Do Popular Votes on Rights Create Animosity Toward Minorities?

Americans regularly make major decisions about minorities and minority rights via the purely majoritarian process of direct democracy. Conflict over the substance of these policies occasionally reaches the US Supreme Court, but effects of the process of direct democracy on perceptions of minorities receive little attention. My recent study of campaigns against same sex marriage (Minnesota Law Review), and research I’ve conducted with Caroline Tolbert published recently in Political Research Quarterly, highlight some concerns about the process. Campaigns against a minority right appear similar to campaigns against the minority itself, as campaigns target the minority as a threat to the majority. [cont.]

Todd Donovan (Western Washington U.), The Monkey Cage