What has been the political impact of affirmative action?

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Background:

  • Presidents Johnson & Nixon oversaw affirmative action's introduction (starting in 1963)
  • Initially there was bipartisan support for affirmative action but this resulted in party polarisation in the 1970s.

What do the parties think about affirmative action?

  • Ever since the 70s, the Republican party has been hostile to affirmative action and has tried to undermine it (particularly the Reagan administration). In contrast, the Democratic party has been sympathetic to affirmative action ever since the Johnson presidency (1963-69).
  • Affirmative action is just as divisive for voters, too. The Democrats' stance towards affirmative action has led to a loss of white working class voters.

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