THE BLOG

Poor Lou Dobbs: Latino Immigrants Will Decide Our Next President

02/01/2008 05:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

After months and months of spewing out hate speech against Hispanics and undocumented workers, Lou Dobbs is having a fit.

On his recent CNN nightly news shows, Dobbs has been beside himself with the awful realization that out of the four remaining candidates, three are in favor of the unthinkable: a path to citizenship, amnesty and driver's licenses for undocumented workers.

And the only one left, Romney, is probably lying about what he really thinks - based on his record as Massachusetts governor.

Dobbs certainly had a good run for a while. His jingoist, nightly rantings inflamed a whole nation with hate speech and a pogrom-like assault - aimed at the deportation of 12 million working, undocumented workers and their families.

This as a classic pattern. When societies feel themselves in peril, inevitably a demogogue arises with scapegoats to blame.

Dobbs' hate speech led directly to midnight raids against tens of thousands of parents, who were separated from their children, fired from their jobs, and thrown in jail. After a recent Massachusetts factory raid, one baby, a legal citizen, who was being breast-fed, had to be hospitalized for dehydration because her undocumented mother remained in detention.

Dobbs pandered to our baser instincts.

At one point last fall, Politico.com noted that Dobbs may be the most important person in the 2008 presidential election, aside from the candidates themselves, because of this issue.

"The bundle of concerns that Dobbs and his audience have about globalization, trade, diminished American sovereignty and immigration will be ignored by politicians at their own peril."

Dobbs' venom poisoned the political landscape. During one CNN debate, Rudy Giuliani basically said to Mitt Romney: Why didn't you turn in your illegal gardener?

Even NPR's Steve Inskeep fueled the flames of venomous vigilantism when he essentially asked the Democratic presidential hopefuls on December 4th: Why don't you report illegal immigrants?

The question of the day seemed to be: How many illegal aliens did you turn in today? Shades of Anne Frank.

For weeks even liberal politicians seemed to be falling all over themselves for fear of ending up on the wrong side of this inflammatory issue.

But Poor Lou Dobbs.

That is all gone now. Illegal immigration, acccord to a recent CNN poll, is all the way down to number 7 on the list of voter concerns after the economy, Iraq, terrorism, health care, gas prices, and Iran.

But most importantly, Latinos - America's largest minority, with 44 million people - are the swing voters in this election, both in the primaries and in the general election. Blacks are more loyal Democrats and will not desert.

In California this coming Tuesday, up to 25 percent of the Democratic Party vote may be Latino.

Will Latinos vote for a black candidate? Conventional wisdom and past practices do not support this. With both groups at the bottom of the economic ladder, Blacks and Latinos have long jockeyed for economic crumbs and influence.

In Nevada - the first nominating contest with a large number of Hispanic voters - Hillary Clinton won 64 percent of their vote. In Florida, Clinton won the Hispanic vote by a nearly three to one margin. Most savvy political analysts expect Clinton to take the Hispanic vote on Super Tuesday. Campaign staffers say Hispanics are Clinton's firewall, after the Blacks defected. A recent Field Poll of California, Latino voters has Clinton leading 59 percent to 19 percent.

"The Hispanic voter - and I want to say this very carefully - has not shown a lot of willingness...to support black candidates," according to Clinton Pollster Sergio Bendixen, in the New Yorker Magazine.

"For now, it (Hispanics) is our No. 1 group."

Obama is not giving up and his campaign is planning to flood the zone of Hispanic media this week. His strong stance on driver's licenses, in contrast to Clinton's waffling on the same issue, will help.

What is certain in the general election, is that no candidate is going to win the Presidency without taking many of the heavily Hispanic swing states: California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and Florida.

In the last two elections, Republicans (George Bush) made historic inroads with the Hispanic community; for example, Bush won more than 80% of the Cuban-American vote in 2000.

But this year, the Republicans seem to have blown their Latino goodwill with their fierce anti-immigrant stance, goaded by Lou's populist rantings.

So all politicians - Democrats and Republicans alike - will be wooing the newly empowered Latino voter, who has been so turned off by Lou Dobbs' craven exploitation of the immigration issue.

Thanks Lou.

jfleetwood@aol.com

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