post-election analysis now shows 20 of 22 battleground races we tracked favoring candidates who took a more comprehensive approach on immigration. How many did hardliners win? Two. " />

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Full throttle on the wrong track

by Frank Sharry on 12/05/2008 at 1:44pm

Cross-posted at Huffington Post

train wreckJoshua Hoyt, executive director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, had a thorough piece in today’s Chicago Tribune on just what derailed the GOP this election:

As the Republican Party surveys its post-election train wreck, the pain must be even greater knowing that, with Hispanic voters, the GOP drove itself off the track.

Hispanics voted 67 percent for Barack Obama, playing a key role in flipping Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida to the Democratic column. The growing Hispanic vote in Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania was important to Democratic victories in close races in those states. Even more frightening for Republicans is the strong possibility that Latino voters could soon deliver Texas and Arizona to the Democrats. If this happens, Republicans can turn out the lights on their presidential hopes, lock the door and go on vacation for a decade or three.

As predicted at the start of Immigration08.com, the GOP immigration wedge strategy became a serious liability for the Republican Party at every level of the electoral contest this year. With the addition of Virgil Goode, Immigration08.com’s post-election analysis now shows how immigrant hardliners fared in 22 battleground races.

How many races did hardliners win?

Two.

Hoyt continues, in “Full Throttle on Wrong Track“:

The limited appeal of Immigration demagoguery and the lasting toll it is going to take on the GOP became clear early this year. Mitt Romney tried to win Iowa and New Hampshire as an anti-immigrant hard-liner. He was beaten by Mike Huckabee and McCain. Then Hastert’s seat was lost in the humiliating defeat of Illinois’ leading Immigration demagogue, ice cream magnate Jim Oberweis—in part because Latinos voted overwhelmingly against him.

On Nov. 4, more than 10 million Latinos cast ballots, almost three times as many as had voted 16 years ago. Latinos subjected the GOP to a convincing act of collective punishment, despite McCain’s efforts to turn back the nativists in his party. An exit poll in Illinois found 68 percent of Latino voters consider the Republican Party not favorable toward immigrants. And, as Republicans are finally noticing, Latinos are voting in great numbers in critical presidential swing states. In a recent Newsweek column forlornly titled “A Way Out of the Wilderness,” Rove dryly noted: “An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal.”

Well, Rove isn’t the only Republican experiencing buyer’s remorse on the immigration wedge strategy. Washington Post writer Eugene Robinson recently commented on the GOP Latino voter loss:

How did the Republicans manage this feat? By blocking sensible immigration reform and appealing to the red-meat conservative base with rhetoric that could only be taken as xenophobic.

Come 2010, will the GOP finally get the memo and cut out the red meat?

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