Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto

About

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→

Research

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 piece first appeared on NBCnews.com

Super Tuesday is do or die, with over a quarter of pledged delegates at stake for each party. Iowa and New Hampshire may be the electoral contests that produce viable candidates, but Super Tuesday is the kingmaker (or queenmaker this year). But beyond the electoral bulk of March 1st the primaries will give us important indicators about Latino political preferences.

Latinos in Texas are in the spotlight, but the growing role of Hispanics in other Super Tuesday states give us a sense of how the Latino voice is shaping up for the 2016 presidential election and beyond.

Texas – the 800 pound gorilla

Come November Texas (at least for now) is irrelevant because it is such a deep red state. But the Lone Star state makes up for that irrelevance in its giant footprint on Super Tuesday. Texas has the most delegates up for grabs and it is the state with the largest Latino electorate on Super Tuesday. Texas has the second largest Latino population and nearly 30 percent of the state’s eligible voters are Hispanic. (more…)

This post originally appeared on MSNBC.com

The cowboy finishes off the last of the Pace Picante Salsa. He is handed  another brand of salsa and looks skeptical. His cowboy buddies crowd around to read the label and discover this “stuff’s made in New York City.” The cowboy replies: “New York City? Get a rope!”

Whether it’s salsa or gun legislation, there are some things Americans may not embrace from the Big Apple. Michael Bloomberg’s $12 million gun violence ad campaign is a case in point. Viewed from afar, Bloomberg’s effort is a generalized, impersonal swipe at the issue of gun control. At best it falls flat and at worst it has the potential to trigger a backlash.

It is imperative that we stem gun violence. We have seen gun violence in its most horrific forms—Tucson, Sandy Hook, Aurora. At the same time, gun violence continues to take a steady and slow toll in the form of crimes, domestic abuse, suicides, and accidents. We are in the midst of a public health and safety crisis, but throwing money at a problem doesn’t necessarily make it better. (more…)

Mitt:  it was a long hard slog but we did it, now comes the run to the middle.  You’ve got a lot of ground to make up after out-righting the right but no steeper will your climb be than with the Latino electorate.  Moving forward here’s our three-pronged Latino action plan – hold the line with the Cuban vote, throw in the towel with the Latino Democratic vote, and fire up the Republican and Republican leaning Mexican voters in the West as if you’re life depended on it because well, politically it does.

Operation Hold the Line – Cubans in Florida

You’ve already got the Cuban love, now just keeping stoking that fire of good feeling.  We mopped the floor with Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul in the January primary.   However, don’t loose sight of the fact that the Latino component of this win was highly concentrated among Cuban immigrants in Miami-Dade County.  Any hopes that we can get the Puerto Rican vote in the Central part of the state is pure Disney World fantasy.

So we don’t need to worry about revving up the older Cuban voters that fled the Castro regime—and yes, I won’t forget to send Ozzie that thank you note.  What does worry me is the American-born Cuban voters. I’m especially worried about all of those Cuban jovencitos that fell under Barack Obama’s spell in 2008.  We have a shot with them, but we can’t keep coming back to our Fidel line.  To keep them in the Republican fold and most importantly out to the polls we’ve got to relate to them on a policy level.  I’ll be working on that end, but in the meantime don’t let up on the Rubio flirtation!

Operation Throw in the Towel – Latino Democrats

You are not George W. Bush and I am not Karl Rove.  We’ve got to face the fact that we don’t have a well-developed strategy or history of courting crossover votes from Latino Democrats.  Our primary election strategy of cozying up to the Tea Party anti-immigrant blitz closed off any chance of gaining a second look from Latino Democrats.  And yes, even the very socially conservative ones.  Regrettably that darned issue of immigration has remained number one or two among Latino Democrats.  (more…)