Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

About

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→

Research

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.

AUSTIN – It’s official, the 2018 Texas Senate race is off and running. Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke has thrown his hat in the ring seeking not just to displace Senator Ted Cruz but to be the first Democrat elected to statewide office since 1994.

Texas is a red state through and through. The chances for O’Rourke, a third term congressman from El Paso and former punk rock musician, are not great. But it is certainly not a “suicide mission,” as Texas Senator Jon Cornyn described O’Rourke’s run.

There is a slim path to victory for O’Rourke. But here’s the thing, it does not rest on the traditional “demography is destiny” argument that claims the growing Latino population will carry a Democrat in Texas over the finish line.

The way Beto beats Ted is a piecemeal approach—shoring up Ted Cruz’s negatives, not touching the identity politics playbook, and going full throttle grass roots as Sanders did in 2016 and Ted Cruz did six years earlier. (more…)

This post originally appeared on NBCNews.com

CLEVELAND — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of only three Latinos in the Senate, failed Wednesday to bounce from his refusal to endorse Donald Trump at the convention, leaving many wondering if the Republican junior senator has put his 2018 political prospects in jeopardy.

His Tuesday night speech drew loud boos from Trump supporters as they realized he was not going to throw the backing behind the man who was scheduled to accept the GOP nomination for president Thursday night.

“I think this could make him vulnerable in Texas for his next senatorial election, who knows. A lot of people are talking,” said Artemio “Temo” Muniz, head of the Texas Federation for Hispanic Republicans. (more…)

This piece first appeared on NBCnews.com

The election of the first Latino president (or vice president) is as close as ever, yet he/she could likely hail from the Republican Party. This is an uncomfortable truth for Latinos and trains the spotlight on a big elefante in the room.

Republican Latinos are seen as traitors or vendidos (sellouts). However, the majority of non-Republican Latinos willfully ignore the ideological diversity of our community.

We often hear that Democratic Latinos outnumber Republicans by two to one. This figure is misleading because it includes “leaners.” Leaners are Independents who are asked what party they would lean toward. Taking out the “leaner” Latinos, most Latinos, 44 percent, self-identify as Independent. The aggregate figures that are usually cited hide the truly Independent nature of Latinos. This independence is seen in instances such as the 2004 election when Republican President George W. Bush received over 40 percent of the Latino vote.

There’s a reason Latinos are considered swing voters. They have demonstrated that if they identify with a candidate, regardless of their partisanship they will support them. (more…)