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Mobilizing Opportunities: The Evolving Latino Electorate and the Future of American Politics, Ricardo Ramírez

Reviewed by Rodolfo O. De La Garza

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The title of this book suggests that it will focus on the evolving Latino electorate, which will influence the future of American politics. Ricardo Ramírez theorizes that context is the key variable explaining Latino political behavior. Context explains why mobilizing Latinos can make Latinos vital to national politics. Ramírez argues that he is the first to recognize this, which is why previous work has failed to explain the extent of contemporary Latino influence and how that influence will increase over time.

It is clearly incorrect to argue that Americanists have ignored the impor­tance of context, as V.O. Key’s Southern Politics illustrates. More to the point, the series on Latino influence on presidential elections that Ramírez asserts ignores context consists of case studies of Latino involvement in presidential elections and includes the same states that Ramírez analyzes. Indeed, the series was designed to document the impact that changing contexts have had on Latino influence on presidential elections. (I should note that I am the principal editor of this series.)

Ramírez also faults analysts who succumb to the assertion that “demogra­phy is destiny.” He notes that context determines the value of demography. This is illustrated by the different consequences of population g

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Language Dominance, Bilingualism, and Latino Political Participation in the United States, Rodolfo O. de la Garza and Alan Yang


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