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 post originally appeared on MHP’s blog.

From an early age, around the time we learned ourSchoolhouse Rock!, we were taught that our system of checks and balances is a pillar of American democracy. The different branches serve to check each other so that no one branch becomes too powerful and driven by a narrow set of interests.

The same goes for our party system. The value of having two or more parties—in our case, Republicans and Democrats—is that they can further check and balance democracy across and within branches. In theory, divided government is a good thing. In practice, our norm of divided government has become problematic because of its heavy dose of checking and scant amount of balancing.

Politics is about give and take. But compromise is the one thing that seems to be missing from politics today not only between branches, but in the case of Republicans even among partisans. Herein lies the problem: How can we expect the branches to compromise if the parties themselves cannot agree on how to proceed?

We tend to point the finger at our elected officials. And yes, they do deserve a fair share of the responsibility, or blame—depending on your point of view. However, as individual constituents we also need to share in the responsibility of the diminishing role of compromise. We can’t ask our elected officials to want to compromise when we as voters do not want to. We citizens are the ones who hire and fire our elected officials, so in large part our elected officials are responding to us. (more…)