Man Without Qualities

Monday, May 03, 2004

Pathetic ... And Bound To Lose XXXV: Lots of Latino Voters May Say Hasta La Vista, Senor Kerry!

Even the Los Angeles Times is beginning to understand that Senator Kerry is very, very weak with latino voters:

So far, it's an uneven fight. Two months after John F. Kerry in effect captured the Democratic presidential nomination, the Massachusetts senator has no staff or headquarters in New Mexico, the nation's most heavily Latino state. In each of the three other battleground states where the Latino vote is pivotal - Arizona, Nevada and Florida - the same is true: Bush has staff and headquarters; Kerry does not. Bush also has run television ads in Spanish in each of those states; Kerry has not.

[Bill] Richardson said the Kerry campaign was "doing fine now" on appeals to Latinos and that they view Republicans as "anti-immigrant, anti-education, anti-civil rights." But he warned: "The danger is President Bush does have personal popularity with Latino voters." Gutierrez, a former Democratic National Committee ad maker, said ... "[John Kerry] is still going to have to be sold to the Hispanic community as John Kerry ... In the absence of having a clear and compelling reason to vote for John Kerry, [latino voters] are just going to stay home." .... The biggest- and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., Latinos lean heavily toward Democrats, but are less firmly anchored to the party than African Americans. In 2000, Latinos comprised 7% of the national vote, favoring Gore over Bush, 61% to 38%, a Los Angeles Times exit poll found.

Still, Bush's performance among Latinos in 2000 was the strongest of any Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan won 46% in 1984. As governor of Texas in the 1990s, Bush courted Latinos aggressively, and he has continued to do so as president. .... This year, Lionel Sosa, the producer of Bush's Spanish-language television ads, said the president's team was aiming for 40% of the Latino vote - a mark that strategists of both parties said probably would ensure Bush's reelection.

We may set aside Mr. Richardson's whistle past the graveyard (sure, the Kerry campaign is "doing fine now" - it's election day Mr. Richardson is worried about). Indeed, all of Mr. Richardson's comments in this article may just be plugs for himself as Mr. Kerry's vice-presidential choice . But his comment about "the danger" being that President Bush has personal popularity with Latino voters is passing strange - especially if the comment is taken relatively, with respect to John Kerry. With exactly which type of voter does Senator Kerry enjoy "personal popularity?" Surely no sensible person of any political persuasion thinks that John Kerry will receive more than a handful of votes in the coming election because voters actually like him as a person.

Even juxtaposing thoughts like "personal popularity" and "John Kerry" is disturbing.

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