Defectors: The Rise of the Latino Far Right and What It Means for America (Hardcover)

Defectors: The Rise of the Latino Far Right and What It Means for America By Paola Ramos Cover Image

Defectors: The Rise of the Latino Far Right and What It Means for America (Hardcover)


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An award-winning journalist's deeply reported exploration of how race, identity and political trauma have influenced the rise in far-right sentiment among Latinos, and how this group can shape American politics

Democrats have historically assumed they can rely on the Latino vote, but recent elections have called that loyalty into question. In fact, despite his vociferous anti-immigrant rhetoric and disastrous border policies, Trump won a higher percentage of the Latino vote in 2020 than he did in 2016. Now, journalist Paola Ramos pulls back the curtain on these voters, traveling around the country to uncover what motivates them to vote for and support issues that seem so at odds with their self-interest.
    From coast to coast, cities to rural towns, Defectors introduces readers to underdog GOP candidates, January 6th insurrectionists, Evangelical pastors and culture war crusaders, aiming to identify the influences at the heart of this rightward shift. Through their stories, Ramos shows how tribalism, traditionalism, and political trauma within the Latino community has been weaponized to radicalize and convert voters who, like many of their white counterparts, are fearful of losing their place in American society.
    We meet Monica de la Cruz, a Republican congresswoman from the Rio Grande Valley who won on a platform centered on finishing “what Donald Trump started” and pushing the Great Replacement Theory; David Ortiz, a Mexican man who refers to himself as a Spaniard and opposed the removal of a statue of a Spanish conquistador in New Mexico; Luis Cabrera, an evangelical pastor pushing to “Make America Godly Again;” Anthony Aguero, an independent journalist turned border vigilante; and countless other individuals and communities that make up the rising conservative Latino population. Cross-cultural and assiduously reported, Defectors highlights how one of America's most powerful and misunderstood electorates may come to define the future of American politics.
Paola Ramos is an author and Emmy-Award winning journalist. She is a contributor for Telemundo News and MSNBC, where she is the host of “Field Report.” Ramos is a former Correspondent for Vice News. Prior to her career in journalism, Ramos was the Deputy Director of Hispanic Media for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, a political appointee during the Obama Administration, and served in President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
    She is also a former Hauser Leader in the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, where she received her Master’s in Public Policy, and recently joined the board of trustees of her alma mater, Barnard College. She is the author of Finding Latin-X: In Search of the Voices Redefining Latino Identity. Ramos was born in Miami to Cuban and Mexican parents, grew up in Madrid, and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Product Details ISBN: 9780593701362
ISBN-10: 0593701364
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: September 24th, 2024
Pages: 256
Language: English
"Defectors is a deeply reported, surprisingly personal exploration of a phenomenon that is little understood in our politics: The affiliation of Latino voters with causes and candidates that would seem, at first glance, unwelcoming to them. Paola takes us into the lives of Latinos who support presidential candidates with plans for mass deportations or lead efforts to ban books and stop diversity initiatives. She introduces us to Latinos who patrol the border as vigilantes and Latinos who marched on the Capitol on January 6th. From Miami and the Bronx to Arizona, New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley, Paola shows us why the Latino vote is not just increasingly powerful, but increasingly in flux. It turns out the answers are there if you ask the right questions, and that is exactly what Paola does in this terrific book."
—Rachel Maddow, Emmy award-winning host of The Rachel Maddow Show and New York Times bestselling author of Prequel

"It's hard to fathom how any vulnerable group, be they Latinos, Black, or even white women, can consistently vote for conservative candidates who are hostile to their interests, and their humanity. In Defectors, Paola Ramos seeks to understand ultra conservative Latinos, and instead of lecturing them, explains how they've come to support violent authoritarianism.” 
—Elie Mystal, New York Times bestselling author of Allow Me to Retort

"With both humanizing compassion and sharp urgency, Defectors highlights the voices and ideologies behind our current political moment. Paola deftly shows how historical trauma and cultural values have caused a rightward shift among an increasingly politically active population and reveals why America's Latino voices will matter in this election more than ever, and in every election to come."
—Ana Navarro, Emmy award-winning cohost of "The View"