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A Warning to Democrats and Republicans

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Feb 09, 2010

Any Democrats who believe that Latino voters are on standby for them better think twice. And Republicans who believe that they can afford to alienate a growing voter base should guess again.
How Democrats and Republicans handle, or dont handle, immigration reform matters. Forty competitive races across the country could hinge on Latino voter turnout, as shown in a new report, "The Power of the Latino Voter in America."

If immigration reform becomes a broken promise by the Obama administration, Latino voters could sit out of the upcoming midterm elections or vote Republican. The latter option is especially the case with Latino voters who tend to be socially conservativethe voters that Karl Rove and former President George Bush once successfully grabbed.

In 2008, these voters flocked to Democrats over the hostility towards immigrants and Latinos. But as organizations such as Americas Voice have pointed out, if they see that both parties ultimately will not act on immigration reform, there is no reason for them to diverge from how they have traditionally voted.

Eliseo Medina of SEIU pulled no punches during a conference call yesterday when he said Any party that believes they have a lock on this community because they have nowhere to go is mistaken.
Democrats are not the only ones who must take note. Republicans should have learned that the venomous anti-immigrant attacks they refused to denounce did not serve them in local or national races. Conservative columnist David Brooks has observed the emptiness of the fear-mongering that Republican leaders caved into: The jocks are threatening to unleash their angry millionsYet the imaginary armies do not materialize.

What has materializedas should already be evident to donkeys and elephantsis the growing masses of Latino voters. These are the voters that helped deliver a thumpin to Republicans in 2006 and a victory to Democrats in 2008. But they wont be taken for granted.

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