Hispanic vote rules in West, notes New York Times

The power of the Hispanic vote, especially in the West, was underlined again in an editorial in this morning’s New York Times, where it was pointed out that virulent anti-immigration messages may appeal to the far right but may have also cost numerous politicians this last election.

The Times especially calls out Colorado’s Tom Tancredo:

Tancredo, whose anti-immigrant sentiment was already known, ran for governor of Colorado by telling workers that their jobs were threatened by illegal immigration. Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for governor of California, pandered to the same sentiment by saying her former housekeeper, an illegal immigrant, should have been deported.

The Colorado Independent pointed out on Nov. 5 just how important Hispanic voters had been in Colorado, especially in the U.S. Senate race, where they went overwhelmingly for incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet.

The Times says there are lessons to be learned by this election, though given the nature of demagoguery and wedge issues in American politics, it is hard to say how much learning will be done.

As the Hispanic electorate continues to grow faster than the overall population in the years ahead, the 2010 election should be a useful lesson. Anti-immigrant demagoguery occasionally works, as it did in a number of Republican victories in Arizona this year. But more often it will produce an angry reaction among a growing group of committed voters.

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Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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