How Latinos In Arizona And In Other States Will Strike Back
Arizona Republicans better kiss their power in the state “goodbye.”
The adoption of the anti-immigrant legislation that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed on Friday could greatly affect the outcome of future elections in the state by delivering Latino voters to Democrats on a silver platter.
Proposition 187, Big Mistake
It was back in 1994 when former California Governor Pete Wilson and the then majority Republican state legislature approved Proposition 187 or the Save Our State initiative, a bill that denied services to undocumented immigrants and granted power to authorities to arrest anyone they suspected was in the country illegally. Proposition 187 was perhaps the worst mistake that Republicans made in California’s history and it cost them the state assembly and legislature until this day.
Angry voters in California who scapegoated undocumented immigrants for their financial woes, crime, and lack of job opportunities took to the polls to vote for Proposition 187 in the 1994 election. They felt that by passing this law, all of their problems would go away and happiness would once again reign in California. Governor Pete Wilson had declared war against undocumented immigrants and this law was his greatest victory.
But soon after the election, a judge put a restraining order against Prop 187 and in 1999, federal courts declared the anti-immigrant legislation unconstitutional.
After Prop 187 Democrats Won
After the whole fiasco with Proposition 187 Latino voters and other ethnic immigrants who had once supported the Republicans had a reason to finally leave the party. These new Latino Democrats along with the rest of the Democratic bunch, mobilized to the polls in 1999 to vote for a Democratic governor and a Democratic state legislature.
Some 11 years later, Democrats in California have enjoyed ruling the state, with the exception of the governorship which has been Arnold Schwarzenegger’s turf after voters recalled Gray Davis. But Republicans in California now know better, and when they are running for office they don’t dare mention or allude to their anti-immigrant sentiments.
How Arizona Will Affect Republican Races
What happened in California will be repeated in Arizona. Over 26 percent of Arizona is Latino and 34 percent of the population is Democrat. If Republican Latinos turn to the Democrat party and pick up some independents along the way, the state of Arizona will be blue, perhaps permanently.
The anti-immigrant sentiment in Arizona will also likely trigger Latinos in other states to be on guard and show their support for Democrats in upcoming elections. There are races in California and Nevada that are depending on Latino voters. In California, Jerry Brown will need all the votes he can get to beat Meg Whitman for the governorship. And, in Nevada, Harry Reid will need these voters too to beat his Republican opponent. There are also governor races in New Mexico and Florida, were Latinos have voter power.
With Obama in support of immigration reform and a Democratic House and Senate moving towards drafting those bills, Latino voters will be watching who is working towards their interest and who is not, and when the 2010 election results come in later this year we’ll see who had the last laugh.