A leader has to fit in the life of the voters to address their needs effectively. Voters elect leaders for what they can do to meet their needs. Immigrants have minimal rights compared to the majority population in the US. Consequently, choosing a leader familiar with their underrepresentation condition would have a positive impact on their rights. Progressive candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believe in social reforms which advocate for immigrant rights in the United States (Wang). Voters pay attention to the social characteristics of candidates and prefer their in-group ones. Arnesen et al. demonstrate how powerful the voters are, especially when they are behind a candidate from their group (46). Voters settle on their choice of a candidate based on how well they familiarize themselves and what the elect can do for their regions. I believe that electing progressive candidates from backgrounds similar to constituents will have a positive effect on the immigrants’ rights.
The level of understanding
Progressive candidates understand the needs of immigrants better to stand for them. According to Wang, a candidate who does not live in the same conditions with his or her constituents cannot adequately meet their needs. Cortez said, “A Democrat who doesn’t send his kids to our schools, doesn’t drink our water, or breathe our air cannot possibly represent us” (Wang). A leader has to fit in the shoes of the voter to adequately represent them. Understanding their conditions of living makes it easy to understand what the voters’ needs are in the order of priority. The voters also consider electing their in-group leader who is conversant with their situations. Therefore, when they come from the same background, they understand the pain and needs of their fellow members in the group. Arnesen et al. provide that voters or immigrants relate well within-group leaders, especially when they know they rhyme with their characteristics (51). Candidates like Cortez familiarize themselves with the immigrants as she is one of them. Also, she was raised by immigrant parents in undesirable conditions and would want to change that. Consequently, such a candidate is in a position to support the reformation of immigrant rights.
Benefit from Supporting
Progressive candidates will support immigrants’ rights which are also to their benefit. Candidates from the same background as immigrants want the same thing as the voters. They want the immigrants to have equal access to national resources as the majorities (Wang). Immigrants, as the minority, do receive the unequal distribution of wealth. Cortez in her fight to the congress position, mentioned that there was the need for Medicare for all and free access to public college (Wang). The progressive candidates, being part of the minority group, have all reasons to stand for immigrants’ rights to access resources. They understand the pain of being left out when the majority are considered for resources. Unequal distribution of resources may occur to the poor population of the majority but is heavily felt by the settlers. Therefore, knowing the need to benefit themselves, the progressive candidates would stand with the immigrants and fight for their needs. According to Arnesen et al., politicians are likely to consider self-interest before those of others (48). Candidates will try to develop their regions before considering others. Consequently, leaders from the same region as immigrants will develop their regions and that way, the minority group benefits too. The development projects will be voiced by these candidates on behalf of the immigrants. Therefore, progressive candidates benefit from supporting the immigration rights to developments.
Persuasion of Vision
The vision of the progressive candidates is to represent the interest of common citizens. The candidates propose social reforms to improve the conditions of the general public as they consider it a human right. Progressive candidates like Cortez have the experience of being underrepresented. According to a story by the New York Times, immigrants are not commonly expected to run for office (Wang). When Cortez started running for Congress, she could not believe in herself as she is used to being in the small margin of representation. In the United States, only a few people from minority groups are in political office. Therefore, when a candidate from the minority groups gets a chance to represent their people, they also fight for their rights. Arnesen et al., state that voters consider the social markers of the candidates to choose those to represent them (47). One of the social markers to consider amongst immigrants is the language. The voters know that when they choose a candidate with whom they share language, they are likely to benefit. Mostly, immigrant candidates will support their fellow immigrants.
The Right to Vote
The progressive candidates understand that immigrants need the right to vote. Candidates who have lived among immigrants know that they barely vote. The American Constitution allows them to cast a vote but the political systems make the voting process hard. Cortez said that she knew her move to win the democratic nomination for Congress was odd considering her background (Wang). Immigrants like her barely elect, let alone winning a democratic nomination. Cortez also mentioned that powerful candidates have wealth, power, and influence, which help them to win elections. Most of the immigrants have no such powers, thus limiting them the chance of winning. Such a leader would understand the need for empowering the immigrants to the ballot. Progressive leaders know that they can only win by the influence of their fellow common citizens. Furthermore, progressive candidates are more likely to win from immigrants’ electorates; thus they will need to make sure they choose by supporting their polling rights. Arnesen et al. provide that in-group candidates support the rights of their fellow group members (56). When the people are considering who they elect for, they prefer a person they can associate with, especially on the level of supporting their rights. Therefore, electing a candidate who understands where the immigrants come from would positively affect the immigrant rights.
Electing leaders with a similar background to the immigrants could have positive effects on immigrant rights. Candidates representing the minority understand the needs of the group; this is the best to represent them. Progressive candidates also know the needs of the inconspicuous population as it is their purpose to ensure they are characterized. Immigrant policies in the US are yet to cover all the rights of the minority groups. The situation is so because there is inadequate representation of the settlers. More immigration policies need to be developed, and that is only possible with increased political representation of the minorities. Therefore, electing candidates who understand the conditions of the ethnic group affects them positively.
Arnesen, Sveinung, et al. “Do Citizens Make Inferences from Political Candidate Characteristics when Aiming for Substantive Representation?” Electoral Studies, vol. 57, 2019, pp. 46-60. Web.
Wang, Vivian. “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: A 28-Year-Old Democratic Giant Slayer.” The New York Times. 2018, Web.