The Role of Shared Ethnicity in Latino Political Participation
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Michigan Press
1. Assessing the Role of Shared Ethnicity in Latino Political Behavior
In 1960,Henry B. Gonzalez was elected to the U.S. Congress from a heavily Hispanic district in San Antonio, Texas. As the only elected of‹cial of Hispanic or Latino descent in the House of Representatives,1 Gonzalez had both enormous and little in›uence. Within the Chicano community, he was the key voice on Mexican American politics and gained immediate prominence, but in Washington, D.C., he was but 1 of 435 representatives and found it dif‹cult to make himself heard.
2. Latino Politics in the Twenty-First Century: A New Theory of Latino Political Behavior
In 1980, the decennial census ‹rst used the term Hispanic to count persons of Latin American ancestry living in the United States. That census revealed that almost 15 million Americans were Hispanic or Latino,1 accounting for roughly 6.5 percent of the overall U.S. population. The politics of Black and White that was present during the 1960s and 1970s was now being forced to make room for a new minority group, although few people were equipped to address “Latino” concerns.
3. Theory Meets Reality: Elite Perspectives on Latino Mobilization
“The Latino agenda is the American agenda” was the most popular refrain that Latino candidates for mayor and their top-ranking campaign staff declared when interviewed about their campaigns in 2005. They obviously had prepared this opening statement for my interviews about shared ethnicity and the mobilizing effects of Latino candidates on Latino voters. “I did not run as a Latino; I was a candidate who happened to be Latino,” each mayoral candidate said, using almost identical language.
4. Does Ethnic Identification Trump Party Identification?: Evaluating Latino Vote Choice in a Hypothetical Setting
Latino voting preference is a relatively understudied topic among scholars of political behavior and Latino politics alike.With few Latino candidates running for office in the 1970s and 1980s, early scholars of Latino politics devoted little attention to the impact that co-ethnic candidates might have on Latino vote choice. Instead, early studies tended to focus on either participation (i.e., turnout) or party affiliation but not on vote choice (see Stokes-Brown 2006). The research on Latino candidates was more descriptive in nature, focusing on major figures such as Henry Gonzalez and Corky Gonzalez as case studies, not empirical analyses of Latino voters.
5. The Impact of Latino Mayoral Candidates on Latino Voters: New Evidence from Five Mayoral Elections, 2001–2003
In the two decades since this ‹nding ‹rst emerged, scholarship on Latino politics and electoral behavior still ‹nds that Latinos are less likely to participate in politics than are members of other racial and ethnic groups (see, e.g.,Wol‹nger and Rosenstone 1980; Calvo and Rosenstone 1989;Verba, Schlozman, and Brady 1995; Arvizu and Garcia 1996; Shaw, de la Garza, and Lee 2000). Latino participation rates remain low for some well-documented and generally well-known reasons that apply in a variety of contexts, including demographic factors (De- Sipio 1996a; Hero and Campbell 1996) and issues surrounding immigrant status and citizenship (J. A. Garcia and Arce 1988; Calvo and Rosenstone 1989; Uhlaner, Cain, and Kiewiet 1989).
6. Latino Candidates for State Legislature and Congress: How Multiple Co-Ethnic Candidates Affect Turnout
To this point, we have considered Latino candidates as individual political forces, running unique campaigns, and connecting with Latino voters. However, a given political candidate for office is never the only show in town. On the contrary, Americans typically go to the polls to elect numerous candidates for numerous of‹ces, ranging from commissioner of the water board to state legislator to U.S. president.
On January 20, 2007,William Blaine Richardson III made history by announcing his intention to run for president of the United States. Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, became the first credible Latino candidate for the U.S. presidency. After the ‹rst few “exploratory” months of the campaign, Richardson returned to Los Angeles, his birthplace, on May 21 to announce his of‹cial candidacy in a bilingual address delivered while Richardson was surrounded by prominent Latino officials.
8. Ethnic Cues and the New American Voter: Implications and Conclusion
In May 2005, Los Angeles elected its ‹rst Latino mayor in more than 130 years. Once a Mexican city in Alta California, the City of Angels has the largest percentage Latino population of any U.S. city. However, Whites still comprise about 50 percent of the Los Angeles electorate, with Latinos constituting about 25 percent, Blacks 17 percent, and Asian Americans 7 percent. Thus, Antonio Villaraigosa’s victory was not a Latino-only phenomenon.