An interesting tidbit from last week’s election as the GOP failed to pick up a single seat in the West Coast and Pacific Rim states. Exit polls also showed that they did not do well at all in states with large Hispanic populations.
Hotline on Call says that immigration issues motivated Hispanic voters to head to the polls and vote overwhelmingly against Republican candidates.
Latinos made up 18 percent of the electorate in Nevada, exactly the same number as in 2008, despite some polls suggesting Latinos weren't enthused about this election -- and voted 68 percent for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid(D). Republican Sharron Angle's crude imaging of Latinos as illegal law-breakers likely played a significant role.
In California, the turnout was even more incredible -- 22 percent of the electorate was Hispanic, a higher share than in 2008. And they broke as heavily for Democrats -- 64 percent backed Democrat Jerry Brownand 65 percent for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D).
The leading illegal immigration restrictionist on the ballot, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, only managed 37 percent of the vote in the Colorado gubernatorial contest -- despite becoming the de facto GOP nominee.
Clear majorities of Hispanics also voted against Senator John McCain and Governor Jan Brewer in Arizona.
Those numbers show that immigration could be an Achilles heel for the GOP in the West in 2012.
However, some say the Democrats cannot simply stand by and watch the GOP alienate this group of voters. Adam Serwer of the American Prospect says the Left will have to do more, and soon.
I still believe there will ultimately be consequences if the Democrats fail to offer any tangible accomplishments. We'll probably also see more attempts by Republicans to end birthright citizenship, but since we're not amending the Constitution any time soon, that's not going to work either and ultimately just plays into Democrats' hands by further racializing the Republican approach to immigration.
Latinos are so diverse culturally that the only reason they vote as a bloc at all is because they continue to have collective interests as Latinos. That has more to do with a shared experience of discrimination than a shared culture; the more immigration policy becomes pretext for targeting Latinos, the more likely they are to vote this way.