Category Archives: Immigration Policy

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

The Awesome Power of the Bully Pulpit

English: Barack Obama delivering his electoral...

A bully pulpit refers to a public office, specifically the presidency, which provides the holder a terrific platform for rallying support for a specific issue or simply to make one’s view public. Due to the stature of the presidency the bully pulpit can bring issues to the forefront that was not initially in debate. For example, Pres. Obama, with the power of the bully pulpit, was able to shift the debate concerning illegal immigration last week by declaring why his administration will stop deporting young illegal immigrants brought to the United States at no fault of their own. Specifically, the U.S. will no longer deport illegal immigrants who meet the following criteria:

  • Came to the U.S. before age 16
  • Lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years
  • In school, graduated, or a U.S. veteran
  • No felonies, not a threat to the U.S.
  • Not older than 30

As president, Obama has an unparalleled opportunity to make and set policies while the bully pulpit allows the president to announce those policies and rally support. Meanwhile, candidate Mitt Romney, Pres. Obama’s republican challenger, can only react to the agenda of the incumbent president and merely make untested and immaterial promises to the electorate. As a result, Mitt Romney is now faced with the politically difficult task of either alienating independent voters by holding firm with his previously stated hard-line stance on illegal immigration (e.g. self deportation, zero tolerance) or angering the conservative base by flip-flopping on the issue altogether. One reason why Romney is in this problematic situation is due in part to Obama’s ability to set policy as the sitting president and the awesome power of the bully pulpit afforded him.

–TERRANCE MULLINS

Weekly Quiz: Test Yourself on this Week’s Events

The weekly quiz is now live in Mypoliscilab. Good luck!

Weekly Poll: Your Opinion on President Obama’s Immigration Policy

Critics of President Obama’s new policy on illegal immigration say it did not go far enough to provide a long term solution to the problem. What do you think?

Race and the Hispanic Vote

English: White Hispanic and Latino Americans

English: White Hispanic and Latino Americans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the second in a series of blogs focusing on what some like to refer to as the Hispanic vote.  It is intended to edify those elements of the MyPoliSciLab community that may just be learning of the increasingly important role Hispanic voters will play in American politics.  This installment will consider the significance of race as a factor influencing our understanding of the emerging Hispanic vote across the country.

First of all, the term Hispanic does not actually discriminate according to race (although many researchers do take race into account when studying Hispanics).  Hispanics born in the United States as part of the baby boom generation (and for decades before that) would have been designated as “White” or “Caucasian” on their birth certificates.  Of course, Hispanic newborns with parents or a parent displaying “Black” or African American features or characteristics would have likely been designated as “colored” or “Black” depending on the particular time in history.  In actuality Hispanics can be White and Black—or both as in the case of a bi-racial individual.  Given the state of political science research on the matter, traditional voting models that take race into account and predict that White voters are more likely to support republican candidates and African American or Black voters are more likely to support democratic candidates, are problematic when we take into account Hispanic voters.  The current state of the discipline suggests that including Hispanics in the models is reasonable based on the understanding that Hispanics represent a different population.  I am suggesting that they do not.

Hispanics, as we currently understand the term, come from the nations of North, Central, and South America.  They are White, Black, and Indian (indigenous, indígena) and every possible iteration you can think of.  Discussions regarding the Hispanic vote in both the mainstream and new media are still likely to follow in the footsteps of those who have an over-simplified understanding of their Hispanic brothers and sisters.  What do you think?  Should political scientists lead the way in terms of changing the way we talk about Hispanic political behavior?  Can the media make heads or tails of the issues involved?

–DENNIS FALCON

The Hispanic Vote—Myth, Monolith, Mystery

Garth Brooks singing the Don McLean song "...

Garth Brooks singing the Don McLean song “American Pie” at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the race for the White House moves along Hispanic voters will show up on the radar for both democratic and republican candidates. More experienced and knowledgeable commentators will know enough to differentiate between largely republican Cubans and Cuban Americans in Florida, from the deeply divided Texas contingent of Mexican cowboys that listen to Garth Brooks and those that stencil Michoacan on the back windows of their trucks. The Hispanic vote also includes the diverse block of socially conservative Catholic and growing evangelical Christians across the nation who believe in marriage between one man and one woman and their relatives who marry and divorce often—and sometimes with the same people. And don’t forget the urban Latino professionals who have managed to make it out of college and graduate programs to take very good jobs in every industry you can imagine. The so-called Hispanic vote is there for the taking.

Aggregated, the Hispanic vote largely goes to democratic candidates in percentages that make the gender gap look ridiculously trivial (anywhere from sixty-five to over seventy percent). In a good year, a republican candidate can get close to forty percent of the Hispanic vote. That translates into an unpopular democratic candidate getting just over sixty percent of the Hispanic vote. Over a decade ago I worked as a researcher for the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute (one of the most important Latino think tanks in the nation). Our research routinely led us to conclude that Hispanic voters shared many of the same characteristics as other democratic groups of voters. Some care more about social issues. Some care more about immigration issues. Some care quite a bit about crime and the environment. Most care an awful lot about the economy and jobs and their children’s education. To make a long story short, candidates on both sides are going to have to work this one out on their own. The term “Hispanic” was actually first used by the Census Bureau as a term to capture the growing Spanish surnamed population in the United States. It’s an arbitrary and largely artificial term used to identify a very real and very complicated assortment of peoples and experiences that have contributed greatly to the American experiment. What do you think? Will the Hispanic vote help determine the winner for 2012? Will democratic and republican candidates figure out how to play the Rubik’s Cube of the Hispanic vote?

–DENNIS FALCON