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Six Reasons Why Latinos May Stay Home on Election Day

The Latino community's disgust for Obama has turned into contempt for the man and his policies.

by
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Bio

April 29, 2011 - 12:00 am
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There’s more news on the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Mr. Obama and Latinos. A constituency that, just two years ago, handed over 67 percent of their vote to Obama is now protesting in the street, as occurred during President Obama’s recent trip to Los Angeles.

But to understand just how bad things have gotten, and to put it in context, you have to know six things:

1)    The criticism that Obama caught from Latinos in the first 18 months of his administration for breaking his promise to make immigration reform a top priority is a love tap compared to what has rained down upon him more recently for his atrocious behavior with regard to deporting illegal immigrants. That includes using the 287g program to allow local law enforcement to round up, and give to the feds, as many illegal immigrants as possible with the surgical precision of a meat cleaver;

2)    One thing that has really irked many Latinos is the fact that the administration is so cavalier about its record number of deportations — nearly 800,000 in its first two years — that it sends Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano out to brag about the take like a proud fisherman posing for a picture with the daily catch;

3)    The reason for that is because Latinos — whether naturalized citizens, or eighth-generation residents of the Southwest — take deportations seriously. More to the point, they take them personally. Most of them won’t bat an eye if you remove a 20-something single man with no family. But when you start uprooting and deporting grandma, grandpa, mom and dad — people in which other people’s lives are wrapped up — look out;

4)    There is always a group of Latino voters out there who are just waiting for Democrats to betray them, as if to confirm their cynical belief – from the old countries — that all politics is corrupt and all politicians beyond redemption. And so when a Democratic elected official betrays them, they’ll pounce;

5)    Ever since 1994, when Republicans threw the very first immigration piñata party, demonizing and scapegoating immigrants and all Latinos to scare up votes here and there, Latinos have been on edge. It hasn’t helped calm fears any that, in the 17 years since then, there have been – at the state, local, and federal level – dozens of similar attempts to score points on their backs. They’re always waiting for the next one; and

6)    The debate is not over whether Latinos would be so angry with Obama that they even contemplate voting for a Republican — not after how despicably that party has behaved toward them. The real concern for Democrats is that disillusioned Latinos will be a no-show in the 2012 election, and that this could hurt the incumbent’s re-election chances.

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