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Participation and Political Power: the Lobby Action of the Latino Community in the United States

The idea of ​​this work comes from the observation of the imposing process of demographic transition that the United States are going through since the last thirty years and where the Hispanic population appears to be a crucial component. According to US Bureau of Census estimates, between 1980 and 1990 the Hispanic population in the United States grew by 55 percent, and between 1990 and 2000, the growth was of 58 percent. In 2003, Latinos emerged as the largest minority group in the country, surpassing African-Americans, and now they represent the fastest growing demographic segment. With 48.4 millions, Hispanics make up 16 percent of total U.S. population and estimates predict this percentage will rise to 29 in 2050.
This population explosion and the fact that Latinos - previously regionally concentrated - are now present throughout the whole country are considered by many scholars the causes of the recent attention given by media, by politicians from both parties and by the major public and private institutions to what was commonly called the "invisible minority" of the United States.
In an attempt to determine the impact of the Latin American community in the U.S. political system, my argument straits from these arguments, but it adds a third one: the political participation. While acknowledging the relevance of these factors, I suggest that the explanatory potential is not exhaustive; the growing attention paid to Latinos, in fact, can not be due to a mere numerical or geographical reason, what I call the vicious circle self-exclusion in policy: If a group, even if a numerically large segment like Hispanics, is not involved in politics, authorities won't take it into account. For this reason, it was necessary to analyze the political participation of Latinos, in the broad sense. I just din't considered the mere vote, while recognizing the central role within the democratic system, but I also considered electoral activities, such as contributing to election campaigns or establishing contacts with government officials, volunteer work, and other unconventional activities like protests or boycotts, and the creation of Hispanic organizations.
It is commonly recognized that Hispanics are poorly active on the political front, and various explanations were formulated. Whatever the cause, the fact remains that the level of political participation of Latinos is objectively lower than that of other ethno-racial groups. The objective of my thesis, however, is to determine the trend of political Hispanic in time to determine whether and how it evolved the impact of Latinos on the U.S. system. The latter proved the most difficult task because the government accommodation is not a easily quantifiable variable. While recognizing the limitations of this choice, I measured this variable in terms of representation (both descriptive and substantive) and strategies of political mobilization. Considering the importance attributed by the Hispanics, a first measure to determine the impact of political participation of Latinos is their decision-making process is, in other words, a variable purely numerical. The mere presence of Latinos in Congress, however, does not guarantee that their interests are duly taken into account, so I felt it necessary to also consider the substantive representation. Finally, it can be said that different political parties and candidates have recognized the importance of Hispanic electorate if they are willing to invest a substantial portion of their resources to gain support. An analysis of the issue could not be complete apart from showing a practical application of the impact Hispanic. Therefore, I examined in detail the presidential elections of 2004 and 2008 (and, albeit short, mid-term elections of 2010) emphasizing the role played by Latinos and their ability to influence the election campaign is the final outcome.

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Tesi di Laurea Magistrale

Facoltà: Scienze Politiche

Autore: Andrea Saviolo Contatta »

Composta da 144 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 97 click dal 23/05/2011.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.