The Real Clear Politics average of Latino vote shows that President Obama has a 52-point lead over former Governor Romney among this crucial demographic. That’s the largest Democratic advantage among Latinos ever recorded.
Just eight years ago, President Bush’s 40% of the Latino vote was a significant part of both his comfortable Electoral College win and his sizeable advantage in the popular vote over Senator John Kerry.
Without a doubt, President Obama’s Executive Dream Order played a role in this year’s lopsided Latino voter preference. But former Governor Romney’s primary debate comments about self-deportation surely contributed at least as many votes.
But Latino voters, there is a risk in going all in for one political party. You may be taken for granted. Latinos risk the promise of immigration reform becoming just one more safe bi-annual political promise used like “ a woman’s right to choose” to elicit an expected response with no intention of follow through.
Over the last four elections, immigration reform has become more a political wedge issue than a commitment to real reform. Since President Bush tried to find a bi-partisan compromise prior to the 2006 mid-term elections; has there been a single comprehensive immigration bill introduced in Congress or a specific proposal even discussed? When immigration reform has been included in the State of the Union message, it has focused on Ph.D. candidates and not on the mass of Latinos living on the fringes of American society.
Then, there are the rumblings of economic competition coming from other ethnic groups that Democrats consider their base. If immigration reform reached the floor of Congress before the 2014 election, could you count on the support of all Democratic members? And what incentives are you offering Republicans for taking the risky vote to support reform?
Last, consider history. It was Republican President Reagan who supported and signed Simpson/Mazzolii Immigration Reform in 1986. The two sitting Latino Governors, Susana Martinez (New Mexico) and Brian Sandoval (Nevada) could not have been elected without the support of Latino voters. Now that you’ve helped them get elected, shouldn’t you be equally committed to insuring their success because it is, also, your success – economically, educationally and socially?
Latinos, like all Americans, have too much at stake to be lured by the siren promises of a single political wedge issue. Your votes are a valuable commodity and it’s up to you to make both parties fight for your vote – just as you did in 2000 and 2004.