Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Democrats whine that McCain screwed up their strategy out West

For the briefest of moments today, Democrats quit blaming President Bush for everything under the sun, and focused their ire on John McCain. They're hopping mad that the "Maverick" done screwed up their strategery out West:

For Democrats, 2008 was supposed to be the year of the Mountain West, when three years of relentless Republican attacks on undocumented immigrants would fuel a backlash among Hispanics that would change the playing field in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, and perhaps alter the landscape of presidential politics for a generation.

But the emergence of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) as the likely standard-bearer for the GOP may have scrambled the equation, cooling a potential political revolt among Hispanics and sending Democrats in search of a new playbook.

"It completely screws it up," said Charles Black, a senior McCain adviser. "We nominated the one person who will not suffer that backlash."

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), whose Tucson district is heavily Hispanic, said Democrats should change their tack toward Latinos and emphasize the economy, education and health care before even raising the immigration issue. Perhaps Democrats seeking the Latino vote would be best served challenging McCain on the Iraq war, suggested Guillermo Nicacio, Arizona state coordinator for Mi Familia Vota, an effort to encourage Latinos to apply for citizenship, register and vote.

Even as McCain moves to heal intraparty wounds on the immigration issue, Democratic community organizers in the West say his past battles with other Republicans over a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants left an imprint on the Latino community that will not quickly fade.

"The issue of immigration is a litmus test in the Latino community," said Grace Lopez Ramirez, director of the Mi Familia Vota campaign in Colorado. "They will at least be more interested in listening to him."

In consecutive presidential elections, the Democrats have fallen just short of the electoral college votes needed to take the White House. Ohio or Florida could have put them over the top, but this year, Democrats are looking west for those gains. The Democratic National Committee chose Denver as the site of its August nominating convention, and the party moved the Nevada caucuses to the front of the election calendar.

The southwest has typically been moderate to conservative. Only recently has a shift started to occur. Colorado is seen as an independent state, along with Nevada. Arizona and Utah are firmly GOP, while New Mexico is staunchly Democrat. The Democrats wanted to flip at least Arizona, Colorado and Nevada.

John McCain is a wrench in the works. He is well known in the region. Arizona is his home state. He's always well-received in Colorado and Nevada. And given this past summer's amnesty proposal, Hispanics are taking a second look at John McCain. Yes, he has pledged to do border security and enforcement first. If that is accomplished, then the next step is regularization of those here. (The Arizona legislature is currently trying to fashion its own guest worker program.) If he pulls of a win, and makes good on his promise, the Hispanics will likely rally to the GOP, which will cut the Democrats off at the knees.

We're sory to hear the Democrats are having problems. After all, this year was supposed to be a cake walk for them. Hillary was supposed to be the nominee, and crush the GOP nominee. And the Democrats were going to sweep the congressional elections, especially in the Senate where they hoped to give the GOP it's smalest minority in decades. But all of that doesn't seem to be coming to pass. Hillary is in a fight for her political life, and the Democrats in Congress keep shooting their own foot of every time approval numbers come out. It doesn't look like anything was a foregone conclusion this year, and now the Democrats are blaming their formerly favorite "maverick."

Publius II


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