Candidate Advertisements and Afro-Brazilian Political Marginalization
Latin American Research Review, Forthcoming
55 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2020 Last revised: 5 Mar 2021
Date Written: August 1, 2018
Television is an important political tool in Latin America. In recognition of its ability to shape public opinion and influence political behavior, Brazilian electoral authorities provide political parties free television airtime in the weeks preceding elections. While Brazil’s publicly financed electoral program levels the playing field between parties, it may contribute to intraparty resources disparities. We contend that racial considerations influence how party elites distribute television airtime and therein contribute to the political marginalization of Afro-Brazilians. Using original data from Rio de Janeiro’s 2012 municipal elections, we show party officials provide Afro-Brazilian candidates significantly less airtime than their white counterparts, even after controlling for theoretically important non-racial candidate characteristics. Moreover, we find racial differences in how candidates use the airtime they are awarded. Afro-Brazilian candidates are nearly ten times more likely than whites to focus on racial issues in their campaign ads. These results provide new insight about why Afro-Brazilians are rarely elected to public office and, if elected, the types of issues they may address.
Keywords: Campaigns, Elections, Resources, Advertising, Brazil, Race, Political Parties
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