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Mobilizing Opportunities

The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics

Ricardo Ramírez

Publication Year: 2013

The growth of the Latino population is the most significant demographic shift in the United States today. Yet growth alone cannot explain this population’s increasing impact on the electorate; nor can a parsing of its subethnicities. In the most significant analysis to date on the growing political activation of Latinos, Ricardo Ramírez identifies when and where Latino participation in the political process has come about as well as its many motivations. Using a state-centered approach, the author focuses on the interaction between demographic factors and political contexts, from long-term trends in party competition, to the resources and mobilization efforts of ethnic organizations and the Spanish-language media, to the perception of political threat as a basis for mobilization.

The picture that emerges is one of great temporal and geographic variation. In it, Ramírez captures the transformation of Latinos’ civic and political reality and the engines behind the evolution of this crucial electorate.

Race, Ethnicity, and Politics

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

This book is about context and evolution in American politics. It is about Latino lives throughout the United States and the unique effect that context has on their levels of civic and political engagement. For some Latinos, the states in which they reside mobilize them into politics at faster than expected rates. ...

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1. State Contexts, Mobilization, and the Evolving Latino Electorate

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pp. 1-29

In 2008, pundits heralded Latino voters as playing a significant role in the Democratic presidential primary. Having swept up most of the sought-after endorsements of Latino elected officials long before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, the Hillary Clinton campaign believed that Latino votes would follow suit. ...

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2. Mobilization en Español: Spanish-Language Radio and the Reaction to HR 4437

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pp. 30-53

The U.S. Congress faced several controversial issues at the end of its first session in 2005. Among these, U.S. House and Senate Republican leaders tried to salvage legislative priorities such as the renewal of the USA Patriot Act, efforts to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, formulation of a clear policy on the use of torture, ...

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3. Defensive Naturalization and the Opportunity to Mobilize

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pp. 54-72

In the last chapter, I explored the reactive mobilization of Latinos into protest politics as a result of an exogenous political shock, but I suggest that existing studies of minority politics have largely been looking in the wrong place for additional catalysts of political mobilization. ...

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4. The Changing California Voter: A Case Study of Mobilizing Opportunities and Latino Participation over Time

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pp. 73-95

Perhaps more than any other state, California witnessed many demographic and political changes in the 1990s. The convergence of these dramatic changes makes it increasingly complex to predict what lies ahead for California. Yet, despite these complexities, there are some patterns that help explain California’s current social and political landscape. ...

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5. Voice of the People: The Evolution and Effectiveness of Latino Voter Mobilization

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pp. 96-118

The transformation of the electorate is among the most significant changes that have accompanied the demographic change that has occurred in the United States during the last twenty years. Many questions remain as to what role Latinos have played in this transformation, and the consequences of this change. ...

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6. The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics

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pp. 119-142

The story of how and where Latino voters will matter, I contend, is not a story of revolutionary change. Instead, it is a story about evolutionary change in the Latino electorate and the factors that propel the growth in the pool of Latino eligible voters. The tremendous growth in the number of Latino voters is not the endpoint. ...


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pp. 143-154


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pp. 155-166


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pp. 167-177

E-ISBN-13: 9780813935119
E-ISBN-10: 0813935113
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813935102
Print-ISBN-10: 0813935105

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 13 figures, 4 tables
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 867741723
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Mobilizing Opportunities

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Hispanic Americans -- Politics and government.
  • Political participation -- United States.
  • Elections -- United States.
  • United States -- Politics and government.
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