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

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…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

As a Latina from the Southwest I feel proud to see Governor Susana Martinez at the helm of New Mexico and as a potential Republican vice presidential pick.  I respect her hard work and know the obstacles she has faced as a woman of color.  I applaud Governor Martinez, but I wouldn’t vote for her.  She may be a woman and a Latina, but I don’t agree with her policy positions.  And it’s this policy discrepancy that will ultimately keep ladies—Latinas and non-Latinas alike—from supporting a Romney-Martinez ticket.

Women consistently support Democratic candidates over Republican candidates, regardless of the gender of the candidates.  Since 1980, there has been a discernible gender gap in how men and women vote.  For example, in the 2008 presidential election women favored the all male Obama-Biden ticket by seven percentage points over the McCain-Palin ticket.   Even in 2010 when a record number of Republican women, ran and were elected to office the gender gap remained; women continued to be less likely to support Republican candidates.

Susana Martinez was one of the GOP women swept into office in 2010.   She had the curious circumstance of running against a Democratic woman so the possibility of attracting votes based on gender alone was not an issue in this race.  We don’t know exactly what the general voter breakdown was based on gender since there were no exit polls.  However, we do know from the Latino Decisions Election Eve poll that only 30 percent of Latinas voted for Martinez while the rest voted for her Democratic challenger.  In other words, the gender “gap” was more of a gulf in 2010 among New Mexican Latinas and very likely among non-Latina women. (more…)