In This Article Latino Republicans

  • Introduction
  • Reference Works and Textbooks
  • Latino Identity and Republicans
  • Partisanship
  • Diversity in Latino Partisanship
  • Alignment, Realignment, and Issues
  • Social Issues and Religion
  • Immigration
  • Political Representation
  • Latino Courtship
  • Political Communication
  • Voting
  • Cubans
  • Prominent Republican Latinos
  • Moving Forward

Latino Studies Latino Republicans
by
Angel Saavedra Cisneros
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 September 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0131

Introduction

Two quotes exemplify the broad differences of opinion that exist around Latinos. The first is “Latinos are Republican, they just don’t know it yet,” attributed to Lionel Sosa when speaking to Ronald Reagan. The second comes from former Senate Democrat Harry Reid, who in 2010 said: “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK. Do I need to say more?” This bibliography provides the reader with evidence to show that neither of these statements is representative of the Latino reality. The study of Latino politics revolves around understanding a group of ethnically diverse yet connected individuals with different cultural and political histories in the United States. In an increasingly polarized world, it is easy to find evidence that supports preexisting views on how a group of people fits into one or another political party. This bibliography seeks to present the existing research on Latino Republicans, the group’s relationship to the party, and the forces that shape Latino Republicanism. It does not purport to be exhaustive but rather highlights the existing gaps in understanding the forces that push Latinos to, and away from, the Republican Party. As many topics covered in existing Oxford bibliographies on Latinos, Latino Republicanism is a topic that has received much attention from pundits, commentators, and the media, but not as much from academics. While a large segment of American Latinos identifies as Republican, many of those have traditionally been of Cuban background and based in Florida. Other small populations can trace their affiliation to binational relations between specific American administrations and their country of origin, yet there is a lack of systematic and large-sample studies on such affiliations. The symbolic role of candidates and politicians in courting would-be voters and followers is central to the study of Latinos and the Republican Party. Examples of prominent Republican politicians abound but it is unclear that there is a systematic trend toward identification among those Latinos except for the acknowledgement that Cubans are more likely to be Republican than are members of any other Latino group.

Reference Works and Textbooks

Latino politics as a field of scientific inquiry has seen a resurgence in the past decades. Several textbook-like books have been published that touch on issues of parties, partisanship, and the relationship that Latinos have with the Republican (and by extension Democratic) Party. John Garcia’s Latino Politics in America: Community, Culture, and Interests stands out as one that brings together many aspects of Latino politics that help explain the relationship to political parties; the third edition of this seminal work on Latino political behavior was published in 2016. Some texts, such as Bowler and Segura 2012, place Latinos within the discussion of minority politics in America. This provides baseline comparisons to understand the relationships that Latinos have to the parties while keeping the demographic context in mind. The most comprehensive dataset on Latinos (the 2006 Latino National Survey) is the basis for several books by Luis Fraga and his colleagues; Fraga, et al. 2010 relies on the in-depth interviews and focus groups, while in Fraga, et al. 2012 the same researchers published an “almanac” using the quantitative data. They find that naturalized immigrants are over twice as likely to identify as Republican (from 12 percent to 28 percent). Abrajano and Alvarez 2012 and Barreto and Segura 2014 aim to explore Latino politics in particular and focus on challenging misconceptions (“conventional wisdoms”) with empirical evidence. García Bedolla 2014 takes the unique approach of organizing its chapters around the diverse backgrounds found among Latinos in the United States. It traces each major group’s history and policy areas of interest while providing a framework for future scholarly work.

  • Abrajano, Marisa A., and R. Michael Alvarez. New Faces, New Voices: The Hispanic Electorate in America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012.

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    Challenges misconceptions about Latino politics. The book is structured around “conventional wisdoms” that the authors check. In particular, chapter 2 talks about partisanship. One trend in partisanship that is highlighted is that “as Hispanics’ economic status increases, the second and third generations are more likely to become Republicans than are 1st generation Hispanics” (p. 127).

  • Barreto, Matt, and Gary M. Segura. Latino America: How America’s Most Dynamic Population Is Poised to Transform the Politics of the Nation. New York: Public Affairs, 2014.

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    The authors provide a broad overview of Latino politics during the Obama years. In chapter 3, they tackle the idea that “Hispanics are Republican, they just don’t know it yet.” The evidence shows no support for “Latinos as Republican” and shows that Latinos lean Democratic and share many aspects of Democratic partisanship.

  • Bowler, Shaun, and Gary M. Segura. The Future Is Ours: Minority Politics, Political Behavior, and the Multiracial Era of American Politics. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press, 2012.

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    Compares attitudes, values, and political behaviors across minorities and Anglo Americans. The presentation of political behavior and attitudes in a comparative context of race allows readers to place changes and findings in the context of political science research that has often focused on the black-white dichotomy.

  • Fraga, Luis R., John A. Garcia, Rodney E. Hero, Michael Jones-Correa, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, and Gary M. Segura. Latino Lives in America: Making It Home. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2010.

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    Relies on open-ended interviews of Latinos to explore Latino identity, issues, and relationship to America and its political parties.

  • Fraga, Luis R., John A. Garcia, Rodney E. Hero, Michael Jones-Correa, Valerie Martinez-Ebers, and Gary M. Segura. Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

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    Provides a comprehensive look at Latino politics relying on the 2006 Latino National Survey. Chapter 10 focuses on partisanship and issue preferences.

  • Garcia, John. Latino Politics in America: Community, Culture, and Interests. 3d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

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    Latinos are a unique population in America, and understanding culture and identities is central to the study of this population. In its third edition, this text is groundbreaking for its focus on Latino group dynamics. Includes profiles of prominent Latino politicians.

  • Garcia, F. Chris, and Gabriel R. Sanchez. Hispanics and the U.S. Political System: Moving into the Mainstream. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2008.

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    In-depth exploration of historical trends and heterogeneity among Latinos. Chapters 7 through 12 most directly relate to political parties.

  • García Bedolla, Lisa. Latino Politics. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2014.

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    This book focuses on the different major Latino groups in the United States and highlights the historical interplay between these groups (particularly Cubans and Puerto Ricans) and the Republican Party. Interestingly, the book starts out with an honest discussion of how Republican anti-immigrant positions alienate Latinos.

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