David L. Leal

Senior Fellow

David L. Leal is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a 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 US 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 US 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, Education Next, and Nations & Nationalism, and he was elected to a three-year term (2019-2022) on the Council of the American Political Science Association.

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Recent Commentary

Don’t Knock Opportunity

by David L. Lealvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 18, 2021

Demography may not, after all, be destiny. Republicans could earn the Latino vote in California by emphasizing values, personal and financial freedom, and compassion.

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Latinos, Immigrants, And Elections

by David L. Lealvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 6, 2021

David Leal explains how the Latino segment of the US electorate fits into the political landscape.


Winning California’s Latino Vote

by David L. Lealvia National Review
Thursday, April 1, 2021

We have all heard that Latinos turned California blue. According to the familiar story, Governor Pete Wilson and California Republicans played nativist politics in the 1990s by supporting Proposition 187 and other Latino-bashing ballot initiatives.


One In Four Latinos Voted For Trump Last Time. They’ll Likely Do So Again.

by Álvaro J. Corral, David L. Lealvia The Washington Post
Monday, November 2, 2020

With 32 million eligible voters, Latinos are poised to become the largest minority voting bloc in 2020 — up from 27 million in 2016. Some Democrats are hoping this increase will work in their favor. But a look at which groups of Latinos support Trump, and which groups are growing, suggests that may not come to pass.

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Area 45: David Leal On President Trump, Texas, And The Latino Vote

interview with David L. Lealvia Matters of Policy & Politics
Friday, October 11, 2019

Will America’s Latino vote be the “sleeping giant” in the 2020 presidential election?

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.