Commentary: Hard line on immigration will cost Republicans

Miami HeraldAugust 26, 2010 

Republican Party candidates who won Tuesday's primary elections have gone so far to the right on the immigration issue, that they may have shot themselves in the foot.

Look at what happened in Florida and Arizona, the two states with heavy Hispanic populations that held primary votes Tuesday for November's mid-term congressional and gubernatorial elections.

In both states, some of the most closely watched Republican primaries were won by hard-liners who support Arizona-style anti-immigration laws, or by moderates who shifted to the right and backed tougher anti-immigration laws shortly before the vote under pressure from the conservative wing of their party.

How are these Republican candidates going to woo Hispanic voters in November?

Granted, Hispanics nationwide vote heavily Democratic — President Barack Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry had won 59 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2004 — but Republican candidates in most of the country's largest states can't win without a sizable minority of the Latino vote.

You don't have to be a political wizard to figure that Democrats will put out ads in Hispanic media in coming weeks painting Republicans as the anti-Hispanic party that wants to enact Arizona-styled laws throughout the country and that is calling for denying U.S. citizenship to U.S.-born children of undocumented residents. And they will have plenty of primary-race TV footage to back up their claims.

That's bound to energize Hispanic voters to get out to the polls and vote Democratic in November, when the Obama administration will desperately need them to avert a possible Republican takeover of Congress.

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