Memo to the
The fastest growing demographic in
Exit polls indicate Latino voters were decisive in turning
A full 71 percent of Latinos voted for
Not that Obama has done Latinos many favors. He has failed to deliver on his campaign promise of 2008 to reform the nation's dysfunctional immigration system. His administration has deported more undocumented immigrants than any other in history. He has authorized building detention centers, holding prisons for undocumented immigrants awaiting deportation, as if they were handing out zoning approvals for fast food restaurants.
Yet despite everything, Latinos handed
Why? Because the Democrats and Obama can still make a convincing case that immigration reform is important to them. They have declared their support for the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legal status for people brought here illegally as children, providing they meet certain criteria. The president and his party have stood for legal protections against discrimination and for policies that improve the lives of wage earners. They have by and large treated Latino Americans as a respected segment of the nation's body politic.
The same has not been true of the
Let's recall Romney on the campaign trail, pitching the idea that undocumented immigrants would self-deport. Why would they do that? Because his immigration policies were going to make life unpleasant enough for these people that they would pack up and leave.
Right. Immigrants who willingly spent weeks traveling by foot to come to
Yet Romney bought into this half-baked theory promoted by
As it happens, while immigration has become something of a political litmus test for Latino voters, it's not their greatest concern. In exit polls, they consistently cited education, healthcare, the economy, crime and jobs as the political issues most important to them. Not immigration.
Yet the reality is, even in our Post-Racial Presidency Part II, that too many Americans still see brown. They hear a Spanish surname and immediately think "immigrant and Spanish-speaking."
They tend to lump all Latinos together, whether they are Cuban, Salvadoran or Guatemalan. They find it hard to distinguish a second-generation Latino from one whose family has lived in
It's nonsensical. It's ignorant of U.S. history and current trends. But it is still largely the case. And Latinos know it.
So when they hear the sort of inhumane barbs that came out in the
Recall that not only did the
Republicans haven't always been this cold and irrational. Whatever one may think of
As U.S.-born and naturalized citizens, Latinos will play a large role in America's future. Republicans need not fear this. Indeed, they would be wise to find new ways to appeal this voting bloc. It's a matter of respect.
Read the latest political news.
- Corporate Bosses Gone Berserk
- The Trojan Horse in the Debt Debate
- The Real Problem with Military Spending
- Without Unity, We'll Tumble Over the Fiscal Cliff
- The Classy Election of 2012
- Karl Rove: The Biggest Loser in Politics
- Will the Supreme Court Dismantle the Voting Rights Act?
- The Pollution of Political Discourse
- The Sad State of Zealots with Microphones
- Mitt Romney's Uncertain Legacy
- Obama's Re-Election: Oh, We Forgot to Tell You ...
- Republicans and Democrats Playing Game of Economic Chicken
- Petraeus Yet Another High-Ranking Military Official Mired in Scandal
- David Petraeus: Sex and the City (of Washington)
- David Petraeus: What Obama Did Not Need to Know
- David Petraeus: The Public's Need to Know or Not
- The French View of The Petraeus Sex Scandal
- Mitt Romney's 'Gifts' Gaffe
- Mitt Romney Self-Destructs Again
- Ballot Measures Reveal Electorate No Longer in a Tea Partying Mood
- Real Facts Catch Up with the GOP Spin Doctors
- 2012 Election Results: Changing America
- 2012 Election Results: The Right Is Not Waving a White Flag
- Whither the GOP?
- GOP's Biggest Problem is Itself
- 2012 Election Results: Compassionate Conservatism Redux
- Election was a Turning Point for Latinos
- Republicans Need to Rethink Future; Latinos Here to Help
- 2012 Election Results: Once Again, Florida is the National Punchline
- GOP Defeated by Single Women
- 2012 Election Results: The Mandate
- 2012 Election Results: A Victory for Creatures of the State
- Let's Make Sure Every Vote Matters
- Obama Re-Elected as President
- Obama Victory Speech Talks About Reconciliation and Hope
- Romney Ends Presidential Run, Congratulates Obama's Election Win in Concession Speech
- GOP Retains House Majority But Democrats Keep Control of Senate
- Obama Re-election the Result of Increasingly Diverse Electorate
- Voters Said No to 'Politics of Pitchforks'
- Obama Presses On
- Four More Years of Decline
- An America Yet to Be Born
- Democrats' Medicare Offensive Falls Flat Against GOP
- Federal Deficit Talks Could Impact Obama's Moves On Health Law
- Groundhog Day in America
- 10 Reasons Latinos Voted for Obama
- The New American Civil War
- What's Next?
- Nate Silver's Numbers Racket
- Florida Voters Won't Be Fooled Again -- or Will We?
- A Date with History: The Cuban Missile Crisis
- United States Presidential Elections in Perspective
- Early Latino Turnout Could Swing Vote
- A Letter to Women Voters
- The Final Days, The Biggest Issue and The Clearest Choice
- Another Electoral College Nightmare?
- Why We're Still in Deep Trouble No Matter Who Wins The Presidency
- FEMA vs 'Romnesia'
- An Unscripted October Surprise
- Stormy Weather Politics
- Storm Saves Obama From Himself
Republicans Need to Rethink Future; Latinos Here to Help | Politics
(c) 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc