Nowhere to Run: Race, Gender and Immigration in American Elections provides an intersectional explanation for why women and racial minorities’ underrepresentation in elected office has proved so persistent. This includes the first simultaneous analysis of the relationship between racial group size and descriptive representation for African American, Asian American, Latina/o and White women and men, and a national study of the emergence of Latina/os and Asian American women and men as state legislative candidates.


The book draws on interviews and surveys with candidates, donors and other political elites from across the country, as well as original data on candidates and districts from every state legislative general election for nearly two decades. Using these new data, Nowhere to Run documents how overlapping and interactive constraints on electoral opportunities for candidates of color, particularly women of color, drive a descriptive disconnect between elected officials and a rapidly changing American population. 


The analysis demonstrates that many factors in elections that have long been treated as exclusively “racial” or “gendered” are, in fact, shaped by race and gender simultaneously. It reveals why majority minority districts are an important, but limited tool for expanding representation, particularly for women of color. These districts are vital opportunities, but are also relatively few in number and often encompass male-dominated networks that tend to push women to the margins. Additionally, by showing that ties to family, home and community both limit, and facilitate, the political leadership of women and men in different ways across racial groups, the book highlights the pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all approach to diversifying the candidate pipeline. 


As a first of its kind study of the roles that race and gender play in elections, and how they may be changing as immigrants become a larger part of the population,Nowhere to Runsheds new light on theways in which multiple dimensions of identity simultaneously shape pathways to candidacy and representation, forallgroups seeking a seat at the table in American politics.