Meaning, why do they so reflexively vote for the Democrat? Even now, with the economy in the tank, they're still a pretty solid Democratic block. Some of that, I'm sure, has to do with the debate over illegal immigration. There's probably no way around that. But the economic issues -- and certainly the social issues -- would seem to benefit the Republicans.
Today, of the 10 most economically “stressed” counties, seven are majority or heavily Latino, according to The Associated Press.
Theoretically, Republicans should be able to take advantage of this situation. But not with the party’s increasing embrace of its noisy nativist right — evident not only in support of the controversial Arizona immigration law but also in the strong move against “birthright citizenship.” This makes the prospect of earning back President George W. Bush’s 40-plus-percentage-point support difficult at best.
Thus, Latinos remain allied with Democrats whose policies inhibit the growth of construction and manufacturing jobs. This dichotomy puzzles many in the business community.
“You have all these job losses in Latino districts represented by Latino legislators who don’t realize what they are doing to their own people,” said Larry Kosmont, a California business consultant. “They have forgotten there’s an economy to think about.”
Despite that economic logic, Latino Democrats mindlessly follow liberal Democrats such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Henry Waxman of California and Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who represent largely white, affluent white-collar constituencies on issues such as cap and trade and federal regulation of greenhouse gases. Whatever the intent, these policies are likely to further decimate blue-collar employment in Latino districts.
Is there a way to get this fast-growing group to vote for free-market policies? Is there a way to win Latino voters -- without surrendering on the crucial need for border security? How do you talk about the free market, about entrepreneurial capitalism, about a low-tax high-opportunity society, and about border security without turning Latinos off?