Before you watch the video below of President Barack Obama telling an immigrant rights supporter that the person should be “protesting Republicans” at a rally for Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, we will say this: the White House continues to be out of touch with U.S. Latino voters. It is disrespectful and incredibly stale. It shows how disinterested the President has become when it comes to pushing immigration reform. Latino voters are incredibly aware about such disinterest and it’s not for just President Obama, it’s also for other future presidential candidates.
Here’s the thing: U.S. Latino voters, of whom over half identify themselves as independent, continue to lose faith in Democrats. Need proof? See yesterday’s poll results from The Washington Post.
It showed that, among Latinos, 50 percent say it doesn’t matter who wins the Senate come November. And among those who do think it will matter, twice as many say it would be a good thing (30 percent) if the GOP took over as say it would be a bad thing (15 percent).
This is a demographic, we will remind you, that voted 71-27 for President Obama just two years ago. And only 15 percent are concerned about a GOP-controlled Senate.
While there is a fairly big margin of error (plus/minus 10 points) in this sub-sample, those are still striking numbers — and they comport nicely with the idea of Hispanics’ declining faith in the Democratic Party. And if you can’t get voters to believe something will change, it’s hard to make a convincing case to get them to vote.
The current narrative from the White House didn’t work in September and it isn’t working now. Yet, the Catch 22 is clear: when it comes to immigration reform, Republicans are getting more extreme. (And by the way, before any more repeats the President’s call to protest the GOP, see this and this.)
Which leaves the White House, once again, being afraid to lose, instead of wanting to win. Even though there is every indication that the Obama Administration could claim a victory over the “summer border crisis,” it would rather approve the construction of fast-tracked detention centers run by private prison corporations. Such hard reality doesn’t play well at Wisconsin rallies, but it is the truth. And U.S. Latino voters, even when they see arrogant lectures about how people should act politically, are very aware of that truth.
So, enough with the apologists who have no connection to the immigrant rights community. Enough with the lectures and enough with a President who, according to his own former Department of Homeland Security leader, didn’t even meet with DHS when DACA was being considered. That 2012 move to implement DACA went a long way in re-electing President Obama.
Two years later, the President and his handlers have seemed to forgotten that.
U.S. Latino voters, however, have not. A new October 20 poll from Latino Decisions explains:
After learning about the record number of deportations under President Obama, 56% of Latino voters said they were less enthusiastic about Obama and what he has accomplished. Twenty percent said it made them more enthusiastic and 24% said it had “no effect.” After learning that House Republicans never allowed the Senate immigration bill to come up for a vote, a full 58% of voters said that this made them less likely to vote GOP, while 24% said it made them more likely to vote GOP. Eighteen percent said it had “no effect.”
Thinking about the Democratic Party, a majority of Latinos—53%–said the Democratic Party expects Latinos to vote for them but is unwilling to take political risks or take a stand on behalf of immigrants. Twenty-eight percent said the Democratic Party is truly committed to immigrant rights and treats the Latino community like a priority; eleven percent said “neither of these” or “something else”; and seven percent said “don’t know.”
Is the White House even looking at these findings? We venture to say no, since the words coming out of the President these days about immigration are just plain insulting.
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