Back in May, a non-partisan poll showed that two years after Bush won a historic 40 percent of the Hispanic vote, Republicans' stance on immigration was alienating Latinos at a rapid clip. Whether that's proved true today or not, here are two illustrative election-week vignettes:
The Sheepish Pol: Of the seven Latino candidates who spoke at the monthly Chorizo, Menudo y Frutas breakfast organized by the League of United Latin American Citizens last Saturday, just two were Republican: incumbents Cynthia Figueroa Calhoun, running for Dallas County Clerk, and Criminal District Court Judge Manny Alvarez. In his brief speech to the largely Latino audience, Alvarez spoke of his party as if it were a disease--something he'd caught by accident, but a source of shame nonetheless. It doesn't matter which party you belong to, he said, because whether Republican or Democrat, "We all have one thing in common: We're Hispanic." Today he also told Unfair Park, "Voting for a judge shouldn't be a partisan deal. There are Hispanics on both sides. I hope some day the judiciary is not partisan." Apparently, Judge Manny has a dream.
The Reluctant Republican: Distraught by her party's support for a wall along the border and passage of a bill making felons of illegal immigrants and those who help them, Elizabeth Villafranca wrote to President Bush last month to express her dismay.
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"Unfortunately, we will not be able to vote for Governor Perry, unless he starts doing something about comprehensive immigration reform," she wrote. "We admire you and all of the hard work you have done for our country; so much so that we proudly display a beautifully framed photo of you and your wife. We know that you are for comprehensive immigration reform and for doing the right thing for the 12 million immigrants that are already here illegally...Unfortunately, Governor Perry is allowing the bullies from the other side to control him, or worse, he just doesn't get it. Please do something, President Bush. May God continue to bless you and your family."3
In return, Villafranca received a two-page letter from the White House outlining Bush's "five-part plan" to deliver an immigration system that is "secure, orderly and fair."
"On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence," the letter read. "The President appreciates hearing your views."
Maybe today we'll find out just how common those views are among those who make up the much-hyped but maybe-elusive Latino Vote. --Megan Feldman