February 20, 2008


McCain's Rise May Upset Democrats' Western Strategy (Jonathan Weisman, 2/20/08, Washington Post)

For Democrats, 2008 was supposed to be the year of the Mountain West, when three years of relentless Republican attacks on undocumented immigrants would fuel a backlash among Hispanics that would change the playing field in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and perhaps alter the landscape of presidential politics for a generation.

But the emergence of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as the likely standard-bearer for the GOP may have scrambled the equation, cooling a potential political revolt among Hispanics and sending Democrats in search of a new playbook.

"It completely screws it up," said Charles Black, a senior McCain adviser. "We nominated the one person who will not suffer that backlash." [...]

Even as McCain moves to heal intraparty wounds on the immigration issue, Democratic community organizers in the West say his past battles with other Republicans over a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants left an imprint on the Latino community that will not quickly fade.

"The issue of immigration is a litmus test in the Latino community," said Grace Lopez Ramirez, director of the Mi Familia Vota campaign in Colorado. "They will at least be more interested in listening to him."

While the Latino vote wasn't a major factor all along, it's interesting to note that Ike was the last elected Republican from outside of CA and TX.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 20, 2008 7:50 AM

And it should be noted that Ike's (and Bob Dole's) boyhood state of Kansas has its own communities that are now Latino enclaves. Communities like Dodge City, a prominent symbol of the Cowboy Way and the Old West as you'll ever find.

It should also be noted that the county in which Dodge City resides has voted for Bush by at least a 3-1 margin in each election. As have the counties that host other nuevo-Latino enclaves like Lexington (NE), Fort Morgan (CO) and Garden City (KS). The future of Latino settlement lies in these communities.

Posted by: Brad S at February 20, 2008 9:50 AM

Ike was born in Denison, Texas. The last GOP Prez with no ties to either state was Calvin Coolidge.

Posted by: AC at February 20, 2008 6:25 PM