As you know, the ACLU is a non-partisan organization. Both Republicans and Democrats annoy us.
But something struck me last night while watching the election returns. John King of CNN made a comment that the Republicans cannot be a viable national party if the Democrats win 60-plus percent of the Latino vote.
Once again, it became clear that being anti-immigrant just doesn’t fly with the electorate. Three different races from the last two election cycles prove it. In northeast PA, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta lost in his effort to topple incumbent Rep. Paul Kanjorski, after Barletta made a national name for himself with his unconstitutional ordinance on immigration. In the state’s attorney general race, Northampton County DA John Morganelli lost to incumbent Tom Corbett, after years of Morganelli stridently supporting anti-immigrant proposals. And, of course, two years ago, Rick Santorum had his hat handed to him by Bob Casey, despite Santorum’s claim that Casey supported “amnesty”.
Public officials from both parties can try to split hairs over what their anti-immigrant proposals mean. They claim they support immigration and oppose illegal immigration. But the fact is that Latinos see an attack on some of them as an attack on all of them. I know because my wife is Latina and we have numerous Latino friends, and they all feel the same way about what has been going down on immigration the last few years.
Before I knew about Barletta’s loss, I thought this might be more of a statewide phenomenon and that candidates might be able to get away with it depending upon their district. But Barletta’s defeat proves that may not even be true.
CNN’s King also commented, in reference to suburban Philly, that the GOP will continue to lose if the Ds win the suburbs with 60-plus percent of the electorate. When he said that, my thoughts immediately turned to LGBT issues. When we deal with state LGBT initiatives, our swing votes always come from the Philly and Pittsburgh suburbs, and to a lesser extent the suburbs of a few other cities. Being anti-gay doesn’t appear to fly either (see: Man-on-Dog Santorum).
Unfortunately, we did take some losses on LGBT rights in Arkansas, Florida, Arizona, and probably in California. These are all stinging defeats. While we know that in the long-term we continue to move closer and closer to LGBT equality, rolling back these constitutional amendments is going to be challenging and is going to require a lot of hardwork, sweat, and tears.
For a rundown on all of the state referendums on civil liberties issues, including victories on drug law reform and reproductive rights, visit national’s blog.
Andy in Harrisburg