Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is a political scientist that got the political nerd bug in middle school student council. Today she hangs her hat at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and engages in political wonkiness on MSNBC, NBCNews.com, and Telemundo among others. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding the politics, policies and people that shape our fascinating yet frustrating political landscape. Her areas of expertise include immigration, Latinos, women, political psych, & elections.

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Recent Media

This piece originally appeared on NBCNews.com.

President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet is almost complete. And there’s no denying its diversity — that is of the billionaires and just plain multi-millionaires, as former Obama adviser David Axelrod pointed out.

The incoming Cabinet is set to be the least racially and ethnically diverse in close to three decades. And as far as Latinos — zero — not one has been named. To put things in perspective, Latinos constitute over 17 percent of the population. Multimillionaires and beyond constitute a fraction of 1 percent of the population.

Recently there’s been some half-hearted flirtation with former California Lt. Gov. Abe Maldonado and former Texas A&M President Elsa Murano for agriculture secretary but I’m not holding my breath.

Since 1988, a Latino has had a seat at one of the most powerful tables — the American presidential Cabinet. President Ronald Reagan was the first to appoint a Latino, Lauro Cavazos as secretary of education. In all, 12 Latinos have served in presidential Cabinets. With seven appointments, the Democrats edge out the GOP’s five appointments. The highest-ranking Latino in a Cabinet position, in terms of line of succession, was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who served in the George W. Bush administration. (more…)

This piece originally appeared on TPM.com

It was a surprise to no one that Mitt Romney received just 27 percent of the Latino vote in the 2012 election. The hallmark of Romney’s immigration solution was “self-deportation,” and Latinos were not too keen on that strategy.

Today Romney’s idea sounds downright quaint in comparison to Donald Trump’s proposed immigration reform. Under a Trump administration all undocumented persons would be deported, no exceptions. And Trump has not been shy about adding insult to policy injury. Most recently, a 2015 Latino version of the Willie Horton ad was released, portraying Latino immigrants as criminal dregs.

At the end of August Washington Post-ABC News poll found that more than 80 percent of Latinos have a negative view of Donald Trump. Trump has been anything if not consistent in his bashing of Mexican immigrants, and many of the other GOP candidates have fallen all over themselves trying to match him. So the 82 percent disapproval rate should be viewed as the ceiling—single-digit support for Trump or any other Republican candidate among Latinos will not be surprising.

But how did this happen? Not too long ago was the serious prospect of the GOP matching Democrats in Latino outreach. In the 2000 presidential election, the RNC outspent the DNC in Latino outreach by three to one and in 2004 Republican President George W. Bush received 44 percent of the Latino vote. (more…)