The GOP may not be the only party finding itself in hot water with the Latino electorate in 2012.
Adriana Villavicencio recently presented poll numbers showing President Obama beating his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, by 34 points among Latino voters. “Political analysts,” she writes, “are calling these gaps the Republican Party’s ‘Hispanic problem’ and suggest that it may mean losing the support of Latinos beyond the 2012 election.”
Still, what the numbers don’t acknowledge is the extreme level of dissatisfaction toward Obama and the Democratic Party among likely Latino voters – well, may be unlikely now.
The cause of Democratic ineffectiveness at serving the interests of the Latino slice in the party’s base is two-fold.
First, it’s no secret that the Republican Party, “the party of Lincoln,” has become the party of extreme backwardness in terms of social policy (and some might say fiscal policy, as well). GOP leaders increasingly sound as though they’d like another shot at reversing the gains won by the civil rights and women’s lib movements.
Romney then, if he would cater to such demands, would willingly strap America to the top of “Doc” Brown’s DeLorean, gun it to 88, and take the country back to 1955 (you know, when America was – oh, how shall I put this? – fairer.)
The GOP’s shift to just right of guano and just left of Goebbels has had the unfortunate consequence of pulling the Dems further to the right, as well; the Democratic Party is now – no doubt about it – the centrist (spineless) party.
Second, Obama and the Dems appear to be under the assumption that as long as the GOP remains the crotchety old fogies in the room slipping further and further into senility, the Democratic base (women, blacks, Latinos, tree-huggers, seal-huggers, etc.) will continue opting for the jackass party.
The Dems’ pitch to Latinos this year: “We might be a party of utter dead-beats, but the other guys are f—ing lunatics!”
Is it a winning strategy?
So far, yes. I mean, if the choice is between a commander-in-chief who does little for people like me and a tin man who wants to fight the civil rights battles again so that he can roll back the last 50 years of social reforms, I’ll slap on the “Forward 2012” bumper sticker today – right next to the “Hope 2008” one (those were the days).
And speaking of, let’s be clear: there is a clear distinction between the two major parties. It may not be the kind of distinction that most progressives and others in the Democratic base would prefer, but there’s a distinction, nonetheless.
One party wants to deport any undocumented immigrant who wouldn’t qualify for the DREAM Act; the other party wants to deport any undocumented immigrant – period. One party wants the federal government to recognize gay marriage rights; the other party doesn’t want to recognize gays – period. One party wants to initiate federal programs to help the poor and middle-class, making more jobs available to them; the other party wants to give the rich more food in hopes that the poor will have more crumbs.
Effectively, however, one party does few things, while the other party does bad things.
So, Latinos will probably vote for the Dems again this time around, too, because the alternative is unimaginably awful.
But if nothing changes, this’ll be the last time.