August 4, 2010

UNDOING THE DAMAGE PETE WILSON DID:

Meg Whitman’s play for the Latino vote (JAMES HOHMANN, 8/4/10, Politico)

Whitman is not the only Republican candidate making a serious play for Hispanic votes this year, but she stands out as the nation’s most prominent test case of whether Republicans can project a welcoming message as the party’s dwindling base clamors for Arizona-style crackdowns on illegal immigration.

Her struggle to make inroads with this pivotal constituency, which accounts for one-fifth of California’s electorate, captures in miniature the dilemma facing national Republicans. A hard line on immigration might pay short-term dividends in 2010, yet it might also be a risky gamble against the long-term odds of demography.

No state party understands the downside of that risk quite like the Golden State GOP, which has suffered for 16 years now because Wilson tied his 1994 reelection fortunes to the politically expedient Proposition 187, which would have denied public services to illegal immigrants had a federal judge not ruled it unconstitutional.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 4, 2010 5:18 AM
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