Six months out from Congressional elections, Republicans appear ready to roll over Democrats. Recent polls indicate this could be the worst rout in recent midterm election history. The combination of our anemic economic recovery, the president’s personal disapproval ratings, his feeble foreign policy and still deeply unpopular Obamacare have set the stage for a GOP sweep.
He deserves criticism not support, but his strength is that he is less obnoxious than the Republicans. At least President Obama never called the undocumented ‘wetbacks.’
Except, maybe not, since most swing districts in the House are already held by Republicans. The GOP swept that middle ground in the 2010 triumph that gave them control of Congress, and John Boehner the Speakership. On the other hand, there are 44 currently Republican House districts in which at least 12 percent or more of voters are Hispanic and/or Asian American. Those groups broke for Obama big-time in 2012, almost three out of every four voters pulling the lever for the president. When added to the near unanimous African-American vote, the trio makes a potent voting bloc that even a GOP tsunami will find hard to swamp.
I’m not saying the Democrats will fool everybody and take control of the House of Representatives. But the Democrats could avoid shrinkage in the House and be tougher to dislodge from control of the Senate than many believe.
Assuming black turnout is more or less constant, the big question is how frustrated those potential Asian/Latino voters will be in November over the Republicans refusal to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Remember, Asians recently replaced Latinos as the most numerous new immigrants. Their citizen family members are worried their immigrant friends and relatives will be deported. And much depends on whether that fear and anger will be hot enough to overcome traditionally low voter turnout. I believe immigration is the card the president will play to encourage Asians and Latino voters to shake off midterm apathy.
First and foremost, his Democrats will continually remind the Asian/Latino blocs that Republicans hate them. Vice President Joe Biden hit that theme hard at a Cinco de Mayo celebration Monday when he pressed Speaker Boehner to bring the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform to the House floor for a vote.
“It's time for him to stand up, stand up and not let the minority, I think it’s a minority, of the Republican Party in the House keep us from moving in a way that will change the circumstances for millions and millions of lives,” Biden said.
The irony of course is that since taking office the president has been Deporter-in-Chief. He has overseen the expulsion of two million undocumented immigrants, many who have citizen children born here in the United States. He deserves criticism not support, but his strength is that he is less obnoxious than the Republicans. At least President Obama never called the undocumented ‘wetbacks’ with ‘calves the size of cantaloupes’ from carrying loads of dope across the Rio Grande.
Here is how the president is going to stop the GOP expected midterm rout in its tracks.
His team will provoke the GOP, constantly reminding Asian/Latinos that House Republicans are refusing to allow an immigration vote. Cue the tears from families wrenched apart. Then, when summer comes and still no legislation has been offered by House Republicans, President Obama will use the same powerful card he used to prod Latino/Asians to vote in the run-up to the November 2012 elections. He will again unleash his Executive Authority.
Saying something like, “those awful Republicans have sold you out again,” he will decree that all parents of the DREAMer kids previously saved from deportation will henceforth also be immune from deportation. And/or that all undocumented immigrants who arrived in this country prior to, say, January 1, 2014 are immune from deportation. And/or all those undocumented immigrants with family ties, etc., etc.
Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Steve King will howl foul. Pollsters will scratch their heads when the November rout fails to materialize. And Republicans will rue the day they ignored the nation’s changing demographics.