- Center for Migration and Development
- PIIRS Migration Lab
- Program in Latino Studies
In this project, Valenzuela researched when, where and why Latinos sometimes hold a strong pan-ethnic identity that is politicized and linked to partisan choices, and when, where and why Latino pan-ethnic identity is sometimes weak or stigmatized and the group is fractured. By addressing questions about the electoral and contextual sources of Latino identity strength and partisan politicization, Valenzuela offers answers critical for understanding Latino voting patterns and, more generally, the recent U.S. elections. His analyses center on Latinos’ exposure to partisan fights in competitive presidential elections where Latinos, as a group, are influential in politics, which unifies by strengthening and politicizing their pan-ethnic identity attachments. Valenzuela will discuss his findings that support his theory that exposure to competitive presidential elections where Latinos are increasingly influential is significantly related to greater Latino exposure to pan-ethnic identity-based campaign targeting, strengthens Latino pan-ethnic unity, and politicizes Latino pan-ethnic attachments into greater support for the Democratic Party and candidates. Together, these findings support a view of group unity and identity politicization as contingent on elite targeting in competitive elections with measurable levels of group influence, contexts where identity entrepreneurs use identity politics to target Latinos in pursuit of their political and policy goals.
Ali Valenzuela’s teaching and research are on U.S. politics, with specializations in Latino voter turnout, public opinion and candidate preferences; immigration; racial/ethnic identity; religion in politics; and experimental methods. His work is forthcoming or has been published in the American Political Science Review, Public Opinion Quarterly, and other peer-reviewed outlets. He is currently writing a book on how competitive elections unify and politicize Latinos in America.
His work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Academies of Science’s Ford Foundation (Postdoctoral Fellowship), the American Political Science Association, Stanford University, Princeton University, Princeton University Center for Human Values, and The Mamdouha S. Bobst Center for Peace and Justice.
Valenzuela holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and a B.A. summa cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles.