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 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…)

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…)

This post originally appeared on NBCLatino.

It’s not fun being a Democrat in Texas.  Since 1998 every state level office has been held by a Republican and in 2010 the Republican majority in the legislature became a super majority.  The one consolation Texas Democrats have goes something like this, “we may be locked out for now, but just wait until the demographic growth of the Latino community translates into eligible voters then the tide will turn!”  Sadly for Lone-Star Democrats it seems that Republicans have also begun to read the demographic handwriting on the wall and through a softened approach to immigration seek to make Texas Democrats extinct.

Earlier this month at the Texas Republican convention a new immigration plank was approved, the Texas Solution.  This solution is not too surprising – more secure borders, penalties for employers who hire undocumented persons, opposition to sanctuary cities.  Within this plank is also the Tea Party favored ban on birthright citizenship.  The bulk of the Texas Solution is in line with the tenor of the larger Republican’s view on immigration.  However, a twist to this otherwise humdrum Republican immigration platform is the call for a guest worker program.  It’s not much, but relative to the hardline GOP stand to not do anything except further secure the border this is a big deal! (more…)