Aug 3rd 2010

Two Reasons the Obama Victory in Arizona Immigration Lawsuit is Good for Democrats

by Robert Creamer

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist and author of the recent book: "Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win," available on amazon.com.
Ever since the Court handed President Obama's Justice Department a big victory by enjoining the enforcement of major provisions of the onerous Arizona "papers please" immigration law, there has been pundit commentary that the decision will be bad for swing Democrats.
Of course, that analysis ignores that the ruling came from a judge who - though appointed by President Clinton - was originally nominated by Arizona's Republican Senator Kyl who has praised her as a fair jurist. And the decision will also likely cause a number of moderate supporters of the bill around the country to rethink their positions.

But there are two major reasons why that that kind of knee-jerk response is just plain wrong:

Reason # 1:
The polling on this issue is very clear. The position a candidate takes on the Arizona lawsuit appears to affect the voting decisions of only one group: Latino voters.
The passage of the Arizona "papers, please" anti-immigration law has forced Republican politicians around the country into a political box canyon that does not offer an easy escape. For fear of offending the emergent Tea Party - and other anti-immigrant zealots in their own base -- they are precipitating a massive realignment of Latino voters nationwide.
According to data released a month ago by Public Policy Polling (PPP), Texas Governor Rick Perry lost his early lead over Democratic challenger Bill White and the race is now tied. The movement from a previous PPP poll in February comes entirely from Hispanic voters. PPP reports that:

"With white voters Perry led 54-36 then and leads 55-35 now. With black voters White led 81-12 then and 70 -7 now. But with Hispanics Perry has gone from leading 53-41 to trailing 55-21….there is no doubt the (Arizona) immigration bill is popular nationally. But if it causes Hispanics to change their voting behavior without a parallel shift among whites then it's going to end up playing to Democratic advantage this fall."

The punditry sometimes forgets that in politics, intensity is often just as important as poll percentages. For many Hispanic voters, the Arizona immigration law is an insult. It is an attack on their very identity. And it is certainly a litmus test that tells a Hispanic voter whether or not a political candidate is on their side - the critical threshold test of voter decision-making.
The same is simply not true for non-Hispanic voters. As a result, by allowing the Party to be defined by the anti-immigrant zealots - and refusing to lift a finger to pass comprehensive immigration reform in Congress - the Republicans are playing with political fire.

Polling show similar dips in support among Latino voters for Republican candidates in California and Colorado - and a whopping drop in support for the Republican Senate candidate in Nevada.
Polls show that voter decisions among persuadable voters in swing districts without large Hispanic populations will be determined by questions about the qualities of individual candidates and whether or not voters can be convinced to hand the keys back to the gang who just two years ago wrecked the economy.

Remember all the Tea Party and anti-immigrant activists are not persuadable voters. Democrats were never going to get any of their support. For persuadable voters, immigration will not define candidate choices among voters who are not Hispanic.

Reason #2.
Completely apart from the impact the Arizona law has on persuadable voters, it will have an energizing effect on mobilizable Hispanic voters - voters who would vote Democratic but are unlikely to vote unless they are mobilized.

Until the Arizona law came along, may Hispanic voters were demoralized by the difficulty of passing promised comprehensive immigration reform.

The passage of the Arizona law changed the equation. On a party line vote, Republicans did something in Arizona that was a fundamental assault on the Latino community. Republicans across America have endorsed it. But what is just as important, the Democratic President took up the battle to defend the community - and just won a major victory.

The Arizona law is far from dead. A full trial on the merits of the law remains. But in enjoining its application, the judge found the Obama Administration is likely to win on the merits with respect to the unconstitutionality of key sections.

The anger of the Latino community at Republicans, coupled with the sense of empowerment that they - and the President - could take on the law and win -- will certainly energize Hispanic voter turnout this fall.

But you say, this election is about swing districts and there aren't many Latino's in swing districts. Think again. An analysis of the major swing districts - known in Democratic Party parlance as Frontline Districts (with Democratic incumbents) and Red to Blue districts (with Republican incumbents) shows the following:

House
· There are an estimated 1,009,398 Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters in the 57 Frontline and Red to Blue Districts. (Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters are defined as voters who would likely vote Democratic but are unlikely to vote unless they are mobilized).
· Twenty six of the 57 Districts have more than 10,000 Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters.
· In 17 of the 57 Districts, Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters constitute 9% or more of the total expected turnout in the race.
· Overall Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters constitute 8.03% of expected turnout in the 57 Districts combined. That means these voters constitute more than a sixth of the total vote a candidate needs to win.

Senate
· There are an estimated 5,603,697 mobilizable Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters in the 19 swing Senate states.
· Twelve swing Senate states have over 50,000 Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters each.
· In eight of the 19 Senate states, Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters constitute 9% or more of the total expected turnout in the race.
· Overall Democratic Mobilizable Hispanic Voters constitute 11.61% of the expected turnout in the 19 states combined. In other words, in the average Senate state this vote constitutes more than one fifth of the number of votes a candidate needs to win.
The impact of the Hispanic vote will be particularly pronounced in swing Senate states such as Nevada, California, Illinois, Colorado and Florida. It will have an impact in Connecticut, Ohio and even Indiana and North Carolina.

Bottom line is clear. On balance, the Arizona law suit - and the Obama legal victory - is good news for Democrats.

Robert Creamer's recent book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com.

Browse articles by author

More Current Affairs

Jun 12th 2021
EXTRACT: "China’s recently published census, showing that its population has almost stopped growing, brought warnings of severe problems for the country. “Such numbers make grim reading for the party,” reported The Economist. This “could have a disastrous impact on the country,” wrote Huang Wenzheng, a fellow at the Center for China and Globalization in Beijing, in the Financial Times. But a comment posted on China’s Weibo was more insightful. “The declining fertility rate actually reflects the progress in the thinking of Chinese people – women are no longer a fertility tool.” "
Jun 12th 2021
EXTRACT: " I remember recounting fellow leaders of the story of a Rwanda schoolboy caught up in the genocide of the 1990s and now immortalized in the Kigali Genocide Memorial museum, where, in a section devoted to children, one can find his photograph and a plaque that reads: ----- David, age 11 ...... Ambition: to be a doctor ...... Favorite sport: football ...... Favorite hobby: making people laugh ...... Death: by mutilation ...... Last words: the UN are coming to save us ----- In his idealism and innocence, David believed the international community would save him and his mother. We didn’t. "
Jun 8th 2021
EXTRACT: " While many conservative Republicans opposed Trump and saw that he posed a danger to their party and democracy itself, they were hesitant to buck the mass movement they had created, fearing that it would turn against them. Some of these same conservatives assumed that with Trump's defeat, the horror of January 6th, and the former president's banishment from social media, the time had come to restore sanity to their party. But the GOP leadership’s continued cowering in the face of what they now call "Trump's base" has caused them to circle the wagons and purge their ranks of those who call for sanity. "
May 26th 2021
Editor's Note: This article is about the Federal Reserve, inflation in the 1970's, and possible similarities to today.
May 25th 2021
EXTRACT: "Netanyahu claims to be acting in the name of the Jewish people. He certainly is not. Many Jews around the world, including me, despise Netanyahu’s racist politics. As an American, I am also deeply troubled by the US government’s knee-jerk support of Israel. Fortunately, I am not alone in this view. A growing number of Democratic Congressmen, Jews and non-Jews alike, have called on the United States to stop supporting Israel’s lawlessness. The truth is that the US government’s uncritical support for Israel has come to depend more on evangelical Christians, such as former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, than on American Jews, who are deeply divided by Netanyahu’s actions. And the evangelicals’ real interest in Zionism is not Jews’ security, but Armageddon, the end of the world, which they believe will come only when all Jews are in Israel."
May 18th 2021
EXTRACT: "This period in US history could go down as the moment when America’s democratic system for electing a president – the most consequential duty of US citizens – was broken, perhaps for good."
May 16th 2021
EXTRACT: "While reading Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) monumental report “A Threshold Crossed,” I felt a range of emotions. It also left me with one big question. I was deeply impressed by the report’s rigorous scholarship. At the same time, it brought to the surface feelings of anger and profound sadness. It’s an extraordinarily complete study detailing not only the many ways Israel has violated a broad range of Palestinian human rights, but the ideology of racial superiority and entitlement that Israel has used to justify its repression." ..... "My advice to both Israel’s defenders and weak-kneed liberals is​, “Read the damn report.” "
May 16th 2021
EXTRACTS: .... "He transformed a transitioning market economy into a stable statist project that rests on an alliance of his inner circle," ..... "He transformed Russia from a respected member of the international community into a rogue state" .... ". He energized NATO by providing it with the adversary it lacked after the end of the cold war," ..... "He befriended hopelessly corrupt, dysfunctional, and unstable dictatorships..." ..... "He forged a quasi-alliance with China, thereby enhancing Russia’s dependence on the one country that might have reason to appropriate those Russian territories inhabited by Chinese."
May 15th 2021
EXTRACT: "On the face of it, the latest escalation of violence is following the template of all inter-ethnic wars. Muslims observing Ramadan shouted nationalist slogans and clashed with Israeli right-wing groups chanting “Death to the Arabs.” The Israelis haughtily marched with their national flag on Jerusalem Day, marking Israel’s capture in 1967 of East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, the site of the biblical Second Temple, and of Al-Aqsa, completed in the year 705. Battles in and around the Al-Aqsa compound erupted, with worshipers inside throwing stones at the Israeli police, who responded by firing rubber-tipped bullets and other projectiles, wounding hundreds."
May 13th 2021
"Regardless of how the current and future violent conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians in Jerusalem will end, there will be no Israeli-Palestinian peace unless East Jerusalem becomes the capital of a Palestinian state while the city remains united."
May 7th 2021
EXTRACT: " Would the United States be prepared to risk a catastrophic war with the People’s Republic of China to protect the Republic of China, better known as Taiwan? "
May 5th 2021
EXTRACT: "Human history, ancient and contemporary, is replete with instances of genocide – that is, the effort to eradicate a people, erase their history, denigrate their culture, and destroy their physical presence. Many of these atrocities have been recognized by the victims and other nations who support them. But, with the notable exception of the German acknowledgment of the Holocaust, rarely have the perpetrators of these crimes accepted responsibility and offer recompense "
May 2nd 2021
EXTRACT: "The best way to defend liberal democracy is to practice it at home and abroad with the “courage and self-confidence” that Kennan touted at the dawn of the Cold War. This is also the best way to ensure the survival of our own conception of human freedom. And survive it will."
May 1st 2021
EXTRACT: "Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Sammy Roth at the LA Times/ Boiling Point Newsletter reports that California’s main power grid was powered for several hours last Saturday by 90% renewables. For just four seconds that day, the grid, which covers 4/5s of the state, reached 94.5% generation by green energy. California is the world’s fifth largest economy. The main grid does not cover Los Angeles County. On the other hand, these figures do not include the electricity generated by the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, which is not counted as renewable but which is also very low-carbon."
Apr 23rd 2021
EXTRACT: "It is no accident that there has been an economic divergence in Central and Eastern Europe. Those countries that have joined the European Union have improved their economic governance, and GDP has begun to converge with Western Europe. Between 2014 and 2019, Hungary, Poland, and Romania grew at an annual average rate of 3.9%, 4.1%, and 4.7%, respectively. Meanwhile, Belarus and Ukraine experienced minimal growth during this period, and Russia’s economy expanded at an average annual rate of just 0.7%. Though Russia had a higher per capita GDP (in terms of purchasing power parity) than Croatia, Poland, Romania, and Turkey as recently as 2009, all of these countries have since overtaken it. Russians today are shocked to learn that they are worse off than Romanians and Turks. Among EU member states, only Bulgaria is still poorer than Russia. With its close proximity to the EU single market, Russia could have had higher growth if it had pursued sound economic policies. Instead,..... "
Apr 22nd 2021
EXTRACT: "As far as anyone can tell, the US military is not on the verge of an internal breakdown, let alone primed to stage a coup d’état. But few predicted anything like the US Capitol riot before protesters equipped with body armor, stun guns, and zip-ties breached the building. Before the US is blindsided again, its leaders must act resolutely to root out extremism in the military."
Apr 17th 2021
EXTRACT: "The new report on 2020 by the International Renewable Energy Agency reveals that the world’s renewable energy generation capacity increased by an astonishing 10.3% in 2020 despite the global economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic." .... "In 2020, the global net increase in renewables was 261 gigawatts (GW). That is the nameplate capacity of some 300 nuclear power plants! There are actually only 440 nuclear power plants in the whole world, with a generation capacity of 390 gigwatts. So let’s just underline this point. The world put in 2/3s as much renewable energy in one year as is produced by all the existing nuclear plants!"
Apr 16th 2021
EXTRACT: "When we examined the development of nations worldwide since 1820, we found that among rich Western countries like the United States, the Netherlands and France, improvements in income, education, safety and health tracked or even outpaced rising gross domestic product for over a century. But in the 1950s, even as economic growth accelerated after World War II, well-being in these countries lagged.
Apr 11th 2021
EXTRACT: "Some presidents indulge in the “Mount Rushmore syndrome” making an obvious effort to achieve greatness. Normally soft-spoken and apparently modest Biden is making his own bid for immortality."
Apr 9th 2021
EXTRACT: "New ways of thinking about the role of government are as important as new priorities. Many commentators have framed Biden’s infrastructure plan as a return to big government. But the package is spread over eight years, will raise public spending by only one percentage point of GDP, and is projected to pay for itself eventually. A boost in public investment in infrastructure, the green transition, and job creation is long overdue."