May 8, 2006
Sacramento State Bulletin

Lascher to give Presidentís Award lecture

It has been a typically busy semester for Professor Ted Lascher. In the past several months he has turned out research papers for journals on subjects such as macropartisanship in California, ideological trends in the state, and incumbents and their constituencies. And another is on the way looking at compensation for victims of terrorism.

“I enjoy having the opportunity to do a wide range of research. Scholarly work is encouraged here at Sacramento State and it doesn’t have to be in a narrow area,” said Lascher, who has been named the recipient of the 2005-06 President’s Award for Research and Creative Activity.

Lascher, chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration, will receive the President’s Award at a ceremony at 4 p.m., Monday, May 15 in the Hinde Auditorium. After the ceremony, he will deliver a lecture titled “How California Became a ‘Blue State:’ Trends in Ethnicity, Ideology and Political Party Identification.” A reception will follow in the Orchard Suite.

The award is given annually to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to an academic discipline through scholarly activity, research and publication or creative/artistic endeavors. Lascher is the author or co-author of three books and more than dozen articles in refereed journals. His article “Constituency Size and Incumbent Safety: A Reexamination” recently won an award for best article of 2005 in Political Research Quarterly.

In his upcoming lecture, Lascher will discuss how California has increasingly become a state of voters who identify with the Democratic Party despite the election of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Lascher says there have been two eras in recent state political history. First was a period of increasing Republican identification from about 1980 to 1991, followed by an era of increasing Democratic identification, with Democrats attracting more Latino and Asian American voters.

Lascher says that the movement of California Latinos to the Democratic Party is similar to an earlier movement to the Democratic Party 40 years ago by African Americans, who favored President Lyndon Johnson and his support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater. He says Latino voters still remember Proposition 187, a measure aimed at barring many public services to illegal immigrants, and its support by Republicans such as Pete Wilson.

“There is reason to think that widely shared attitudes about anti-immigration efforts may have pushed Latinos toward the Democratic Party, especially those who were young at the time or new to the country,” Lascher says. “It might also have been the case for Asian Americans as well.”

Lascher says it is unclear if increased dissatisfaction with the Republican Party by Latinos will continue. The Republican Party may have more of an opportunity to attract Latino voters with the election of Schwarzenegger with his message of inclusion and with his background as an immigrant himself, says Lascher.

He says the debate on immigration will be an important factor for Latinos in deciding their political party identification.

“I think that Republican strategists need to worry that the political imagery that Latinos associate with the parties may already have become frozen as has occurred for other groups following periods of major social conflict,” Lascher says.

— Ted DeAdwyler


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