Sunday, November 29, 2020

Candidates wise to court Hispanic vote

— Whether the code word of the day is “patriotism,” “liberation theology” or “working-class voters,” some will continue to cast this presidential election in the tired old paradigm of black and white. But, I’d ask Barack Obama and John McCain to look beyond all that and consider: What can brown do for you?

The candidates seem eager to find out. Next week, both will come to San Diego to address the 40th annual Conference of the National Council of La Raza, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy organization.

And because this year, neither Obama nor McCain has a lock on Hispanic voters, even if it appears otherwise at the moment. Polls show that among Hispanics, Obama is leading by a 2-to-1 ratio. The presumptive Democratic nominee benefits from what is for most Hispanics, with the exception of Cuban-Americans, a near-hypnotic loyalty to the Democratic brand. That’s poetic since Obama spent the last several months being pummeled by Hispanics’ affection for the Clinton brand.

But don’t count out McCain. Hispanics will vote for the right kind of Republican, i.e. one who doesn’t pick on them to score political points. As the presumptive Republican nominee himself noted in Colombia last week, he has done very well with these voters, earning as much as 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in Arizona in his 2004 re-election. Six years earlier, it was 65 percent.

CNN Politics