The Hispanic vote could cost President Barack Obama a second term in the White House. Perceptions by the Hispanic community that the president has been less than truthful in his dealings with them could keep them home on Election Day.
While voter polls vary on many points, they agree that as of June 2011 Obama is losing the support of 15 to 26 percent of the Hispanic vote. The major concerns of these voters are economic paralysis, unemployment malaise, and mounting national debt.
In polls of non-economic concerns, a single issue prevails, and that is immigration, on which the president faces a credibility challenge in his re-election bid.
His 2008 presidential campaign focused on getting out the minority vote, and he received 96 percent of the black vote and 67 percent of the Hispanic vote. Among his supporters were young first-time voters, college students, immigrants, and voters unhappy with what they viewed as a wrong direction in the nation’s course.
The black pride vote was understandable. The Hispanic vote was based on Obama’s support of comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for illegal aliens and their families.
Many of Obama’s young supporters are now college graduates who find themselves unemployed and living with their parents. Along with the underemployed, they cannot be counted as sure Obama votes this time around.
For the most part, Black voters remain loyal to the president and will give him at least 80 percent of their vote.
Young Hispanics, except for radical activists, complain that the president “lied” to them, and their vote is uncertain. Senior voters are realizing that the nation’s entitlement programs are in financial trouble, and most legal voters see jobs and the economy as major concerns.
The Obama re-election machine is adjusting its attack posture on a daily basis in an attempt to keep its 2008 voting blocs intact. The president’s campaign stop in Puerto Rico was meant to revitalize his support in the territory that, with unemployment at 17 percent, has less interest in immigration matters than in economic well-being.
Immigration has become a quagmire that Obama could have avoided. His failure to enact immigration reform or at least the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is weakening his leftist base and his Hispanic support.
The Obama DREAM Act to provide college tuition and U.S. citizenship to illegal alien minors up to 26 years of age was defeated by the lame-duck Congress in December 2010.
Hispanic activists and left-wingers are pressing the president to issue an Executive Order (EO) with DREAM Act provisions, including a stop order on all deportations of illegal alien minors up to 26 years of age.
Some supporters also seek comprehensive immigration reform via Executive Order. Thus far, President Obama has declined to use an EO for immigration matters.
Rather than confer with congressional Republicans, the president chooses to use them as whipping-boys for his inaction on immigration legislation — an inaction that has not gone unnoticed by Hispanic voters, as the following news items reflect.
• April 2011. Medill Reports carried an interview with Emma Lozano, an immigration activist in Chicago, who had the following message for President Obama: “We’re getting the s*** kicked out of us by you and your administration . . .” and “Latinos feel used and betrayed.”
• May 6, 2011. The Huffington Post Politics column reported that Hispanic lawmakers were growing increasingly frustrated with Obama and his failure to use his executive authority to change immigration policy.
• May 9, 2011. The Colorlines News Reports noted that President Obama told Latina and Latino celebrities at a White House meeting that he can’t be blamed for following the law. The reporter suggested that the Obama administration tells “bald-face lies”.
• May 10, 2011. A Latino political consultant, Arnoldo Torres, was quoted by Alana Goodman, in the Contentions Section of Commentary Magazine, as saying that he has “never heard as much disenchantment—as much frustration—as much disappointment as he has heard this time around with Obama.”
• May 27, 2011. Mother Jones magazine had a story that showed the liberal left unhappy with the Obama administration’s efforts to deport illegal aliens. The piece quoted Mary Moreno, a spokesperson for the Center for Community Change, who criticized Obama’s deportation of illegal aliens, saying, “It’s like Bush on steroids.”
• June 11, 2011. Hispanic journalist, Ruben Navarrette, Jr., of the Washington Post Writers Group, in a piece entitled, “How Latinos Got Stung,” says President Obama has pulled an elaborate con job on Latino voters. He ends with, “Don’t look now, Latinos, but you’ve been stung.”
A recent meeting between Obama and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) was reportedly “testy”. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a critic of the president’s lack of commitment to passage of the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform, suggests that both he and Hispanic voters may not support Obama in 2012.
President Obama’s mocking of Republicans in his May 2011 immigration speech in El Paso raises doubts as to his sincerity about “constructive and civil debate”. Other segments of the U.S. population join the Latino community in questioning Obama’s sincerity.
Ruben Navarrette’s column could well have concluded: Don’t look now, Americans, but you’ve been stung.
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