Monday, September 17, 2007

Assumptions about the "Latino vote"

The Wall Street Journal has a story on courting the Hispanic vote, which I found very superficial. The problem that this and many other popular analyses have is that they treat Latinos as a bloc, assume that they are united about immigration policy, and then assume they base their vote largely on a party’s perceived stance on immigration policy. No mention, for example, about whether Cuban Americans in Florida have the same political goals as Mexican Americans in Arizona. Other differences include younger vs. older, foreign born vs. native born, or even the way in which someone became a citizen (originally undocumented or not, for example).

Those sweeping assumptions then leads to other sweeping assumptions:

Republican opposition to immigration overhauls could further mobilize Hispanic voters and drive them from the Republican Party, some analysts warn. They see a parallel to California in 1994. That year, Republicans passed Proposition 187, which denied illegal immigrants public services but was later ruled unconstitutional in federal court. The measure alienated Hispanic citizens and Republican candidates have fared poorly in the state ever since.

California has a Republican governor and is home to two of Congress’ more outspoken Republican anti-immigrant members, Duncan Hunter and Brian Bilbray. California politics do not revolve around immigration alone.


Miguel Centellas 11:18 AM  

Yes. And many Hispanics in the US are actually strongly for stricter immigration controls, since established immigrants face similar job competition from recent immigrants. Not to mention that many religious Hispanics (both Catholics & Evangelicals) are likely to cozy up to the GOP on "moral" issues. Which is perhaps why nearly half of Hispanics voted for Dubya in 2004.

Greg Weeks 2:29 PM  

Yes, the "morality vote" in particular is definitely also overlooked.

Anonymous,  8:14 PM  

I don't consider 44% to be "nearly half," at least not in an election that was decided nationally by almost equal halves. (See CNN 2004 exit poll.)

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