How who is in what housing dictates who is in the House: understanding class and housing in relation to campaigns and political access
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There is much existent literature within the field of political science documenting the under-representation and under-inclusion of lower-income people in political processes. This includes disproportionate deficits of lower-income people as voters, candidates, and as office-holders. Discourse within this literature tends to focus on these gaps in particular, examining class-related factors that may cause these voters to miss elections, the cost-barriers of campaigning as a candidate, and that these communities are isolated from political elites and thus lack political ‘ins’ that would get them selected as candidates by parties in the first place, for example. However, there is a deficit of literature examining to what degree lower-income people are able to be engaged through standard campaigning processes, particularly through door-to-door canvassing, as well as the ‘harder’ aspects of this equation, such as logistical barriers potentially posed by one’s housing environment. This project seeks to build on previous discourse and to provide insight in response to this deficit in literature through examining barriers to the interactions between lower-income people, particularly those living in large-scale public housing, and campaigns. In order to accomplish this, this project incorporates literature reviews of both academic and non-academic discourse, in order to gain a broader understanding of these issues; interviews with those involved in political processes; and the examination of lower-income public housing communities, particularly through a case study of the New York City public housing system (NYCHA). Ultimately, this project affirms that public housing residence serves as a notable barrier to campaign interaction opportunities for certain lower-income populations. Finally, based on these findings, the project offers recommendations to relevant parties, including campaigns and community organizers.