The Wall Street Journal reports that conservative Latinos are rethinking their allegiance to the GOP in the wake of a controversial new Arizona immigration law that's widely perceived as discriminatory. "I've been thinking I might leave the party," one source, a third-generation Mexican-American named Adam Bustos, told the WSJ. "A lot of my Latino Republican friends have been talking about it after this law." Could growing anti-GOP sentiment among Hispanics significantly affect this fall's midterm elections? (Watch Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) discuss Hispanics' vote and immigration.)
The GOP will take a hit in November: The Latino vote in the U.S. is a sleeping giant, says Froma Harrop in Real Clear Politics, but this may be the alarm that wakes up the giant, and sends far more Latinos to the polls. Although many Hispanics are socially conservative on immigration, abortion, and gay rights, "this law is being perceived as singling out their kind." Democrats will reap the benefit.
"Latino giant to change US politics"
It's the longer-term effects that should concern the GOP: The GOP's "Arizona gambit" could actually pay off in the midterms, says Joel Kotkin at Forbes. Polls show a majority of Americans favoring the bill, with Republicans strongly in support of it. But the Hispanic factor poses a "distinct danger for the GOP" beyond November. The Hispanic vote has doubled since 1990, and is growing still. If Latinos become "permanently estranged" from the Republicans, the consequences could be "fatal."
"Arizona's short-sighted immigration bill"
Any damage is reversible: It's not too late for the GOP to "take back the issue of immigration reform," says Alfonso Aguilar, a former Bush administration leader quoted in New American Media. If the Republicans portray the Arizona law as evidence of a broken system, it would "effectively engage the Hispanic community," which more broadly favors a coherent policy on border control.
"Arizona law spurs conservatives to push for immigration reform"