During this week's presidential debate, many people became fixated on Dennis Kucinich for admitting that he saw UFO's. However, it was the other aliens - the illegal ones - that are making leading Democrats see stars. In the "red states" (and California and New York, too) illegal immigration is a combustible issue that may have consequences on who becomes president.
According to today's Washington Post, polls suggest that most Americans want to allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country and create ways for them to obtain citizenship, but party strategists say the voters who care most about this issue are those angry about illegal immigration and want to hear a tougher message.
"The reality is that this is an issue where people support what Democrats have to say on a policy level, but Democrats do not reflect the emotional tone and intensity of the electorate," said Mark Mellman, a Democratic strategist.
Immigration, chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn said in the Post article, is emerging as "a new wedge issue" for Republicans, who will attempt to use it to paint Democrats as weak on border security.
In this week's debate, Clinton said that illegal immigrants should be granted drivers licenses - which I happen to agree with. However, this does open up an area of attack for Republicans who are far to the right on this issue. According to a CNN poll last month, 76 percent of Americans oppose giving licenses to illegal immigrants, compared with 23 percent who favor it. Obviously, this spells trouble.
On the plus side, Republicans are alienating Latino voters - which will play a key role in Arizona, Florida, California and New Mexico.
The Democrats need to get this right. It seems like an issue tailor made for a Republican party that has only one note - FEAR.
Hillary must immediately issue a statement that she "only supports giving drivers licenses to undocumented workers as a part of an overall, comprehensive immigration reform bill". The G.O.P. is salivating at the prospect of using this against her.
posted by Chris L., at
11/02/2007 1:27 PM
Its about time the dems started going after the GOP head-on instead of criticizing one another within their own party. For starters, if Clinton, Obama or Edwards went after the GOP contenders on LGBT issues, there'd only be one who could speak up, i.e. Giuliani. It claims to be a party of inclusion, then let them prove it. Why did none of the republican contenders accept the invitation to appear on the Logo Forum back on August 9? Their absence speaks volumes.
posted by Robert, NYC., at
11/02/2007 2:17 PM
Wow, just now in grad school, I finally took a class on the history of Latinos in the United States.
So, um, hey! Did you know the United States is pretty much at fault for this problem? Yeah, crazy huh?
Seems like in the past, whenever there was a labor shortage, the U.S. opened its borders to let in floods of cheap, exploitable brown people. And the government would encourage everyone to get over their xenophobia, and even enlisted movie studios like Disney to produce pro-Latino films to distribute to the public (Three Caballeros, e.g.).
Then when the work was done, the social conservatives did a 180 and told everyone to hate the "invaders" and to kick them back out again.
The more I learn about this issue, the more I realize that hardly anyone who cares about it knows ANYTHING about the issue!!
This problem will not be fixed for many, many decades, because everyone wants easy answers ("Let them stay!" - "No, kick them out!").
I have absolutely no faith in either party being able to do anything constructive about it, ever. None of them, except maybe Kucinich, seems to know anything about the complex history that created it.
posted by Rygar, at
11/03/2007 2:13 AM
Yup and the Dems must remember that people vote based on their *emotions*, not rational thinking. A fact that the republicans have known about and exploited for years. Time for Dems to catch up and fight accordingly!
posted by Anonymous, at
11/03/2007 11:24 AM
Drivers license tests are meant TO REDUCE ACCIDENTS by making sure every driver knows the rules of the road. As a safety measure, many U.S. employers REQUIRE all workers to have a U.S. drivers license. (I required this when I employed some Chinese engineers and they considered it a good fringe benefit.) The Republicans want to INCREASE TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS by making drivers licenses a substitute for a passport or proof-of-citizenship. The Democrats should be educating the public that Republicans are trying to harm Americans with their plan.
posted by Thomas Kraemer, at
11/03/2007 5:04 PM