Publication Date

2014-12-17

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2014-12-17

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Latin American Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2014-10-31

First Committee Member

George A. Yudice

Second Committee Member

Sallie L. Hughes

Third Committee Member

Andrew Lynch

Abstract

In recent years, Latinos in Nevada have increasingly become a highly coveted voting bloc by political candidates campaigning in the state. The national media has elevated them into the political spotlight by highlighting their integral contribution to Obama’s victories in the last two presidential elections. Latino elected officials are also making history in the Governor’s office, numerous city councils, and the state legislature, which boasts more Latino members than ever before. This is a major departure from the state’s early political history that was incredibly exclusive of this population. What caused this sudden upward shift in levels of Latino political incorporation in Nevada? Historically, the state’s Latino community lacked the necessary political opportunities and organizational strength needed to raise its members’ awareness of their oppression to sufficient levels to incite collective action. Using the Political Process Model, this project will analyze the factors that eventually allowed them to do so via the political system. I argue that the elevation of strong Latino community leaders to positions of power, the formation of Pan-Latino grassroots organizations that mobilized the masses, and the proliferation of the Spanish-language media were essential in uniting the rapidly growing population into the political force they are today.

Keywords

Nevada politics; Latino political incorporation; Latinos in Nevada; New immigrant destinations; Political Process Model

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