With Mexican Americans now the nation's fastest growing minority, major political parties are targeting these voters like never before. During the 2004 presidential campaign, both the Republicans and Democrats ran commercials on Spanish-language television networks, and in states across the nation the Mexican-American vote can now mean the difference between winning or losing an election.
This book examines the various ways politics plays out in the Mexican-origin community, from grassroots action and voter turnout to elected representation, public policy creation, and the influence of lobbying organizations. Lisa Magaña illustrates the essential roles that Mexican Americans play in the political process and shows how, in just the last decade, there has been significant political mobilization around issues such as environmental racism, immigration, and affirmative action.
Mexican Americans and the Politics of Diversity is directed to readers who are examining this aspect of political action for the first time. It introduces the demographic characteristics of Mexican Americans, reviewing demographic research regarding this population's participation in both traditional and nontraditional politics, and reviews the major historical events that led to the community's political participation and activism today.
The text then examines Mexican American participation in electoral political outlets, including attitudes toward policy issues and political parties; considers the reasons for increasing political participation by Mexican American women; and explores the issues and public policies that are most important to Mexican Americans, such as education, community issues, housing, health care, and employment. Finally, it presents general recommendations and predictions regarding Mexican American political participation based on the demographic, cultural, and historical determinants of this population, looking at how political issues will affect this growing and dynamic population.
Undoubtedly, Mexican Americans are a diverse political group whose interests cannot be easily pigeonholed, and, after reading this book, students will understand that their political participation and the community's public policy needs are often unique. Mexican Americans and the Politics of Diversity depicts an important political force that will continue to grow in the coming decades.