March 30, 2009


GOP must call Obama’s bluff on immigration (JACOB MONTY, 3/29/09, Houston Chronicle)

Even in a year when total voter turnout increased dramatically, Hispanics managed to boost their share of the vote from 8 percent to 9 percent, giving Barack Obama a lopsided margin of 68 percent to 31 percent, the most for a Democrat since 1996. The numbers represented a sharp dropoff in Hispanic support for Republicans since the Bush-Cheney high water mark of 40 percent just 4 years ago.

What’s received less attention is the impact Hispanics had on down-ticket races. Latinos supported Democrats in races for the Senate and House by even slightly higher margins than they gave Obama. The Pew Hispanic Center, using exit polls published by CNN, has estimated that Hispanics’ share of the vote increased most significantly in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, where they helped elect two new Democratic senators and four new Democrats to the House. All four states were carried by Bush in 2004.

If Republicans don’t reverse these trends, Hispanic voting patterns could change the political landscape well into the next decade and beyond. Increasing numbers of Hispanic voters could play a critical role in the 2010 Senate races in Colorado and Florida, where they comprised 13 percent and 14 percent of the vote in 2008 and gave Obama 61 percent and 57 percent of their votes, respectively. Arizona, Colorado and Nevada will also be likely battlegrounds for the 2010 governors’ races, which will be critical in setting district lines for congressional and legislative races for the next decade.

Hispanics — entrepreneurial, family-oriented, suspicious of labor unions, strongly anti-abortion and supportive of traditional marriage — are a natural constituency for the GOP. Nevertheless, the extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric of many in the so-called Republican “base” has created a huge obstacle to the party’s appeals. For Hispanics, the Republican brand is tarnished if not toxic.

...and go to the polls in 2008 with John McCain building on W's performance and running against a black Democrat and you had the ideal scenario for the Republicans becoming the party of Hispanics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 30, 2009 1:36 PM
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