The folks in charge of Democratic political strategies decided last year that immigration should not be a topic in this year’s fall elections. The head in the sand strategy was so pervasively accepted that Democratic controlled state legislatures like Colorado dumped key immigration agenda items in an ill-fated attempt to mute the debate and top Presidential advisors encouraged postponement of immigration reform. As it turns out you can’t easily quiet 14 million families and their friends.
In the past this don’t ask don’t tell approach would have worked. Latino groups were beltway dependent and vulnerable to requests to “cooperate” delivered by elected leadership. However times they are a-changing. Proof of the sea change is that, for good or for bad, immigration is now a top agenda item and the fall elections are just around the corner.
During the presidential campaign the folks now in charge of the Democratic Party and the White House understood the power of outside the beltway organizing. The Obama campaign was less a Presidential campaign and more of a voter insurgency. It is therefore startling that top advisers and operatives have been slow to realize that Latino voters are no longer as malleable as they were in the past.
As the enforcement arm of the immigration solution has been increased and more families have been torn apart and the need for a concrete solution has become apparent for US voters of recent immigrant heritage. While the stress on immigrant communities has increased by the record number of deportations none of the anti- immigrant conservative Gods have been satisfied by the human sacrifices. Subsequently not only there has been no gain on the issue for Democrats there is an increased dissatisfaction among one of their core constituencies. A constituency it must be noted that increasingly registers as independents.
The Democratic operatives currently advising on Latino issues need to refresh their analysis of Latino voters. The idea that Latinos can be brought out in the last four to six weeks of an election cycle is critically outdated. How anyone can still believe that Latino voters are somehow not part of the twenty four hour election cycle is beyond comprehension but based on what top advisors have apparently been forwarding to Obama the idea lives.
President Obama’s speech on immigration was a good step forward but should have occurred last year. Those responsible for the delay in the Presidents involvement should consider the damage they created. The delay of the Presidents involvement has created a schism that now can only be repaired with action.
The President should call on key GOP leaders to meet at the White House and explain to him how they plan to tear 14 million families apart. The President should allow the GOP take their immoral stand publicly and let Latinos see the clear difference between the two major Parties. Leader Reid should circulate a petition so everyone can see who in the Senate is willing to stand with Latino families in behalf of immigration reform and who is standing in the way.
The President’s advisors need to take stock of what the attempted avoidance of this issue has created. The President needs to heed his inner voice and take action.
Crossposted with the author’s permission from Huffington Post.