An important and (albeit controversial) theme in the Dominican-American community is bi-nationalism and transnationalism in which Dominican-Americans continue to show great pride in their homeland as you can see with the flags hanging from their fire escapes, or the habichuela con dulce lady on Burnside. And maintain strong ties to the Dominican Republic, and at the same time embrace and engage the United States. This is well known anecdotally when having a conversation or interacting with Dominican Americans, but the survey that we commissioned was able to quantify it. It looked at the extent to which these transnational ties remain as well as to assess how a sense of transnational connection may serve as a bridge to further engagement in politics in America. Dominicans are beating the stereotype and proving to the general public that the Kardashians are not the only public figures they follow- they also follow political figures. We can observe a pattern of higher levels of interest and engagement in politics in the U.S. among those with the higher levels of engagement with homeland issues.
To start, those with higher levels of transnational engagement have higher levels of following politics in the U.S. Among those with higher DR-engagement, 45% say they read/watch 4 or more news stories about issues and politics in the U.S. compared to just 26% who read/watch 4 or more in the lower DR- engagement category. This means that those with high transnationalism are also much more likely to reject the cynical view that “voting is just not for me” or “yo voto basura,” with 79% of those with high DR-ties rejecting that view compared to 57% among those with low DR-ties. Respondents with higher DR‐engagement are more likely to be persuaded by a chance to elect more Dominican Americans to office.
Not surprisingly, they are very likely to be motivated by Dominican advocacy groups and events that stress both Dominican Republic and Dominican American issues. Fully 91% of those with high DR-ties said they would be interested in participating in such transnational events in their city. However, we should note that even among those with lower DR-ties, the survey still finds that 71% are interested in participating in such transnational events, suggesting that even for those who may not be as actively engaged with homeland issues, there remains a powerful draw for transnational and homeland politics, especially if it is coupled with a focus on Dominican American issues.