Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Postmortem: Immigration

CNN has an exit poll showing 71% of Latinos voted for Obama (though I wince when I see Latino listed as "race").

There's not a lot new to say here, at least until we get some exit polls from specific battleground states to see how much the Latino mattered in each one. The bottom line is that this constituency--as diverse as it is--is slipping out of the Republicans' grasp. Many party leaders know this.

What we would reasonably expect, then, is for President Obama to push quickly for immigration reform, before he hits lame duck status. He mentioned it briefly in his victory speech last night. Obama has been claiming for a long time that it is Republicans in Congress who are blocking reform, and this would be evidence one way or another. Republicans, meanwhile, will have to decide whether they want to continue the alienation of Latino voters or get over the "gateway" issue of immigration. If they can get over that hump, then they can focus on other issues they feel makes the party attractive to Latinos. If they can't get over that hump, then increasingly they will find it harder and harder to win a number of states in presidential elections.

We would also reasonable expect very quick attention to the DREAM Act, even before tackling broader reform. Democrats will want Republicans on the record if they oppose the bill, which is very popular nationally.

At any rate, we haven't any real congressional action on reform since 2006, and this is the first time since then that I actually feel something will happen.


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