Mitt Romney has been hitting the illegal immigration issue hard every since Iowa to gin up support within Conservative base. In Florida, Mitt Romney at every campaign stop was preaching against Kennedy/McCain Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, trying to tie McCain to amnesty. It worked, Conservative did vote for Mitt Romney over John McCain in the primary. But, Hispanics deliver Florida for McCain.
According to the exit polls Mitt Romney and John McCain tied 33% to 33% among the 89% of the Florida Republicans who voterd last night who were not Hispanic. Among Hispanics, who where 11% of the Florida GOP electorate last night, the vote was 54% McCain, 24% Rudy and 14% Romney. So it was the vote of Hispanic voters who put John McCain over the top in Florida, and gave him the most important win of his fight for the GOP nomination.John McCain won the non-Cuban Hispanic vote over Romney by 51 to 21.
Thus, John McCain, the candidate who championed immigration reform, may have had the nomination delivered to him by those Hispanic voters he has been fighting for. And Romney, who has led the anti-immigrant crusade in the GOP field this year, saw this strategy explode on him - as it has virtually every other Republican who has invested in it - last night.
McCain does not support the Kennedy/McCain Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill anymore in an attempt to win over Conservatives, but this rhetoric has not been over the top. Immigrant-bashing is still going to play a role in the 2008 elections. The Conservative base always need someone to demonize and ‘Mexicans’ are their next target.
Today — with the nation bogged down in a disastrous war, oil prices at $100 a barrel, climate change cooking the planet and the economy veering into recession — the geniuses vying to lead the Republican Party have decided what's really wrong with America: Mexicans. [..]It is so bad that Grover Norquist is now the voice of reason within the Republican base.
Exploiting the spasm of xenophobia that has taken hold of the GOP base helped Huckabee win Iowa — where entrance polls found illegal immigration the primary issue among the party's voters. But top Republican strategists are petrified that pandering to a narrow band of nativists will ruin the GOP's future with the nation's fastest-growing bloc of voters.
Grover Norquist, a top ally of Karl Rove, believes that the "vicious" rhetoric by GOP candidates could prompt Hispanics to flee "in droves" to the Democrats. "Talking about a strong border is one thing," Norquist says. "It's when you get into enforcing the law — which means deport — that you lose people's votes. Oddly enough, people resent the idea that you might throw their mother out of the country." [..]The last paragraph is dead on.
Yet despite such evidence, the Republican candidates continue to undercut one another in a race to the xenophobic bottom. At every event, says Norquist, the candidates "get further and further right — it's not even right, it's just further and further hostile — trying to outdo each other. They somehow think that by putting the word 'illegal' in front of immigrant, they've cleared themselves of any ethnocentric bigotry: 'Oh, I'm only against the illegal ones.' Ha."
That equation, experts say, misses the reality of most immigrants, whose families are a mix of citizens, permanent residents who want to become citizens and undocumented immigrants desperate to get legal status. "When the candidates say they're for legal but not illegal immigration," says Sharry, "what they're saying is 'We want to deport your brother. We want to deport your cousin. The child who came with you — but not the children who were born here — would have to go home.'"
My two brothers and I were born here in America, but my parents were illegal immigrants at the time. Under President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty in the 80’s, my parents were able to become citizens in the 90’s. This issue hits me close, if Reagan’s amnesty was never put into law, the Republicans right now would be trying to deport my parents. Some of them are even go as far as trying to rewrite the Constitution to prevent the children of immigrants born in the U.S.A from receiving citizenship.
Why would I and any member of my family or the Hispanic Community vote for a political party that is trying deport our family members or trying to take the rights of citizenship out the Constitution?