Davin Phoenix

2016 Hellman Fellow


Assistant Professor, Political Science
UC Irvine

Project Title: Anger Issues: The Impact of Race on Emotional Responses to Politics, and Implications for Action

Brief summary of project:
The current election season makes vividly apparent the pivotal role of anger in mobilizing people to engage in electoral activity. But my research indicates Black Americans are less likely than White Americans to express anger toward Presidential candidates, even when expressing more dissatisfaction with those candidates and their economic policies. Further, this racial anger deficit has meaningful implications for political activity, as anger is positively correlated with actions such as voting. The Hellman funded project will build considerably on this prior work by exploring the manner in which the campaign cues of the current racially charged election season work to either bolster and depress levels of political activeness among Whites, Blacks and Latinos by engendering varying emotions across these three groups. Further, this project will examine how effectively (or ineffectively) anger translates to electoral and non-electoral forms of participation across these groups.

The United States is becoming home to a steadily diversifying electorate that is significantly polarized along racial lines. This research is critically important for advancing our understanding of how and why people across racial and ethnic groups generate distinct emotional responses to the candidates and messages in the electoral environment, as these responses lead to patterns of participation (and non-participation) that can be the determining factor in who wins elections and shapes the ensuing policy agenda. Such understanding can subsequently influence how campaigns frame their candidates and tailor their messaging to appeal to diverse constituencies, build broad-based coalitions, and effectively get out the vote among various racial/ethnic communities.

Link: http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=6085

“The Hellman Fellowship affords me an incredible opportunity to expand my research into how race and ethnicity shape individuals’ emotional responses to the electoral environment. I am excited to put the resources made available to me to good use during this crucial moment in American politics.”