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Gender and Race in American Elections: From the Pathos of Prediction to the Power of Possibility1

Sociological Forum

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["\nI provide first an overview of the predictions of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the public penance paid by political oracles in the wake of the results. Next, I reflect on the social science emphasis on forecasting “who” will win and by “how much.” Third, I argue that our collective emphasis on prediction and realpolitik may obscure, if not stop, our ability to both understand how and why outcomes occur (by illuminating causal mechanisms at play) as well as how to imagine and form social worlds different than our current social relations (by alleviating or eliminating destructive leadership, policies, and rhetoric). Fourth, I call attention to some important gender and racial dynamics—all with the aim of better understanding how modern politics work in order to identify and pursue equitable movements, policies, and laws, rather than to simply (and problematically) make pre‐election seasons into carnivalesque fortune‐telling distractions. I conclude with recommendations on social science at the nexus of gender, race, and politics.\n", "Sociological Forum, Volume 35, Issue S1, Page 877-897, September 2020. "]