tv Latino Americans U.S. Politics CSPAN August 21, 2019 11:14am-12:45pm EDT
and every weekend on c-span3. >> weeknights this month as a preview of what's available every weeblgd on c-span3. tonight we continue our look at apollo 11 starting with "moonwalk one," a 1970 documentary commissioned by nasa. the film covers preparations to parades for the astronauts after their safe return. rarely seen footage from around the world as people watched man's first steps on the moon. you can see it tonight starting at 8:00 eastern on c-span3. enjoy american history tv this week and every weekend on c-s n c-spa c-span3. next on american history tv, historians discuss the role, impact, and voting trends of latino-americans in u.s. political history. this conversation was part of a two-day purdue university event
called remaking political history. it's an hour and a half. >> hi. my name is jaime sanchez jr. our panel is making the case for latino political history. a theme that is central to the idea of remaking american political history. this is not to say no one has ever thought of or written about latinos in politics in history. the conversation follows in the foot steps of many major works and scholars. but instead it is about rethinking about what political historians pay attention to. in an earlier panel this morning, leah asked a question about the segregation of the american political history in which there was a barrier to what organizations and individuals are labeled as political or diplomatic actors. in a similar vein, this panel seeks to shift to seeing latinos
as central to the development of modern american democracy. forged in the fire of 19th century warfare, boosted by constant mass migration throughout the 20th, latinos have been part and parcel of modern america's social fabric. with well over 150 years of history in the united states. latinos have made an indelible mark on u.s. publolitics be it the early histories of the southwest territories, as founders of civic and political organizations in the protest movements of the 1960s and '70s, or as voters. latinos made u.s. politics their own. yet in reading the major synthetic works of american political history, we're examining a syllabus for a course on the subject. we are hard pressed to find much representation of latino experiences and politics at all in mainstream political history. it seems as though this conference is as auspicious an occasion as any to make the case
for latino political history. traditional political history narratives based in the presidential synthesis written by an earlier generation of historians have largely emphasized elite white men as the movers and shakers of american politics. newer works in political history have complicated our predecessors. and in its revival, we have seen a critical approach to race and formal politics. however, race and politics in our field is often shorthand for black politics. though much has been done to illustrate the essential importance of african-americans in political history, scholarship has done little to move beyond the black/white racial binary that predominates the old and new political history. other fields have done much better in their corporation into the u.s. history including urban history, labor history, immigration, and studies of the welfare state. in the context of city politics, urban histories on cities such as chicago, new york, and los angeles are some of the best examples we have for any
analysis of latino politics. but what about the national? more importantly, where is political history in this intellectual conversation? today's panel is a rallying call for political historians to rethink our engagement or lack thereof with what is now the largest community of color in the united states. in calling for a research agenda of nuanced comprehensive latino political history, we must first ask many preliminary questions about what research has been done, is currently on the table, or yet to be pursued. is there such a thing as latino political history? if so, what does it look like? what does mainstream political history look to lose? how would incorporating la tee knows in -- latinos into the culture cause the larger narrative. we will look at things concerning latinos in the
political past. joining me today are some of the leading voices in this field. rosina lozano on my far right is a historian of latino history with a research and teaching focus on the american west, migration and immigration, and comparative studies in race and ethnici ethnicity. she's author of "the history of spanish in the united states" which is a political history of the spanish language in the united states from the incorporation of the mexican session in 1848 through world war ii. with some discussion of the following decades and present day concerns. "an american language" was published by the california press. geraldo cadava's first book "standing on common ground," was published in 2013 by harvard
university press and focused on the arizona border land since world war ii. he is now completing a book about hispanic conservatism to be pub established in 2020 by echo press. he's the director of northwestern university's latino and latina studies program and a professor of history. benjamin francis-fallon is a historian and teacher whose interests center on politics and immigration and ethnicity in the united states of america. in his forthcoming book "the rise of a latino vote" examines how election officials attempted to forge mexican-americans, puerto ricans, and cubans into a nationwide political constituency. proved pivotal to finding the latino identity in the united states. it is due out in september this year by harvard university press. very exciting. francis-fallon received his ph.d. from georgetown university and is currently assistant
professor of history and coordinator of social sciences education at western carolina university. and finally, my name is jaime sanchez jr. i focus on 20th century u.s. politics. my current projects explore the history of the democratic national committee as well as latino political organization. i'm also a new host for the new books and latinos podcast. i'm also the moderator of today's round table discussion. we'll try to cover as much ground as possible during our short time here and we'll save time at the end for questions from the audience. and with that said, we should get started in making the case for latino political history. the first question i'd like to ask is what is latino political view? >> thank you for organizing this
and bringing us together. i see latino political history including many different fields and tying together issues that are important to the united states. while many political histories stay more recent and focused on immigration, in my view, latino political history includes larger national debates over land ownership and land use in what is currently the u.s. southwest. but other regions earlier than that in places along what became the midwest, southern midwest. i think it is crucial to tie what has been larger or regional stories into the formation of the nation. thank you for plugging in american language, the political history of mexican-americans includes how those who became u.s. citizens following the u.s.-mexican war through the treaty participated in the u.s. political system. and explain how these spanish speaking u.s. citizens began and supported the implementation of the u.s. political system into states like california,
colorado, and especially new mexico. and by participating in politics in spanish, many also became devoted and patriotic u.s. citizens. that includes being recognized by and participating in both major political parties. there's a lot more work to be done about their political involvement and the ways that those political parties kind of recognized that they were there. right? they were the ones that were supporting their newspapers in spi spanish. they were the ones giving them money and funding to make sure they were involved in the political process. in the 20th century, latino politics have revolved around immigration, civil rights. and it's really only in the 20th century i would argue that latino political history is an appropriate name. right? earlier history of political participations and activism by individuals who may now call themselves latino are conducted in isolation. while ethnic mexicans and cubans may have been cognizant of one another and supportive of one
another's efforts, they struggled to find them as one in the same. it's the misnomer that yields one of the most interesting historical questions. how does a latino political entity come to be? we've had a good start with the book "making hispanics." but there's much more about this process and where we are today in the ways we look at the latino population. so jaime's work, his future dissertation -- hopefully he will answer some of those questions. >> a story of latino politics and political history would stretch back to the 19th century and include a whole range of issues like land ownership. so i would -- that to me suggests that necessity to have a kind of broad vision of what
it means. and also the need to integrate latino and american political history, i think, kind of including in a much larger story of american politics. i did think the title of the panel making a case for latino political history is a little curious just because my first response is, like, well, why not? why wouldn't you have latino politics in american political history? and it was curious to me that, you know, there is a need to make a case for it or something. the political history that has maybe excluded it that would necessitate its inclusion or necessitate our panelists making a case for it. because i do think at a -- there must have been some chasm in the beginning of american political history whatever we date that to that necessitates us bringing
those things together now. so they did evolve as two separate things. and now maybe there have been recent evolutions in american political history that make the field more hospitable to thinking about including something like latino history. the main two things that i wanted to highlight is just the difference between latino political history and a history of latino politics. and i think, you know, latino political history as i understand it, is in a large degree concerned with partisan political behavior and the involvement of latinos in the democratic party or the republican party or a third party for latinos in texas in the 1970s. and then the history of latino politics would be a much longer struggle for inclusion.
and american political life. i don't just mean in terms of the parties, but recognition, civil rights, access to property and jobs and education. i would think of all of those things as part of the history of latino politics. it's been a real part of latino history for a long time. i do think that both within american political history and the history of latinos in the united states, histories of the involvement of latinos in partisan politics over a long period of time is largely lacking. i think that there are individual books. i think the bread and butter of the field for latino history as a field for a long time has been community studies and i'm thinking -- well, we'll talk about books in a minute, but studies of texas and california.
i think in those places historians have looked a somebody like roy iball for whom it was important to register latino voters in los angeles in the mid-20th century. that's a story that's told but it's not part of the longer history of latinos in partisan politics. and i think that that is one major direction that the field of latino history will move in soon, i hope. and as it does so, i think the story of latino political history and its involvement in american political history more broadly will come together more. >> i think a lot of what i'll say reinforces some of that too. when thinking about, i'm reminded of what robert pena jr. said in 1963 as he was speaking
to a convention of texas political activists. first while insisting on his people's americanism, pena demanded that mexican americans would at least proudly organize themselves as a distinct minority block. he says if the irish in boston, italians in new york, and negroes could do it. so could the mexican people of the united states. once they adopted an ethnic posture, he said the price of their vote would be two things. recognition and representation. so for me his remarks reveal that latino history politics developmented as a vast project of sole searching and communal. in the first matter raced
questions well beyond texas. political history invites us to consider big questions like how have latinos thought to harmonize the diverse and local and state history, national origins and understandings. organizations capable of wielding power across the vast expanse of the political communities. or to put it another way, how have people attempted to mobilize individuals who claim descent from spanish explorers to new mexico. puerto rican migrants to the south bronx in the 1960s. and these questions are, i think, linked to the second half of pena's remarks. that quest for representation. because latino politics emerged in an unequal dialogue with the white elites from both major parties whose support was needed to sponsor this project of integrating all of these
communities and voices and mobilizing them for particular causes most often thought of as a need to fulfill some kind of destiny of a group nationwide and scope. but a question has to be asked about how these party elites including u.s. presidents use their ability to reward or withhold to influence the larger construction of the latino political community. and as that dance of validation between latinos seeking to reimagine their community to cope with economic, social, and political challenges and pressures, and the necessity of aligning those visions of community within an ever-changing ideology and programs i find so important in latino political history. >> and so i think there are a lot of interesti ining themes t we've all heard from you three
regarding ethnicity and the complications it brings. the earlier origins of latinos in the united states and their political engagement from the get go, i think all of us would like to hear about your specific interventions in this historical endeavor. and so could you tell us about, you know, your most recent work in the field of latino political history or the history of latino politics and how it's going. >> okay. as jaime mentioned, my first book is called "the rise of the latino vote". it's due to be published in september. in it i examine how mexican-americans, puerto ricans, and cubans came to be seen and to some degree see themselves as a political constituency and in some cases a people. and i explain that the latino vote was not simply the inevitable consequence of
immigration fueled demographic growth. and nor was the emergence of an accepted pan ethnicity in american life. the top down imp sigs from washington bureaucrats who created the category. rather the book shows how over a couple of decades a network of lisle a political activists -- into a single u.s. minority constituency. the book shows how the architects of latino politics devised new programs and platforms, built relationships with each other and elaborated ideas about what their people's common needs were that were once kind of reflective of conditions on the ground. but also that constituted new sense of group identity. i chose how they formed new
organizations and devised new ways of distributing power among their populations that were really quite unequal as to size. it shows how they productively mined the ambiguity and whether they were a coalition building effort or whether they were seeking to transcend the national origins and pursue the creation of something new. a new community. it was this relentless and creative action and through a repudiation of color blindness on the part of latino democrats and hispanic republicans alike that drew both of their parties into this self-reinforcing consensus that spanish speaking americans, later hispanics, later latinos held a statistical population and electoral block. and in so doing, these activists and their elite patrons transcended the nation's black and white binary and pushed the united states firmly into the
age of multicultural politics. in the book i also show even as they're constructed, the latino vote summoning into existence sort of a national political community and identity. the process also worked to undermine the coherence and the stability of that latino political identity. as indicated earlier, the makers of the latino vote were dependent on national party elites to support this project. but powerful interests often thought more to control rather than to empower the constituency. no surprise there, right? party leaders spoke of hispanic political unification, but when it came down to it, they were far more willing to divide or rank or exclude latino constituencies from one another as they were to promote their solidarity. and the shifting ideological orientations and electoral strategies of party elites often exposed or exacerbated what were latent in the latino political
community. unless it was i show that party elites ensured that while there was a burgeoning latino vote accepted as fact, independent latino power was a much more elusive thing. >> we went this way with the first question. so we can go this way now. so i'm finishing a book right now about the history of hispanics in the republican party and republican hispanics since about the 1960s. and i guess first it's important to say that, you know, ben and i are both maybe calling these voters hispanics because -- at least in my case for sure, this is what republicans called themselves for all kinds of reasons that we can get into. but i know that that's not exactly the, you know, current fashion within acidemia to call them hispanics. i want to at least say why i'm doing that. so for me the main questions
were why. why do hispanics vote for republicans? as i've explained my project, this is the first question that i'm always asked. why? because it is a bit of a curiosity to many people. and so i've wanted to explain why. and whenever that question is asked of me, it's always with a very surprised tone that donald trump could have won as much as 30% of hispanic votes or in the 2018 midterms, ted cruz or rick scott or even ron desantis could have won t 30%. it's always a surprise followed by some attempt to maybe undercut those numbers by calling into question the differences between the exit polling versus what might be a more accurate polling of latino
communities. so it's always expressed as surprise and i think part of my answer is it shouldn't be a surprise. because if you look at the republican party and hispanic voters over the past 50 or 60 years, especially since the re-election of richard nixon in 1972, the percentage of hispanics that have voted for the republican party has been around a third consistently. so over a 50-year period, the republican party has built a hispanic voting base of about a third of hispanic voters. that fluctuates a little bit, but not a lot. and if you compare that with african-american voters at the same time period, if you, you know, graph these things they're going in exact opposite directions. at the same time that african-american support for the republican party plummets and has consistently remained single digits or low double digits for the past 50 years, hispanics have shot upward.
and there's a relationship between those two facts, i believe. i've wanted to explain the long development of the hispanic republican base. i also wanted to kind of correct what i see as two misunderstandings. first is their conservatism must be motivated by their catholicism. and traditional family values, their views of abortion and marriage, for example. i'm not denying that that's part of it, but i think that if we kind of hang all of hispanic conservatism on that, we're missing a whole bunch. and catholicism is more complicated than just conservatism. i mean, there is a kind of social justice motivate d branc of catholicism.
thinking of the liberation berl. the other is they must be cuban exiles. that lets us off the hook a lot. it allows us to dismiss -- well, we can't dismiss florida because it's always a critical swing state. we can't dismiss it. but it allows us to ignore lots of other strains of conservatism that are important. i think i knew this story from the fact that it was more complicated than just catholicism among cubans from my grandpa who is a mix of colombian and filipino. a and, you know, lives in tucson, arizona. and he served in the military, became a citizen because of his service in the military. and voted for reagan for the
first time because he was a minor -- silver minor in tucson, arizona, when reagan was running in 1980 and was promising to put more money back in his paycheck. so my grandfather voted for a republican for the first time in 1980 and kind of defied those two ideas. he's not cuban. he's catholic, but never observes his faith. i don't know when the last time he went to church was. i knew from my grandpa at least. but there were other conservatives beyond cubans and catholics. when writing my first book, i wrote about a department store owner, a mexican-american department store owner in tucson, arizona and wrote a chapter about him. he, too, was kind of -- he was staunchly catholic for sure. so he checked that box. but he wasn't at all cuban. and his kind of political upbringing was more about, like, arizona's territorial politics,
early state hood politics. he was friends with barry go goldwater. he didn't have a union in his store because he thought all of his employees were so happy they didn't need a union. he hated cesar chavez whom he saw as a communist and a rabble-rouser. so this led me down the path of wondering what the wider world of hispanic republican partisan identity was like. so i think those two things, wanting to answer the question of why and, you know, i think h histoiscizing that is important because it will help us stop scratching our heads and kind of grasping in the dark for all of these reasons that hispanics would vote for a republican. l and then i think wanting to complicate these two main inside
about cuban nationality and catholicism being the two things that republican identity among hispanics was all about. those are the things that kind of led me down this path. >> this comes out of just a larger sense when i teach comparative race and ethnicity to graduate students. there's a lot of discussion about native americans in the 19th century border lands and what it's like for them. then they disappear in a lot of the 20th century literature. especially in a comparative sense. so part of my desire with this book is to trace that longer history but to do it also by looking at it in erm thes of the ways that the federal government and the state governments had jurisdiction over those individuals who were either native american or mexican-american. because they had very different timetables in terms of
citizenship. they had different relationships to both the federal government and state government. that kind of in a nut schell is where i'm going with my second project. i'm currently finishing something i can talk about that looking at the act. it uses a broad range of documents that include congressional records, and and the commission on civil rights. and aside from offering a comparative political history of mexican and puerto rico lobbying strategies in front of congress, this uncovers the ways that congress was working through the cat gorization of latinos into the political life of the u.s. i think ben and i will have some things to talk about especially because i'm more of a 19th century historian but my interest in my first book led me here and got hooked. it's just the deluge of
documents. so i'm enjoying it but it's also very different for me. and congress is really looking to extend language rights in the 1970s to encourage the latino citizens. at the same time that more restrictive legislation against mexicans were being pushed through congress and being encouraged. and so while immigration was often dominating the media and that kind of continues today, the votes rights act extension offers evidence that the federal government also saw latinos as citizens too and were supportive of extending their voting rights and other voting rights as well. so by looking into that and also there's a separate case that's kind of happening at the same time, it doesn't come into play until 1978 but it's starting to be discussed in 1975 which is to allow interpreters into -- court. what allows for language minorities to be a cat
gorization that would envelope everyone who is not black but a person of color. and asian american broad category for language, right? as well as initially kind of latinos specifically meaning mexican american and puerto rican. >> i'll plug my work since rosina mentioned it earlier. >> do it. >> my current dissertation is about the institutional history of the dnc. and unlike the representation of african-americans in the national democratic party, it's not until the 1970s where you even have conversations within the organization to think about hiring some sort of latino outreach representative. and so it's shocking to think it wasn't until the late 19 op70s where you have conversations about national democratic outreach to latinos.
and i think that if we look at these national institutions or party organizations, it's like gerry said earlier, just the basic facts of, you know, presidential elections and latinos. and before then, of course, they're -- and this will be my segue into the next question. before the 1970s, of course, the engagement between the dnc or presidential elections was very touch and go and interpersonal politics. you see garcia's viva kennedy. the history of the viva kennedy clubs that sprouted up mostly in texas but other places like chicago and in california where you have independent-led and quasi formal relationships with the national party fund raising for jfk. and so there is some work.
and i think that influences my perspective on things and seeing an evolution of latinos and the national democratic party. and so that leads me to my next question. what are some of the key texts that have informed your approach to the history of latinos in the history of u.s. politics? thinking about that, maybe gerry can start. thinking about that, i think this is a good way to discuss ways in which we as political historians can diversify our syllabi. >> well, i have lots of different answers to this. i mean, in one way, every book written in the field is an important touch stone for me because i think all of them in one way or another pick up on parts of this story. but at the same time nothing picks up on -- nothing is -- i wouldn't point to any single thing as a political history of
latinos at large. but, you know, i think of david montehano's book as important. there's politics throughout that. i mean, from the texas revolution to early efforts by the democratic party or democratic party machine bosses in texas trying to recruit or buy in many cases the votes of mexican workers. so there are moments of politics. i think also for me, i think, conservatism or although it's not expressed in this way, david gutierrez's book, the kind of political divides between mexican immigrants -- well, basically it's about mexican americans' views about mexican immigration. that's politics but he doesn't frame it as a political history
and the groups that he's mostly writing about are groups like u the league of latin-american citizens.society, early civil rights organization founded in corpus christi in 1929. that's politics but none of these books talk about their actors in political terms as members of the republican party or the democratic party. they're engaged in politics but lulac, is a good example. i don't know that there has been a historian that has written about the political history of lulac. lulac has been engaged in all kinds of things but among lulac's leadership, some are republicans, some are democrats. they are often taken by historians to be a conservative democratic organization where they, at least it was an early requirement that all of their
members speak english. that they be american citizens. that they pledge allegiance to the flag. we don't know about the political leanings of the their individual members. i look at all the books about lulacs of examples op hf how lo of history of latino politics have been written. for me, specifically, when it comes to republican hispanics, i don't know i could point to a scholarly text until the one that's coming out in september. it deals with republican hispanics a lot. there are a will the of republican hispanic who is have written memoirs that are really interesting like linda chavez
who was in the reagan administration. she was nominated to be george w. bush's labor secretary but had to withdraw when it was discovered she had employed an undocumented immigrant. she wrote two memoirs. one is called out of the barrio. that's good. a guy named sosa who kind of organized reagan's media
campaign for hispanics wrote a book called the americano dream. the chairman of the cabinet committee on opportunities for spanish speaking people in the n nixon administration wrote a fascinating memoir in his time. he had some really interesting ideas. if you wanted to assign something about con seservativc i would look at the memoirs rather hthan scholarly text. it's been a handful of essays
describing how multi-racial politics worked in los angeles. they introduced us to a world of post post-war america that's fascinating in its own right. these unique communities brought forth the people who had become the leaders of latino politics in the united states. these are the first mexican american elected to the congress. they are elevated to positions of prominence. when viewed from the national
level they became the basis of a latino block. appreciating the deeply embedded coalition experiences and traditions of these latino political leaders does other work. it suggests the important of coalition as a concept employed by latinos and their dealings of each other. it's often assumed that latino leaders bore some responsibility here as a national constituency was just a reflection of these groups of mexican americans, puerto ricans recognizing natural and pre-existing ties. viewing latino politics is coalition rather than natural. it helps us to appreciate much
of its ecclecticism. left us ten different perspective. they viewed it as the basis of achievement separate objectives which is puerto rican independence. latino coalitions were really experimental. sometimes they were sort of one to one. that is mexican americans are a group and puerto ricans are a group.
i think it's this coalition nature of latino politics that's exciting proposition to interrogate. it lays a solid basis for thinking about what are the next steps. >> great. i echo. you took a lot of mine so that's good. i think another place to look is within labor history themselves and to remember that immigrants are not coming without a political history of their own. they are active and becoming activists in their own home countries. they are bringing that activism into the united states. there's numerous books that show this. one and i'm blanking on his name but it's a biography with the people that surrounded and you get a sense not only is he talking about revolution in mexico but he's making -- he and
the others are making very pointed critiques of what's happening in texas and happening to workers all throughout the yi united states as well. it shows the similar that individuals are coming and you see them holding up signs during the great depression knowing what the whole alphabet soup we try to get our students to learn. those spanish speaking immigrants knew what they meant. they were pushing for those rights and be included in those federal resources. i think another book that's really important is city of
inmates. it kind of hooz the origins of immigrant detention within it that has been wonderful for my students. they really enjoy reading that particular chapter and getting a sense of what it looked like and why individuals were being held near los angeles. it's got a book that only covers the mid to late 19th century. talks about how they created a democratic and republican party and the ways in which they operated in different elections. kind of has chapters, sometimes
three chapters on the same election. you can see the ways in which they are modelling that u.s. government system. largely in spanish but just that political -- there's a reason that new mexico is an outlier. there's a reason they have governors and senators who have spanish surnames and mexican-american origin. another one in the legal field s manifest destinies which written in a more historic way. >> i think the book you're mention iing lamez.
i want to go back to something that jerry brought up which is the contentious protocol and self-identity. what is the politics of name and what latinos called themselves or maybe they weren't even -- didn't even consider themselves latinos. you mentioned the chicana in the white house. do you have a sense of the evolution of self-identification in politics. i think this brings up one of the biggest conflicts which is does that concept of latino politics even make sense. if it's how benjamin was talking about it, you have this balkanize set of communities. it's very separate groups that
are united conveniently in coalitions but maybe not as unified as we may assume as h historians or public memory. >> do you mind if i start on this one? >> me? yeah. >> i want to go back to the 19th century. this is something that's not new. in the 19th century you would see it within each of the communities that were in what became the u.s. southwest. it didn't mean hispanic americans in the united states. they weren't part of the united states at that point. that's one of the things you see again and again in the document. not only do you have to figure
out like how mexican -- you have to figure out how mexican became mexican, mexican-american. >> i don't know the right word. maybe just say open minded or something. thinking about what that name change means. what's gained and what's lost. i think something that undergrads pushing for that name change. not that i'm opposed to it at all. it's fine. i think that's part of my open
mindedness. call it whatever you want. call it latin x. that would be mad at me if i just dismissed it. these kinds of name changes happen all the time. i don't want to get hung up on any particular name. some groups choose mexican american, political association or mexican-american legal defense in educational fund. part of that has to do with where they are located. if they are in california or the southwest. maybe they will go with one name as the puerto rican legal defense, a spin off for a group that modelled itself off of naacp chose the puerto rican
legal defense. spanish speaking was important term. the '60s, latin. there's so many names. yes they have some kind of meaning and the meaning can have, you know, political availances. i don't know if any one of these names are tied closely with any partisan identity. chicana is thought of being a more activist identity.
i don't place a whole bunch of emphasis on the defendant names. >> it's just always shifting. in the early part of the '60s, naming is one of the stumbling blocks for organization from different parts of even the southwest that are composed primarily of ethnic mexicans getting together. there's a reason why they call viva kennedy viva kennedy.
a lot of the names did corresponds to political organizations or socialization so mexican americans probably adopted that name in california but this was too much for a lot of texan activists. sort of ideas about aggressiveness and how ethnic to be. i think the names also speak to who is really trying to be the leader of this vast population. i think in the case of the mexican american political association, the people who established it in california had to explain to the many puerto ricans who exist in california who were politically active why it was their name would not be
reflected in this organization. the names may be really important in establishing something. over time it becomes a convergence and bureaucratic name and political names start to kind of align. that was thought to be inclusive and avoided a lot of the pitfalls and nationality. it raised questions about if you don't speak spanish and your x mexic mexican-american are you still spanish speaking.
i try to see them holistically. maybe i'm confused about my own ethnic. i'm half white, half mexican. my uncle called me green bean growing up. the other thing i wanted to say is i don't think in any way these name consideration are unique to latinos are hispanic. there's african-american. there's black, there's negro. there's self-identification that black people have used. there's anglo and white and caucasian. i do think this question of naming an identity is often posed as one of the challenges to writing latino political history or one of the questions
i want to keep open the question about what challenges face the writing of political history. i also want to expand and ask a different question which is what do we stand to lose in mainstream political history by ignoring or not paying attention to latino actors and institutions? what's at stake here? >> can i go with that one first? i feel like i've been talking a lot but i'll try to be quick. you run the risk of misunderstanding electoral outcomes. the 1976 presidential election, the 1996 presidential election. the 2000 presidential election. the 2012 presidential election. the 1976 presidential election many kind of political analysts after the fact placed a lot of weight on texas which carter won
by not many votes. i think it was 10,000. it was in the 10,000s. i can't remember how much. if one out of tep mn mexicans shifted their vote, carter would have won. why did ford lose texas, maybe because he bit a tamala that had the shuck on it in 1876 and mexican americans didn't like him much of that. the mexican american vote in texas is part of the story of the texas -- how texas voted in 1976. clinton signed the immigration
reform but the bill was largely seen as the product of republican house and latinos, robert doyle won only 19% of the hispanic vote which is the lowest of any republican candidate since. 2000, you could look at the elion gonzalez came. it was part of what was going on in florida. there was an airport case. i can't remember the name but we'll still with elion gonzalez. 2012, obama was re-elected largely because of hispanic vote. the point for me is i wouldn't
say that like latinos are everything and in order to understand american politics over the past 50 years you have to look centrally at latinos but it's an important part of the story. i don't know why you wouldn't want to include that part of the story that helps explain even electoral politics. to a degree it supports the traditional practice of paying attention. test t to integrate and nationalize and point in some intersection the
latino's communities is time to convince them to develop a common language of aspiration and set of policies that's germane to the community. in the wake is the reckoning. it's whether or not the administration that is elected with recognize latino's importance with cabinet post, supreme court appointment and a commitment to resolving urgent latino issues. at the same time latino political history is driven a lot by congressional activity. the liberal architects came in the shadow of the new deal. by the 1970s they were practicing an identity politics.
they did that just as much to preserve and update the new deal's clash base politics and policy universalism. a closer look reveals that political leaders talked about language and culture and the uniqueness of the latino family life as a means of to an end. that end was pursuing an expanded welfare state marked by things like national health insurance and full employment policies.
>> i agree. we had a great conversation about reaching the public and what does that mean reach to public or your students in a different way. they are in many ways are the public. what i have noticed is somebody will come up at the end and say i didn't realize that there were people that were speaking spanish that were involved in politics in the 1840s. i didn't realize i had this longer history in this country that can i be a part of because the rhetoric around the un undocumented, around the boarder, around the immigration is all i hear is that we are new here. it's one way to combat the view, the perpetual foreignness of mexican-americans. i would argue the same for asian-americans and american india indians. the fact they will still here.
latin america has been a central key point for over a century with funding going there, with kind of influencing the politics and that can help to understand those individuals that are here now and the sorts of politics they bring and the way they view the united states itself. >> i think i would add we make a lot of assumptions about large political blocks.
i'm working on a piece about the 1983 election in chicago. there's this wonderful narrative that dominates which is that black people registered in record numbers and voted more than ever before and it was this rainbow coalition where mexicans joined. deeper dive shows that more often than not, division and intentions dominate the political conversation in a lot of ways. i think that's my personal take and cynical view about the politics.
when we don't do the deep dive we lose the way in which latinos are more complicated and divided than we assume. that's what i'm working on is showing how it wasn't as beautiful a coalition as thought and in general i think we look at presidential elections today. 30% is a lot. there's a lot more there to unpack. it's not a new development but something rooted in history of fraught coligtss that will not just inter-ethnic. with that i think we can keep talking and also open it up to questions from the audience.
>> i have a question about latino politics and presidential politics and how people think about what is typically american. thinking about your own students who come in midwestern history conferences saying people don't think that i do latino history because i studied latinos in the midwest. i'm wondering if you can talk about regionalism in this discussion. >> it's a long history in the midwest. the first book i can think of is the first book on michigan. any time i see, i think there's a recent book on wisconsin. there's been lots of activism in
the farm. one of her chapters look into that history. there's a lot of paralegals going on with the southwest. i think it's such an important place for the studies to be and also so the student who is do come. i had a student from oklahoma and she was like people toent think that we're in oklahoma too. the hard part for the politics is there's usually a smaller population. having that political weight to have that sort of political discussion usually will probably come around coalitions rather than the latino block, whether or not or not that exists as we talked about before. >> i'm trying to think of what i would add to that. definitely want to add something. i think your last observation about numbers and stuff, i think
it really does depend on where you look. it has more than 1.2, 1.3 mexicans. little village is densely populated area. it's incredibly diverse. the diversity means different things for the coalition politics we're talking about. it is there. influencing labor politics both in wisconsin and texas. there are examples. if there were a midwestern history conference, maybe in some ways it is.
with if you're writing about politics. it's a tendency to think of people of color. i was talking to a scientist at stanford. i asked are they the new italian americans. this was a very distinguished political professior said they absolutely are. that struck me. those are very different comparisons. they are like african-americans. they are like italian-americans. they are a group that was once thought of not quite white that is now thought of as very much white which would lead in a different direction that would help explain the folks that jerry studies. is that a fruitful comparison.
>> they absolutely are. >> are. the new italian americans. is that a fruitful way of thinking about latins politically. >> i'll try to answer that. >> i'm genuinely interested in where you would come out on this. >> one of the great things about latino studies and latino history in defining the con spi -- constituency we can drop from a will the of other disciplines. i think he should have given you a source for that statement. i would make comparison with african-americans because that follows the trend of actual political science that focuses on latinos. in african-american politics
it's linked fate that says african-americans see their life chances as deeply integral and connected to other people in their race. it can apply to at lylatino pol. he makes the argument that latinos as a diverse, multi-racial and pan ethnic group see themselves more connected with each other. that would be the political
we stay among our own, et. i think that's the italia italian-american comparison. if you want to compare with african-americans, maybe look at someone like arturo shamberg who was an afro descended puerto rican. they distanced themselves from african-americans because florida is a jim crow state. i think you can compare them to any one. compare them to anyone, compare
them to every one. in the thinking of the political position of latinos, in the late 60s and the 70s, it really mattered where we were talking about. if you were talking b about mexican americans in the southwest, a sought after constituency, latinos, mexican americans look and are appeal to and republicans want to convince themselves are like them.
a disenchanted, pro-welfare dependent constituency. one that is at odds with the white ethnics of new york city. how are people understood in relation to each other in the political system at particular times. >> you haven't said a lot about gender and one of the reasons this political scientists answered as he did is because he thinks of latino voters as patriarchial. the issue of males versus female roles. is that an accurate perception? >> i was going to say i heard
the opposite. >> i was asked to salespeoplepe latino state troopers. i think 70% voted for donald trump. i don't want to complicate the story too much. there's a panel on gender at this moment. i wanted to go to both. i couldn't. i wish the two of you were talking about this. thank you for doing this. don't be discouraged there aren't more people. >> not to give you buyers remorse but this will be on
c-span. you could have watched this one later. >> better to be in the room. >> it's not the same immersive experience. >> yeah, you get the real live experience. i've heard the opposite. the one of my character ben fernandez was the first to hundred frun for president as a republican. a mother's influence in the family is just as important. >> i have stories the men who were marrying were english and were marrying mexican american women and their children did not know english. that's the other thing is people who usually hear my story in
terms of language are comparing with the german. >> your thing about the state troopers is interesting. another challenge to the pan ethnicity and individual groups versus collectives, one of the things i've wondered and don't know the answer to is how much latino voters just resemble voters like other voters in a particular place or in a particular field. what did other state troopers who were not latinos vote like. maybe 70% of them voted for donald trump or the county where they lived and went for trump 70%. >> i'm working on asian-american political history in the 1970s.
what i thought i offered to comparison which is asian americans in historical time there's a lot of -- it either parallels or what i've learned from talking to some folk who work in the federal government, whatever the latino say we follow a step behind them. i thought that was interesting. they set up a model for them to follow. i wanted to ask an offshoot question. what i found is i'm curious if you're finding some of the things is that asian americans, no matter where they live, they
are writing these members of congress or people in sort of relatively in positions of power in the federal government asking for help as a fellow asian american or whatever. this is very curious thing to me. i was wonder if this is something you have seen in your research. all this expectation placed on certain people who look like them or from their community and what they might offer to you. >> absolutely. the first thing that came to mind was vito who left from spanish harlem. basically the congressman from puerto rico. everybody from the island write him asking for help in whatever the problems are. i think the parallels in the period are clear.
in visible positions within cabinet agencies and the war on poverty. the vastly expanded federal government and those people are seen to be the representation of the larger group in american society but also a conduit for assistance. that made it important for people to believe they had one of their own who could advocate for them in washington. every u.s. president developed a latino point person. will these programs effect you.
that was their job. >> you also see where national latino politicians travel the country to areas but know local congressmen or mayor or any latino figure of their base and so a good example is the governor of new mexico campaigned. why? chicago had no latino elected officials since 1982. they do a lot of leg work. i'm sure the cases could be similar for the first woman of color in congress.
there's a graduate student working an asian-american conservatise tifatism conservatism. >> it's the chinese that lead to the term. they were considered the first undocumented in many ways. >> really interesting ways to make the regional story become the national story and vice versa. following the trail of you but important figures. >> do you see them going
internationally? dennis chavez was sent to mexico for all these reasons? >> i think in the early period like '40s, 50s, and '60s. i'm still working on the '70s, period but i'm certain there's a lot there. >> i think with that we can close the panel. i would loik to thank every one who spoke. thank you for your questions and thanks for coming. [ applause ] all week we're featuring american history tv trams as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. lectures in history, american artifacts and special event coverage on our nation's history. enjoy american history tv now
and every weekend on c-span3. american history tv continues now with lhistorians looking at the religious influence on u.s. politics in the 20th century. they examine why this issue isn't a widely studied topic. taking place at purdue university, this is 1:30. >> thank you all for coming. i'm ronit stahl. i'll be chairing this round table today. i'll give a brief overview of how it came to be and what we'll talk about and quickly intce