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Latino victories have Democrats panicking

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Stewart Lawrence
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      Stewart Lawrence

      Stewart J. Lawrence is a Washington, D.C.-based public policy analyst who writes frequently on immigration and Latino affairs. He is also founder and managing director of Puentes & Associates, Inc., a bilingual survey research and communications firm.

Look closely at the recently-elected 112th Congress. Notice all those bright new faces of “color”? Guess what, most of those faces are Republican. The GOP fielded a large number of ethnic candidates, and, to the surprise of some, a large number won. The new Republican crop includes five Hispanic freshmen, including one woman, Jaime Herrera, who won an open seat in, of all places, Washington. And the two Hispanic Republican candidates in Texas won by defeating Democratic incumbents.

But perhaps even more remarkable were the stunning victories of Marco Rubio in Florida and Susana Martinez in New Mexico. Rubio, who’s Cuban-American, won a blistering 20-point victory in Florida’s three-way Senate race. Democrats were so worried about Rubio winning that they considered forcing their own candidate, Kendrick Meek, out of the race, and casting their lot with former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist. Those rumors only seemed to add fuel to Rubio’s fire; Rubio pulled away during the campaign’s final two weeks.

Martinez won the New Mexico governor’s race by a smaller, but still comfortable, margin. Because both candidates were women — her opponent was Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish — it was an historic race. But Martinez’s victory was even more historic because she’s the first Hispanic female governor in US history. That’s a political breakthrough on par with President Obama’s appointment of Sonia Sotomayor as the nation’s first Hispanic Supreme Court justice.

Except that you’d hardly know that from the current lack of jubilation, even in Hispanic ranks.

Is it any wonder? There are time-honored rules of liberal “identity politics” that dictate that “breakthrough” candidates like Martinez should be liberals, not conservatives. If they’re conservatives, it means, ipso facto, that they aren’t actually “authentic” representatives of their people. Like Clarence Thomas, they’re deemed “sell-outs,” or at best, some strange political mutation.

But both Rubio and Martinez won thanks to strong support from Hispanics as well as whites. Rubio won 55% of the Latino vote in a state where Obama, two years ago, won 56%. And Martinez won twice as much of the Hispanic vote as her GOP predecessor did four years ago.

And here’s something else equally disturbing to Democrats: Rubio and Martinez aren’t just Republicans, they’re Sarah Palin-endorsed Tea Party Republicans. Both oppose an “amnesty” for illegal aliens. Martinez supports tough immigration enforcement, and Rubio says illegal aliens shouldn’t be included in the 2010 US Census. Shocking.

In the coming days and weeks, you’re likely to hear a lot about the Latino vote in Nevada, California, and maybe Colorado. How Latinos rallied to support “pro-Latino” Democrats against big-bad GOP “nativists” like Sharron Angle and Tom Tancredo. And that’s clearly one of the trends that’s still at work in Latino politics. But it’s also the trend that best fits the traditional rules of identity politics, and brings the most comfort to its promoters.

The Rubio and Martinez victories, and the equally under-reported triumphs of Indian-American Nikky Haley and African-American Tim Scott in South Carolina, do neither.

In fact, two important lessons emerged from these elections that should cause Democrats to worry. First, with so few Latinos in high public office, many Latinos are likely to gravitate toward Latino candidates, regardless of their party affiliation. Shared ethnicity counts, especially when there are serious doubts about the efficacy of Democratic incumbents.

That means if Democrats want to limit future GOP Hispanic victories, they’ll need to field more Hispanic candidates of their own. In this election cycle, in stark contrast to 2008, they often took Hispanic voters for granted.

  • ddlargo

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  • brittanicus

    So California’s Sanctuary Cities engorge themselves on taxpayer’s money, thanks to the return of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown. Los Angeles county and San Francisco is drowning in public entitlements being given away as freebies to millions of illegal aliens. Senator Barbara Boxer and ex speaker Nancy Pelosi are hard line liberal progressives, who ideology is you don’t have to work for a living as government will pay your way. Senator Harry Reid who squeaked back to the Senate is another member of the Liberal extremist groups, who has sold his soul for large minority votes, promising the Dream Act–a sleight of hand, to pass a De-Facto Amnesty. The Dream Act will not only reward students of criminal aliens, who stole through our borders. But will also function as a sponsored pass for the whole families to arrive after the newly naturalized students use the “Chain Migration Act” to open the gates to their Immediate Relatives—the spouse, minor children, and parents of adult U.S. citizens.

    Chain Migration refers to the unceasing and often-snowballing chains of foreign nationals who are allowed to immigrate as the law allows citizens and lawful permanent residents to bring in their extended, non-nuclear family members. This Chain Migration is the primary mechanism that has caused legal immigration in this country to quadruple from about 250,000 per year in the 1950s and 1960s to over one million a year since 1990. As such, it is one of the chief menaces in America’s current record-breaking population boom and all the attendant sprawl, congestion, school overcrowding, dwindling energy supplies and other impacts that reduce American’s quality of life. This type of immigration is very dangerous to our society as the US population is beginning to see the light, from the costs brought to them in higher taxes from catering to the illegal alien population by Liberal zealots.

    The Lame Duck Dream Act would explode our population even more and as the Heritage Foundation has projected, at a cost of 2.6 Trillion dollars and millions more uneducated relatives. This certainly will put our Social Security at risk. Senator Reid, Barbara Boxer Diane Feinstein and the creeping fetid fringe groups of Liberal lawmakers are not concerned with the costs, but the amount of votes extended to them by grateful minority blocs in future election, the lobbyists secretive bribes and a need to exert their influence upon America. It’s beyond comprehension that Harry Reid would try for the passage of this Dream Act, when our schools are overcrowded with the children of illegal aliens, the massive cost to taxpayers and the terrible reality of the 15 million jobless rates in this nation. This will add even more red ink to our US deficit and certainly not riding the favorable wave of the Tea Party, to lower taxes and reduce a over encroaching federal government.

    Any new incremental Amnesty–as that is what the Dream Act is, will just keep on attracting the forever poor and desperate across our borders. We must secure our border with an electrified fence, stop the drain on our social services by pregnant women who intentionally birth their children here, to take advantage of instant citizenship for the infant; so all family members can stay. Now is the time to release your anger on all members of Congress, by calling (202)224-3121 beginning this Monday? Learn the reality of illegal immigration at NumbersUSA and which politicians are corrupted at Judicial Watch.

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