Who Do You Love?

In an earlier post, I talked about Barack Obama’s apparently insurmountable lead among Hispanic voters. This is a bitter pill for Republicans, who have eyed this key constituency the same way Homer Simpson drools over doughnuts. Conservatives know that a McCain administration, already an unlikely possibility, is impossible if Obama’s nearly three-to-one advantage among Latinos in the polls is an accurate indicator of Election Day.

It’s looking good for Obama, whose chief appeal is that he is an inspiring, charismatic Democrat who has the added bonus of being a racial minority. For Hispanics, what’s not to love about that combination?

Even the backlash from bitter supporters of Hillary Clinton, who is big among Hispanics, has not materialized. By the way, I have personally never understood the woman’s superhero appeal to my fellow Latinos. I think she’d be a fine president, but how did this upper-class white lady become such a rallying point for La Raza? Feel free to enlighten me.

Also helping Obama is the fact that he hasn’t completely taken the Hispanic vote for granted, as so many Democrats have done. Thus far, he doesn’t seem to be ignoring us – for that kind of treatment, we would have to be Muslim.

As for McCain, his appeal to Hispanics is that he doesn’t come off as a Minuteman on immigration, and he has built up a positive reputation among Latinos in his home state of Arizona.

His negatives include the fact that he is carrying the Republican banner – which is even less popular among Hispanics than it is with the general population – and the perception that he looks like that old crusty sheriff from a small town who will pull you over for a busted taillight and, even if you’re a citizen, end up calling la migra on you.

Stacked up side to side, it’s clear that Obama has a more complicated relationship with Hispanic voters than McCain does. The dynamic between Latinos and African Americans has always been intriguing, and I will address this in a future post.

But in all likelihood, Obama will still win our vote in a couple of weeks, and commentators will trip over themselves explaining how the Latino population was the deciding factor in the election.

Regardless of who wins, of course, we expect thank-you notes and invitations to the inaugural ball.


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October 2008
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