Saturday, July 20, 2024

Is the Hispanic Vote Really 'Up for Grabs'?

Newsweek claims that Barack Obama seems to hold an insurmountable lead over John McCain and that perhaps Hillary Clinton supporters will indeed flock to Barack Obama come November….

One of the most persistent myths of the interminable Democratic primary clash was that Hispanic voters didn’t like Barack Obama. (The oft-cited but largely inaccurate reason: his race.) Yes, Latinos preferred Hillary Clinton to Obama; her longstanding ties to the community (and her husband’s popularity) typically gave her a two-to-one edge over the Illinois upstart. But pundits too often predicted–illogically–that this outpouring of Latino support for Clinton in the primaries would translate into lack of support for Barack Obama in the general election. They’ve been proven wrong

Of course, Election Day is still four months away. John McCain has long history of appealing to Hispanics. He won 54% of the Hispanic vote in the Florida primary, for example, and often boasts that 70 percent of Hispanics supported him in the 2004 Arizona Senate race. Most importantly, he famously broke with the GOP to cosponsor comprehensive immigration reform in early 2007. But the problem for McCain is that he’s spent the year or so since his bill failed trying to reassure the right wing that he’s not “soft” on immigration, and will find it difficult in the coming months to reach out to Hispanics on the issue without offending the Republican base. (He’s already in hot water for secretly meeting with Latino leaders in Chicago last week.)

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