The Hispanic Republican: The Shaping of an American Political Identity, from Nixon to Trump

Ecco: HarperCollins. May 2020. 448p. ISBN 9780062946348. $29.99. POL SCI
Cadava (history, Northwestern Univ.; Standing on Common Ground) has produced one of the few scholarly book-length treatments of Hispanic/Latino conservatism in the United States. Focusing on the period 1952-2000, Cadava walks through the metamorphosing relationship of Hispanics with the Republican Party. Conservatives have long contended that Latino/as have a natural affinity for the Republican Party, with its espoused values of faith, family, and freedom. This alleged affinity sits uneasily with the nativist rhetoric and anti-welfare, anti-immigration policies of figures such as Pat Buchanan and Donald Trump. Notwithstanding this tension, Latinos have awarded Republicans one-third of their votes in presidential elections since 1972. Cadava traces this party loyalty to Cold War-era anticommunism, as well as concerted efforts by the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush administrations to court Latino voters. The author also highlights the diversity among Hispanic communities and causes. Tightly focused on the leaders and events of Hispanic conservatism, Cadava touches only in passing on cultural, liberal, or pre-1950 Latino traditions. Most books concerning Hispanic Republicans are memoirs or commentary, notably Linda Chavez’s Unlikely Conservative, Mike Gonzalez’s Race for the Future, and Leslie Sanchez’s Los Republicanos. In this field, Cadava’s scholarship stands out.
VERDICT An evenhanded and thought-provoking study of Hispanic conservatism.
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