Polarized Voting and the Political Process: The Transformation of Voting Rights Jurisprudence

This article attempts to provide an analytic framework for the evolved voting rights law as it confronts the persistent effects of racial factionalism in the electoral arena. Insight into the corrosiveness of racially polarized voting and its frustration of minority electoral opportunity has organized and guided the new voting rights jurisprudence. This article will argue that the combination of process distortions from majority domination of electoral outcomes and substantive deprivation from minority exclusion defines this area of law and protects it against challenge from currently fashionable academic currents. The central insights gathered from the focus on polarized voting, I will argue, insulate voting rights law from the neoconservative charge that the Act is but a poorly veiled form of affirmative action and from the public-choice claim that solicitude for minority actors in the political marketplace is fundamentally misconceived.