About Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and a Faculty Fellow at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research. She received her Ph.D. from Duke University in 2007 during which time she was a National Science Foundation Fellow. DeFrancesco Soto was recently named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine.

Victoria’s research analyzes how human thought and emotion shapes political behavior. Her academic work focuses on: campaigns and elections, political marketing, race and ethnic politics, and immigration. Her academic research has been widely published in scholarly journals and edited volumes. In 2008, Dr. DeFrancesco Soto was Northwestern University’s principal investigator for the Big Ten Battleground Poll, a public opinion survey of voters for the 2008 Presidential election. She is currently working on a book manuscript that analyzes the emergence of conservative feminism.

Fifty Years Later, Latinos Still Fighting for Civil Rights

Latino Civil Rights

Victoria DeFrancesco Soto: The discriminatory intent toward Latinos is thinly veiled, if veiled at all. More generally, anti-immigrant laws diminish the value of our civil rights and respect for our liberties.

Meet Wendy Davis’s Running Mate


Leticia Van de Putte Campaign: What I’ve seen is that Latinos are mad and not just Latino Democrats, Latino Republicans are mighty mad.

The State of Our Union: Immigration


State of the Union Immigration — A lack of movement could augur resentment. Latinos might stay home if immigration remains unaddressed.

Can Wendy Davis Break Up Texas’ Boys Club?


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Republicans are fighting hard to keep alive the rotary phone days with a cast of ultra conservative white males seeking to defeat Davis and her running mate, Leticia Van de Putte.

A Texas Latina Throws Her Hat in the Ring


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The only shot Wendy Davis has of winning is in getting Latino support, and if anyone can get that support it’s Leticia Van de Putte as her lieutenant governor.

Immigration Reform Failure Déjà Vu


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: If recent history has taught us anything it is that immigration must come from the bottom up. If there is any hope of comprehensive immigration reform, it must start with the House of Representatives.

Well-Being of Women Absent from Strict Texas Abortion Law


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: A discussion of the well-being of women in Texas is largely absent from those that govern, especially a consideration of the undue burdens they may face as a result of restricted abortion access.

Rape Crisis on College Campuses

University of Connecticut wide

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: College is supposed to be a place where young women go to flourish, not be put in harm’s way.  But this past week seven University of Connecticut students reminded us of the underbelly of sexual violence within our colleges.

Tom Delay, Ted Cruz: Brothers Under the Skin


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The change in the political culture that gave birth to the likes of Ted Cruz comes down to one man: Tom DeLay. And now Cruz is enjoying the fruits of DeLay’s labor.

America’s Skepticism about Diversity Not New

american diversity

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: According to a recent survey, Americans are leery of the nation’s increasing diversity — some “very anxious,” most simply feeling uninspired by the increasing diversity in this country.

New Anti-Immigrant Campaign Kicks Off


Victoria Defranceso Soto: Even if a path to citizenship didn’t make it through, at least it looked like there would be some type of immigration reform. But now even partial reform seems impossible.

Marco Rubio: The Great Houdini


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: While Rubio was elected in part on the strength of the Tea Party, it is Cruz who has become the leader and the face of the Tea Party movement.

Abortion Can Cross Party Lines, at Least for Women

senator wendy davis

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The political take-home for Wendy Davis and others like her is that some Republican women may just cross over and vote Democratic.

How Ted Cruz’s Braggadocio Could Backfire


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Cruz’s theatrical strategy will get him notoriety and political rock star status, but in the long term it will likely backfire, making his Senate prospects tenuous at best.

Food Stamp Cuts Hurt Us All


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The assault on food stamps is misdirected.  Aside from the fact that the overwhelming majority of recipients are families with children, the elderly, or disabled, the cuts won’t fix our economy. 

Will Congress Kill Immigration Through Incompetence?

immigrants paying

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The inability of Congress to get its act together and address the issue of immigration will not only hurt immigrants but the state of our economy and our larger national security.

Obamacare’s Steep Climb


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The administration will have to rely on the current offensive initiatives to undue a lot of the bad feelings and misinformation that were established early on – but as the saying goes, better late than never.

Disentangling Drugs and Immigration


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Correlation is not causation and the phenomenon of immigration is not the cause of America’s problem with drugs.

Republicans in Congress Should Listen to GOP Governors

governors conference

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Last week at the National Governor’s Association meeting governors, in particular Republican governors, stated their disapproval of the Republican’s threat to shut down the government.

Immigration’s Heat Stroke

immigration reform

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The House will fail to vote before the August recess. Immigration will be left out in the sun during the politically hottest month–when members spend weeks at home face-to-face with their constituents.

The Lone Star State’s War on Latinas

latino voters

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Texas has become the latest battleground on the larger Republican War on Women. However, because of the state’s demographics Latinas are disproportionately in the cross-hairs of this war.

Why Republicans Can’t Allow Gay Couples in Immigration Bill

gay immigrants

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: In practical political terms, there is no way a conservative Republican member of Congress would be able to sell immigration and an untraditional conception of marriage.

Why Border Enforcement Plan Will Fail

immigrant crossing sign

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Much like the game of whac-a-mole, border enforcement pushes down the flow of crossings in one sector but then sees it pop up in another.

Does the Tea Party Have a New Lease on Life?

rand paul

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The issue trifecta of Benghazi, the IRS audits, and the AP investigations has resuscitated the near moribund Tea Party. While each of these issues deals with different agencies and actors they share the common denominator of heightening distrust in the government.

Latinos Leaving Republican Identity Behind

dee dee garcia blas

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The correlation between the GOP’s Latino communications and outreach strategy is linear. The harsher and more racially negative the messaging, the fewer Latinos will stand by your label and vote for you. It’s not a complicated concept.

What If Immigration Reform Fails?

if immigration reform fails

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The last thing we should do is keep banging our heads against the D.C. wall or just sit around strategizing for the 2014 or 2016 election.  If immigration reform fails at the federal level then the emphasis must move to our state capitals and city councils.

Massive Mexico-U.S. Drug Trade: White Elephant in the Room

occupy wells fargo

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Whether we want to admit it or not, any discussion revolving around the U.S. and Mexico must start and end with drugs. However, these next two days President Obama and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto will do everything in their power to dance around the issue and ignore the elephant in the room.

Time: Friend or Foe for Immigration Reform?


Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The most rational response to the domestic terror attack is to push forward immigration reform—policy that makes us safer by better tracking those immigrants who are here and who are seeking to enter.

After Immigration Reform: The Good, Bad and Ugly

immigration flag

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: The current immigration legislation holds out the opportunity for only good coming out of the reform. However, unintended consequences can and do arise.

New York City?!?! Get a Rope!

bloomberg guns

Victoria Defrancesco Soto: Whether it’s salsa or gun legislation, there are some things Americans may not embrace from the Big Apple. Michael Bloomberg’s $12 million gun violence ad campaign is a case in point.

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