Saturday, July 6, 2013

What a difference immigration reform can make?

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. – who has been led to think he has legitimate prospects for his presidential aspirations – had better be wary of trying to distance himself from immigration reform.

RUBIO: 54? Or 28?
He is one of the eight senators who helped to craft the bill that made it through the Senate, but that the GOP-led House of Representatives wants to trash in favor of their own partisan measure.

IT HELPS THAT Rubio ultimately voted for the bill. He’s on the record. But he’s also on the record as being sympathetic to those interests who would prefer not to have anything to do with immigration reform; and who want to bog down the measure with all kinds of irrelevant measures in the name of “border security.”

Which is really about keeping out people that the ideologues have ethnic-motivated hang-ups about.

If he doesn’t start using his influence to try to sway his alleged allies in the Republican caucus, he’s going to find that his own future will become suspect. The impression that he sat back and let this issue fail can, and will, be used against him.

That was the idea reinforced by the Latino Decisions organization, which released a poll this week that found Rubio could take 54 percent of the Latino vote IF the immigration reform measure passes and it appears that he was a leader.

THAT WOULD INCLUDE 55 percent of Latino voters between 18 and 34, which is a particularly large segment of the contemporary vote.

A Republican taking an actual majority of the Latino vote! Rather than just a large share of it (George W. Bush’s alleged 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004 means he still lost it to Democrat John Kerry)!

We’re talking President Rubio – the first Latino elected president of the United States. And definitely a jolt to the political aspirations of the shrinking-in-influence Cuban exile community!

But according to the poll, it took a lot of prompting by poll-takers to get the Rubio share that large. Because when asked simply who they were inclined to support, only 28 percent of Latinos said they would be willing to support the senator from Florida.

THAT PUTS HIM in Mitt Romney territory. As in a political nalgas-bashing, should he decide to seek the presidency in 2016.

Before the ideologues start ranting and raging, one ought to consider that this would be a case where Latino voters would be more interested in which candidate is looking out for their interests – rather than which one resembles them the most in the mirror!

Isn’t that what they always screech we all should be doing? Or is it just a matter of they think we’re best represented by the people who most resemble them in the mirror?

Because that’s what immigration reform has really become. Aside from the specifics of any policy, it is seen as evidence of how much respect an official has for the growing Latino population. The critics are the ones who just can’t accept it – or in the case of Latinos who support their opposition, the ones who are too eager for their support.

AND THE ISSUE extends beyond Latino political aspirants. The Latino Decisions poll showed that Anglo politicos also will be judged by Latino voters on this issue.

All the talk that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush about reaching out to Latinos to try to include them could be for nothing. He could get 47 percent of the Latino vote if he’s seen as helping advance the issue; or 17 percent if he doesn’t.


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