when an issue that activates an identity among many people becomes evident (Bishin, 2009, p.21). Thus, the group concept has a broad scope beyond individual discretion. For example, the brutal murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police united African American communities to champion black lives matter (Azari and Bacon, 2020, pp.1-3). Social circumstances show particular occurrences that activate specific identities. Lack of individual control in group interactions increases commonalities and shared values, which can be exploited by external parties, such as candidates, to trigger a shared response.

Sub-constituency politics theory defines a group as constellating individuals in either organized way or not with shared social identity due to everyday experience that results in shared experiences leading to shared preferences. This definition shows that two people who have never met physically can be part of a similar group since the group spirit binds them due to shared experience, interest, and values (Bishin, 2009, p.21). For example, African Americans from Florida and Oregon can hold identical preferences on civil rights issues due to shared racism experiences embedded in the country’s history. Organized groups, such as the “Black Lives Matter” movement is an organized group championing the welfare of African Americans to ensure equality with the whites. For a considerable period, African Americans have lamented racism and discrimination against people of color. However, the situation has remained the same since some racial segregationist practices have been embraced up to the current era. The use of excessive force by the police on peaceful protesters has been an indicator of discriminatory practices against people of color. The brutal murder of George Floyd by two Minneapolis police officers demonstrated to the world the excessive use of force by the police on unarmed civilian (Azari and Bacon, 2020, pp.1-3). Therefore, the affected communities, such as African Americans, can unite to champion their rights and demand the government to respect the constitutional changes that termed discrimination based on race, sex, gender, age, or religion unconstitutional.

In most cases, group members are usually members of formal organizations pursuing a common course for the members’ interest. Again, groups are made of like-minded individuals with shared attitudes and experiences. The underlying consideration in a group’s existence is a shared identity (Bishin, 2009, p.21). On the contrary, not all shared views are politically useful since some veterans may share an experience on various issues, such as discrimination, police brutality, and unemployment. However, they have different political options to address the challenges they face. Recent studies have demonstrated that most veterans are latent; thus, the extent to which groups share views on topical issues remain an issue of debate.

The United States is a democratic country; thus, candidates must get the majority of the votes in the elections for them to be declared winners. Representative democracy is anchored on the regular election of leaders to represent their respective constituencies and jurisdictions. Group identity is integral since it can help marginalized communities overcome some constitutional hurdles. Most Cubans supported the repeal of the embargo (Bishin, 2009, p.26). The theory played an integral role in addressing pertinent issues affecting the group, such as remitting money to Cuba, initiating dialogue with Fidel Castro, and travelling ban.

Individual motivation in sub-constituency politics theory depends on multiple assumptions derived from psychological research. In most cases, people are more willing to participate in issues in which they are part. Secondly, voting behavior results from self-interests. The aspirants’ positions usually cement group identities; thus, they vote as a group for their candidates. Knowledgeable and well-educated citizens play a crucial role in keeping the leaders on their toes to address the needs of the people (Klein, 2014, pp.1-7). Therefore, candidates who can activate intense groups have a higher potential to be successful. The constitutional framework acknowledges voting as the only way of electing leaders; thus, the candidates must recognize the significance of appealing to specific population groups, such as women, to be elected. Elections are viewed as the confrontation between candidates to activate identities that benefit them over the others and not an attempt to educate voters to change their minds (Bishin, 2009, p.28). Sub-constituency politics theory require voters to be knowledgeable and have a detailed understanding of issues to ensure that candidates are responsible for their actions and behavior. As a result, voters cooperate with their candidates when responding to issues of significance while the aspirants frame the voting decisions based on identities that benefit them.

Most voters are not informed on the civic issues; thus, candidates appeal to groups based on shared experiences and attitudes. Most citizens have little understanding of the political issues and cannot explain ideologies that resonate with their candidates’ ideologies. Civic knowledge deficiency among the public can be costly for political aspirants since persuading the public to obtain their support can be costly and unproductive (Bishin, 2009, p.28). Voter apathy can escalate the cost since even some informed voters fail to show up during the voting day since only a small portion of the population acknowledge the relevance of politics in their lives. The issues of concern to the public include terrorism or stock market challenges that directly affect them.

Group affiliation is critical in politics since group members usually prefer candidates with whom they can identify. Thus, mobilization becomes easy. As a result, they become actively involved in the issues at hand. In most cases, voters are bound by symbolic issues and policies (Bishin, 2009, p.29). This is because groups usually form in response to issues that cut across them, such as experiences, attitudes, and outlooks. Groups are crucial resources to politicians since they can easily be activated compared to individuals.

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In most cases, groups are geographically concentrated; thus, they can quickly be mobilized to cement a candidate’s support in particular regions. For example, racial and ethnic minority groups are mostly concentrated in urban centers (Bishin, 2009, pp.28-29). Group geographical concentration can minimize the cost of appealing to the potential voters within the sub-constituency to enhance communication among group members on pertinent issues affecting them. Thus, candidates who take advantage of such networks have the upper hand in disseminating political information.


The United States is a democratic country embracing democratic ideals through popular votes in representative democracy. As a democratic country, it is ruled by the candidates who win a majority of the votes. Sub-constituency politics outlines how politicians and political candidates appeal to groups formed mainly through shared interest, attitudes, and experiences. The theory argues that politicians often appeal to minority preferences over those of the majority when the merits of championing the minority views supersede the expenses of alienating the less interested majority.

Work cited

Azari and Bacon. Trump’s use of teargas to break up a protest undermined three core values of American democracy, 2020, pp.1-3

Bishin. Tyranny of the minority; the sub-constituency politics theory of representation, 2009, pp.4-29

Dr B’s YouTube channel. The implication of federal institution sharing power., 2021, 12:14

Klein. How politics makes us stupid. Accessed through:, 2014, pp.1-7

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