|Bye, Bye Immigration? I've now heard two** Latino commentators--an NPR academic and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa--argue that it's mistaken to try to appeal to Latinos only through the issue of immigration, Latinos also care deeply about schools, economic development, etc.|
Now they tell us! For years we've been hearing little except the argument that anyone who doesn't deliver on "comprehensive immigration reform" was going to lose the crucial sleeping giant ethnic swing vote for a generation. Suddenly it's 'Don't be condescending. There are other ways to win over Hispanics.' Glad to hear it.
But why this shift now? I can think of several theories:
1) Obama tried pandering to Latinos on amnesty and drivers' licenses and it didn't work;
2) Now that California is out of the way, Democrats are looking to the general election, and are therefore trying to move away from the immigration issue because a pro-amnesty and pro-license position would cost them centrist votes; Indeed, after his week of immigration-based Hispandering, Obama didn't even mention those issues (or Latinos) in his laundry-listish Election Night speech, at least as far as I can hear.
3) Specifically, Democrats are preparing for a general election campaign against McCain. The legalization issue won't cut against McCain, who is Mr. Legalization. So Dems have to emphasize other issues--e.g., their traditional support for public schools. And maybe--just maybe--they are setting set the stage for a sneak attack against McCain from his right (at least by Hillary, perhaps on the license issue).
4) The Dems are looking beyond even the general election to governing, and they are trying to avoid leaving Latinos with the expectation that "comprehensive reform" will actually be accomplished early in Clinton or Obama's term--something the Dems have no intention of doing because they want to concentrate on health care; 5) Latinos recognize that by seeming to be single issue voters focused obsessively on allowing more Latinos into the country, they are giving themselves a bad name with everyone else. ...
Here is some info from the NYTIMES about the exit polls.
|"The figures on the Latino vote in California alone hold portent, showing a considerable uptick in the number of Hispanic Democrats. Nearly 3 of 10 Democrats here identified themselves as Latinos, according to exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for the National Election Pool. That’s up from 16 percent in the 2004 Democratic primary.|
Despite efforts by Senator Barack Obama to attract more Latinos his way, (including the endorsement of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, a chief architect of the comprehensive immigration bill last year that would’ve offered ways for illegal immigrants to gain citizenship) Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has dominated that bloc here, 69 percent to 29 percent.
Overall, in the states where exit surveys were conducted, Senator Clinton took 63 percent of the Hispanic vote and Mr. Obama 35 percent, on the Democratic side.
For example, Hispanics made up 10 percent of New York’s Democratic primary voters, about the same representation as in the 2004 Democratic primary. There, 73 percent went to Senator Clinton, 26 percent for Senator Obama.
In Connecticut, however, Mr. Obama took 53 percent of the Hispanic vote, which is about 6 percent of the Nutmeg State’s Democratic primary vote. In his home state of Illinois, Mr. Obama won 50 percent of Hispanics, who make up 17 percent of the voters.
In the border states of New Mexico and Arizona, it broke out more evenly. Senator Clinton got 56 percent of Hispanics in New Mexico and 55 percent in Arizona.
Now, the exit surveys also asked voters to list their most important issues, for example the economy, health care, etc. On the Democratic side, immigration was not a choice. (We find that odd, given how important the issue is to Latino voters as a whole and how much weight was given to the idea last year that Republican opposition to overhauling immigration — a plan President Bush had backed — would harm any dream of attracting Hispanic support to the G.O.P. side. Remember the enormous rallies across the country?)"
I can't tell if he is talking overall about Dems, but for immigration not even to show up is ridiculous. If Obama keeps harping on illegals getting driver's licenses it will hurt him in the general. Maybe Kaus is right.