David L. Leal

Visiting Fellow
Biography: 

David L. Leal is Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin.  His primary academic interest is Latino politics, and his work explores the political and policy implications of demographic change in the United States.  He teaches classes on Latino Politics, Immigration Policy, Politics and Religion, and the U.S. Congress.  He has written one book, edited eight volumes, and published over forty articles in political science and other social science journals.  He has been an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the office of a U.S. senator, a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Japan, and a visitor at Nuffield College at Oxford University.  He is a member of the editorial boards of Social Science Quarterly and Education Next.  In 2013, he was named a Distinguished Alumni Scholar by Stanford University, where he received his undergraduate degree.  He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University in 1998.

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Recent Commentary

Blame Canada! An Occasionally Serious Overview of US-Canada Relations

by David L. Lealvia PS: Political Science & Politics (University of Cambridge)
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

An unaccustomed spark of celebrity animated Canadian politics in 2015 when Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, led the Liberal Party to its first parliamentary majority since 2006. Since the election, the new Prime Minister has added a touch of glamor to a country whose politics are earnest but perhaps just a little dull.

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Will Brexit Break The "Special Relationship"?

by David L. Lealvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Britain unmoored from Europe may not be an enticing partner for Washington.

Recent veterans are more Republican than older ones. Why?

by David L. Leal, Jeremy M. Teigenvia The Monkey Cage (Washington Post)
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Military veterans matter in American electoral politics, both as candidates and as voters. In the 1970s, three-quarters of congressmen were veterans, but now only about 20 percent have served. About half of this country’s major party presidential candidates, from George Washington to today, have served in uniform.

Prospects for Change

by David L. Lealvia New York Times, Room for Debate: Why Congress Falters on Immigration
Friday, December 10, 2010

Congress is an institution with many “veto points,” meaning opportunities to defeat a bill. This is another way of saying that it is easier for members of Congress, as well as interest groups, to play defense than offense. This is particularly the case in the Senate, with its famous filibuster. Assembling winning coalitions in Congress, followed by a presidential signature, is rarely easy. It is much more difficult in this highly partisan era.