Back in 1994, Hispanics in Texas and in California were voting at similar clips for Democrats. That’s when Pete Wilson pushed an anti-immigration initiative and drove a bigger majority of Hispanics into the Democratic column. George W. Bush actively campaigned for Hispanic votes, and ended up drawing almost half of the Latino vote in his 1998 re-elect. Long story short, 1994 is why we are still fighting in Texas over the Hispanic vote, and that’s the subject of a Texas Tribune article today.
Rick Perry understood this in a way many of his brethren didn’t, but now he’s on the sanctuary city bandwagon and whatnot. His party faithful are claiming that they are the rightful heirs to the Hispanic vote because of their socially conservative, pro-business views. I ain’t buying:
“[Democrats] are pushing policies that Hispanics like — and that’s better public schools, more humane immigration policy and economic policies that benefit the middle class,” said Democratic consultant Jason Stanford. “I’ve been chewing Texas Democratic politics since 1994 and I don’t know a soul that has taken the Hispanic vote for granted. Everyone knows that more must be done, that’s never a question.”
Now Republicans are trying to have it both ways on the DREAM Act. It’s not that they’re against it so much as Barack Obama never pushed for it when he had control of Congress. They think the fact that Obama moved unilaterally recently to help millions of immigrant children belittles the achievement.
I say they’re missing the point. When it comes to the Hispanic vote, education is the great unifier and motivator:
Stanford, however, said immigration reform is mistakenly dubbed the issue of utmost importance for Latinos and it is because of that that the Democrats can likely maintain their appeal.
“It gets a ton of attention, but that’s not the Democrats main focus. The Democrats main focus is good pubic schools,” he said. “Ask anyone: ‘What was the biggest issue coming out of the last session?’ and they will say, ‘5.4 billion cut from public schools.’ You ask any reporter and they’ll say voter ID. There is a disparity between what really happened and what gets the most attention.”
Let me know what you think.