Where's the Outrage?

Article excerpt

Byline: Arian Campo-Flores

As polls show voters defecting in droves from Democrats, one bastion of support you'd think the party could count on is Hispanics. They turned out in force in 2006 and 2008 to punish Republicans for their shrill rhetoric on illegal immigration, reversing the party's historic gains among Latinos under George W. Bush. Now the GOP is at it again. Earlier this year Republican Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed into law one of the most draconian immigration measures in the land. Many of the party's candidates around the country have embraced it and are scrambling to outdo their opponents in anti-illegal-alien bluster. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, long a moderate Republican voice on the issue, has moved to the right, floating the idea of repealing birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants.

But if Democrats are hoping that Latinos will once again turn out heavily to spank the GOP, they may well be disappointed. Polls show Hispanics have become steadily more disenchanted with President Obama and congressional Democrats. They've suffered disproportionately from the economic downturn, with an unemployment rate of about 13 percent--3 points higher than that of the general population. And they're disillusioned with Democrats' failure to pass immigration reform, despite Obama's campaign promise to tackle it in his first year. Recent surveys by polling firm Latino Decisions show that, although Hispanics back Democrats by more than 2 to 1, their enthusiasm for turning out to vote has been waning. "As a result, the Latino vote will likely be underwhelming" in November, says the firm's Matt Barreto.

In 2006, the last midterm cycle, Democrats had to do barely anything. …