Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto


Victoria is Assistant Dean at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and a contributor to MSNBC and Telemundo. Her areas of expertise in the domestic policy landscape include immigration, Latinos, women and childcare, and economic equity. more→


Victoria brings an interdisciplinary lens to understanding policy development and its intersection with institutional and political contexts. Underlying her academic work is the applicability of rigorous research to on-the-ground policy realities.

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

Recent Media

This post originally appeared on NBCNews.com

Marco Rubio has thrown his hat in the ring for the Senate race that just a couple of days ago he shunned. He enters the race a front-runner, but just barely. The obstacles that face him are not just numerous but messy.

The fact that Rubio has changed his mind and decided to run for the Senate instead of becoming a private citizen is not surprising. He is a political animal with the highest of political ambitions — his run for the presidency a case in point. And add to that a hard sell by Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and fellow GOP colleagues to stay on.

There’s no question as to the motivation for Rubio to seek out a second chance. The question is whether Florida voters are willing to give him a do-over. And in deciding that, here are a couple of questions Floridians will have to ask themselves:

Are we just a consolation prize?

Shortly after Rubio announced his decision to run U.S. Representative Patrick Murphy, the Democratic front-runner for the Florida Senate seat said, “Marco Rubio abandoned his constituents, and now he’s treating them like a consolation prize…”

It’s a harsh attack but one that Rubio is going to have take head on after being so adamant up until just recently that it was the presidency or bust.

Why is he going to be a different senator this time around?

It’s no secret that Rubio did not love the upper chamber. There are accounts ranging from anonymous sources that he “hated” the Senate to Rubio’s personal admittance of being frustrated with the Senate.

In other words, Rubio didn’t have a gung-ho attitude about going to work every day. And as Jeb Bush was quick to point out, Rubio didn’t have the best of work attendance records in the Senate; as NBC’s Frank Thorp reported, he topped the field in missed Senate votes.

Is his political judgment sound?

Why didn’t Rubio have the foresight to give himself the alternative to running for his Senate seat? Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but politics is a game of chess — you need to see a number of moves ahead of your current one.

Recently it looks like Rubio is in a state of constant political triage rather than a thoughtful course of action.

And speaking of bad judgment, in his recent presidential race why did he make the bad judgment call of going negative on Donald Trump? Rubio, who had been cultivating a brand of being positive ended up stooping to Trump’s schoolyard bully level only to change course again.

Consistency has not been Rubio’s strong suit as of late.

What’s up with the Donald?

There is no love lost between Rubio and Trump. So, how are the two going to run side by side in Florida? Pretty much any scenario is uncomfortable – Rubio doing a 180 and embracing Trump, Rubio turning his back on the top of his party’s ticket, Rubio trying to walk both sides of the street.

The United States is a nation of second chances. Rubio may just get a second chance and make his voters proud. But before that second chance happens he’s going to have to answer these questions to get him through a tough primary at the end of August and a tough general election.