Stanford Progressive

Obama 2012: Immigration and the Economy

By Editorial Team, published June, 2011

It is too early to confidently predict what will make or break President Obama’s bid for reelection. However, there do seem to be certain trends. First, the economy is not improving at the rate the administration and Americans had hoped. In fact, many indicators are actually worsening as a result of rising gas prices (itself a result of the Middle East turmoil) and Japan’s sagging performance following the March tsunami. This leaves a window for a moderate Republican (a Pawlenty or a Romney) to exploit Americans’ basic fears about another economic downturn. If things don’t pick up, Obama’s campaign will have to work very hard to convince voters that at least things aren’t as bad as they might have been.

A more positive development for Democrats (which was unfortunately buried under the buzz about Representative Anthony Wiener’s wiener) is that the Census Bureau released a report analyzing the growth in the Hispanic population that was shown in the 2010 census. This has left Republicans scrambling to change what many have considered racist and xenophobic tones in their messages. Although Hispanics are a diverse group in and of themselves, and do not always vote one way or another, Democrats are in an excellent position to capitalize on the Tea Party and Arizona SB 1070 to show Hispanics that one party clearly appreciates them more. Some strategists have even hinted that the Hispanic boom will put Texas in play, if not for 2012 then for 2016. Now that’s a game-changer.

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