Last week I reported that NumbersUSA has listed 20 races for anti-immigrant activists to watch. Of those races, 13 of their endorsed candidates went down to defeat. Here’s the run down:
Nevada – Heller (R) v. Berkely (D) – Heller has an NumbersUSA A+ rating and won.
Florida – Mack (R) v. Nelson (D) – NumbersUSA endorsed Mack and gave him an A- rating versus Nelson who got a D-. Nelson won.
Missouri – Akin (R) v. McCaskill (D) – NumbersUSA endorsed Akin and gave him an A- rating. He lost.
Virginia – Allen (R) v. Kaine (D) – NumbersUSA gave Allen a B rating and endorsed his candidacy. He lost.
Texas – Cruz (R) v. Sadler (D) – NumbersUSA endorsed Cruz and gave him a “True Reformer” rating. Cruz won.
Arizona – 1 – Paton (R) v. Kirkpatrick (D) – Numbers USA endorsed Paton who was notoriously active on immigration issues in the Arizona legislature. Kirkpatrick won.
California– 52 – Bilbray R) v. Peters (D) – NumbersUSA endorsed Bilbray who has an A+ rating from the group. He lost dealing a major blow to anti-immigrants.
California – 7 –Lundgren (R) v. Bera (D) – Lundren was given an A rating by Numbers USA and was defeated.
California – 26 – Strickland (R) v. Brownley (D) – Strickland was endorsed with an A rating and lost.
Colorado – 6 – Coffman (R) v. Miklosi (D) – NumbersUSA endorsed Coffman with an A+ rating and he won.
Florida – 18 – West (R) v. Murphy (D) – This was one of the most closely watched races in the country. Allen was given an A rating by NumbersUSA and lost.
Illinois – 11 – Biggert (R) v. Foster (D) – This race was a new district with two sitting members of Congress competing. Foster had a D+ rating while NumbersUSA gave Biggert a B and endorsed her. She lost.
Iowa – 4 – King (R) v. Vilsack D) – Steve King is probably the most anti-immigrant member of Congress so easily won NumbersUSA’s endorsement. He won.
Iowa – 3 – Latham (R) v. Boswell (D) – A combined district led two incumbents to oppose each other for this new seat. Boswell had a weaker NumbersUSA rating than Latham who has an A rating. Latham won.
Maryland – 6 – Bartlett (R) v. Delaney (D) - Bartlett has an A+ rating from NumbersUSA. The incumbent was defeated.
Nevada – 3 – **** (R) v. Oceguera (D) – NumbersUSA endorsed **** and he won.
New Hampshire – 1 – Guinta (R) v. Shea-Porter (D) – Guinta, the incumbent, was endorsed and lost.
New Hampshire – 2 – Bass (R) v. Kuster (D) – Bass, the incumbent, was endorsed and lost.
Ohio – 16 – Renacci (R) v. Sutton (D) – Renacci was endorsed by NumbersUSA and won.
Pennsylvania – 12 – Rothfus (R) v. Critz (D) – Rothfus had the NumbersUSA endorsement and beat the incumbent Democrat Critz.
In another race, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was reelected in Maricopa County.
Generally speaking, a good night for pro-immigration activists, especially at the presidential level.
Maryland voters approved a measure that will allow undocumented students resident in the state to pay in state tuition at the state’s colleges and universities. The state legislature actually passed a measure that accomplished this and that bill was signed in to law by Maryland’s governor. But anti-immigration activists succeeded in getting enough petition signatures to force the measure on to a ballot initiative.
Governor Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, had this to say about the measure that passed 58 to 41:
"Marylanders guided by our belief in the dignity of every individual have chosen to make the dream of a college education a reality for every child. In order to expand opportunity, we've chosen to hold down the costs of college tuition for Maryland families more than any other state.
"Marylanders of all ethnic and racial backgrounds -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, Jewish -- came together to make this possible, reminding us that in Maryland, our diversity is our greatest strength."
Pundits of every stripe last night were discussing the massive turnout of Latinos and the undisputed view that these voters made the difference for the President. About 10% of the electorate was Latino, compared to 9% in 2008, a difference of about 1.3 million people. And the support for the President was up 4% from 2008, so that meant another 500,000 or so votes for Obama. That’s just under the current popular vote margin the President has over Mitt Romney.
It’s hard to see how a Republican will ever win the White House again unless Latinos or other minorities are brought in to the GOP tent. White voters constituted the smallest percentage of the electorate – just 72% - ever recorded in a presidential race. If the GOP can’t win in a bad economy, and with general agreement that the white population’s percentage of the general electorate shrinking, it is hard to see this problem getting better on its own.
That’s why many believe the GOP has no choice but to support an immigration reform package. Some key quotes compiled by America’s Voice:
David Gergen on CNN: I am quite optimistic whoever wins will get immigration reform. The Democrats want it and the Republicans now need it.”
Chuck Todd on NBC: “The story of this election is demographics. The Republican Party have not kept up with the changing face of America…The Republican Party has serious soul-searching to do.” He also said on MSNBC: There are some things where it’s the Party’s fault, not Romney’s fault, but in the case Romney said ‘no, no, no, I’m going to make my conservative stand on immigration.”
Fox’s Brit Hume: “The Republican party's going to have to ask itself if the hardline position that Mitt Romney assuredly took during the primary season to try to win this election -- he took a hardline position on immigration -- is in the long run a winning position for them. Karl Rove and George H.W. Bush never thought so, and others don't think so, as well. And so when they're saying 'Well, Mitt Romney wasn't conservative enough' as some certainly will say, you have to point to that issue as one that might be a short-term and a long-term loser for them, politically.”
Fox’s BrianKilmeade: “The problem is for Republicans, less and less white voters every year…we have got to talk about what the next four years will look like. And I think immigration reform will be front and center.”
David Gregory tweeted: “Romney personally appealed to Senate leaders to pass immigration reform a year before he began his campaign. Demo probs not new.”
Paul Begala tweeted: “& 2014 &nd 2016 &…MT@feldmike Hispanic voters will play a decisive roll in election 2012. Demographic trends undeniable.”
Ari Fleischer said on CNN: “The big issue Republicans are going to have to wrestle with is the Hispanic issue…with immigration, the Republicans are going to have to figure out a different way forward.”
And the Wall Street Journal editorial page: “Perhaps most damaging, Mr. Romney failed to appeal more creatively to minority voters, especially Hispanics. His single worst decision may have been to challenge Texas Governor Rick Perry in the primaries by running to his right on immigration. Mr. Romney didn't need to do this given that Mr. Perry was clearly unprepared for a national campaign, and given the weakness of the other GOP candidates. (Tim Pawlenty had dropped out.) Mr. Romney missed later chances to move to the middle on immigration reform, especially Senator Marco Rubio's compromise on the Dream Act for young immigrants brought here by their parents. This created the opening for Mr. Obama to implement the core of the Dream Act by executive order, however illegally, and boost his image with Hispanic voters. The exit polls show that Mr. Romney did even worse among Hispanics than John McCain in 2008, and we may learn in coming days that this was the margin in some swing states. The GOP needs to leave its anti-immigration absolutists behind.”
Former GOP Party Chair Michael Steele on MSNBC: “For the Republican Party, you know what our new reality is? Every month, 50,000 Hispanics turn 18 years old. That’s 600,000 Hispanic youth every year. Do you really think this party wants to spend the rest of the next 15, 20, 50 years in the political desert? If not, then you have to get with the new reality.“
There has been some disagreement over what voters generally want to see happen. The question of immigration was raised in the major exit poll conducted by the networks. 28% of respondents were in favor of a tough immigration policy emphasizing deportation of illegally present immigrants. But nearly two thirds favored offering such immigrants a path to a legal status in the US. Of course, the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform produced its own exit poll claiming just the opposite – that 52% of respondents want tougher immigration laws compared to 31% favoring a legalization policy. Judge for yourself. But I’d put this up there in the same level of reliability as all of those internal polls that said Mitt Romney would win in a landslide.
When the DREAM Act was debated a few years ago, it couldn’t pass the Senate not because a majority of Senators were against the measure, but because the GOP filibustered and Democrats couldn’t find the 60 votes they needed. Republicans filibustered more than 200 bills in the last Congress which is as many as they had in the last several decades combined.The filibuster has been used as well against a number of other pro-immigration efforts.
Huffington Post is reporting that Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pledged today to change the rules so that the minority party has fewer options to obstruct legislation. He won’t eliminate the filibuster, but he’s going to make it a lot harder to use. Reid’s ideas include doing away with the motion to proceed, but some are saying that such a proposal is too modest and it would remain easy to gum up the process at other stages. There are other proposals that include reform ideas that Reid has said he is open to considering including ending secret holds, guaranteeing amendments that can be offered by the majority and minority, requiring a “talking filibuster” where senators must remain on the Senate floor and an expedite process for nominations.
In all likelihood, the filibuster rules would be set at the beginning of the new Congress where arguably a simple majority would be all that is required for passage.
Latino Decisions asked Latino voters why they voted. While 39% said it was to support a Democrat and 15% to support the Republicans, 36% stated their primary reason for voting was to support their community. That probably has something to do with concerns over immigration since that was the second most important issue on their minds and 60% know someone lacking legal immigration status. But the most telling answer on this subject was in response to the question of whether Republican support for comprehensive immigration reform would make them more likely to vote for the GOP candidate. The answers were
31% - more likely
11% - less likely
48% - no effect
10% - don’t know
The President was seen more favorably by 58% of Latino voters as a result of his DACA policy while Mitt Romney was seen less favorably by 57% as a result of his “self-deport” comments.
Yesterday, two exit polls were conducted of Latino voters. One was done as part of the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News. The other was a separate exit polling specifically of Latino voters conducted by Latino Decisions. The NEP exit poll initially showed a 69% vote of Latino voters for President Obama while Latino Decisions showed 75% support for the President. The NEP Latino number was later changed to 71% without explanation. The difference, according to Latino Decisions, may be due to the NEP poll being conducted only in English, something which has been seen as depressing Obama’s support percentages with Latinos as measured in campaign period polling.
Latino Decisions also reported strong Latino support for Senate and House candidates. 72% supported Democratic Senate candidates and 77% supported Democratic House candidates.
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.