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

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 The Nation blog.

Last night Romney won an outright majority of the delegates, but Santorum decisively emerged as the moral and ideological leader of Republican primary voters. Super Tuesday’s outcome demonstrates that there is an internal tug of war between what Republicans know they should do—vote for Romney—and what they want to do—vote for Santorum.

While we may like to think of ourselves as rational decision makers, we are not—Republicans and Democrats alike. Our hearts weigh heavily into our decision-making tasks, especially politics. This is what is occurring among GOP primary voters. Rationally and strategically, Republicans know that Romney is the better candidate to challenge President Obama. More specifically, Republican primary voters indicate that the economy is the most important issue and the best preparation for being president is a background in business. And when it comes to social issues, Romney and Santorum are indistinguishable in their opposition to gay marriage, abortion and contraception provision through insurance packages. Putting all of this into the equation, it would seem Romney is the hands-down choice.

However, Romney’s stand on these issues and his professional experience are being eclipsed by more emotionally laden social and cultural rhetoric. Here is where Santorum has the advantage. Emotions are responses to things that we feel passionate about. More intense emotions such as fear and anger have a greater effect on us and in turn on our behavior. And Santorum has the edge when it comes to stirring up fear and anger, ranging from his “man on dog sex” comments to saying the separation of church and state “makes him want to vomit.” (more…)

This post originally appeared on The Nation blog.

A father recounts the story of how his fourteen year-old daughter disappeared in New York City for three days. He then describes how his business partner closed the company and brought almost all of the employees to New York to set up a command center and search through the night. The father chokes up when he remembers how his business partner said, “I don’t care how long it takes we’re going to find her.” The girl was found and the 30-second ad spot concludes with the father stating that the man who saved his daughter was Mitt Romney.

The missing girl ad is a remarkable ad, not because of the story but because of the shift in strategy by the Romney campaign. Stories that pull at the heartstrings are commonplace in political ad narratives. However, the positive and personal tone of the ad is exceptional in relation to the consistently negative and depersonalized tone Romney has struck thus far.