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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Politics: Bush and the Latino Vote 

This Washington Post article makes it sound like Bush's lack of Latino support has left his re-election hopes reeling. In reality, the 2-to-1 Kerry lead among Latinos represents about the same amount as what VP Gore amassed in 2000.

In other words, there's no news here.

The Republican Party has always trailed Democrats in getting minority votes. But Bush -- whose popularity among Hispanics in Texas helped him win two landslide Gubernatorial elections -- has made progress within the demographic. Before GWB, a mid-20% showing within the Latino community was unheard of. The Bush garnered 35% in 2000, and some GOP strategists think that number could climb to 40% this time.

If it does, Bush could win in a walk this November. Three battleground states, as the article mentions, have high Latino populations (Florida, New Mexico and Arizona). And in Florida, the biggest prize of them all, Bush holds a huge advantage over Kerry. Of course you have to dig deep into the article to find that nugget, perhaps because it works against the propoganda piece's biased premise.

I've touched on minority voting patterns before, and once again, I'll give the Kerry campaign (and the Democratic machine) credit for maintaining their stranglehold in this area. They do a masterful job of wooing minorities, even though I think it's more because of the element of fear that they create, as opposed to their ideology.

Every time John Edwards takes the stump and talks about "two Americas," he plays up on that antiquated notion that the GOP doesn't care about the middle-class and lower-class citizens, among whom minorities often fall. It's a great soundbite.

But what does that say about the rest of the country? Bush and Kerry run even in just about every poll. If the Democrats are getting 90% of the Black vote and 60-70% of the Latino vote, then what about the rest of the country? It tells me that when they're unable to prey upon a platform of inequality, their message doesn't get across so well.


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