This week Hillary Clinton took a surprisingly bold stance on immigration, one that goes further than President Obama and that both reporters and partisans have acknowledged put Republicans in a box.How do we know it put Republicans in a box? Because the response from the other side has been, for the most part, crickets.
This morning The Hill covered the issue, also acknowledging the corner into which Clinton had painted Republicans, but with a caveat:
Hillary Clinton has thrilled immigration activists with her embrace of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
It’s also thrilled Democrats, who think Clinton has taken a smart political step to solidifying support among Hispanics for their party in next year’s presidential election.
They argue the GOP’s restrained response to Clinton shows Republicans are worried about the issue, particularly given the nation’s rising Hispanic population.
“It’s definitely a very aggressive approach in attempting to court the Hispanic vote,” said Mercedes Viana Schlapp, who served as a Spanish-language spokesperson for President George W. Bush.
In part because they have backed immigration reform in the past, Republicans hope former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) could make inroads with Hispanics. But even some GOP critics of Clinton such as Schlapp acknowledge that Clinton may have made the party’s task more difficult.
So what’s The Hill‘s caveat? “Some Democrats privately fear Clinton may have promised too much,” they tell us. Now we’re used to DC reporters allowing politicos to comment anonymously. But, guess what? — they don’t even have anonymous sources for this one.
Go read the whole article. They state as fact that “some democrats privately fear” but don’t even bother to tell us who these people might be or where this might have been heard. Maybe some are saying it — they just don’t give us any actual evidence this is the case.
Earlier today, I committed a Twitter sin — I forwarded the above article before reading it, reacting to the headline, which used that “Democrats privately fearing” line that no one said. My take: “Screw those Democrats.”
But it turns out The Hill may be making those Democrats up.
Now, if they looked hard enough I imagine the journal could dig up a weak-kneed Democrat to say something along those lines. Or maybe, just maybe, this actually just was the correct political move for Clinton and for the Democratic Party. Maybe that’s why the Republicans the story did quote pretty much said so.
The reality is that the politics of immigration have changed dramatically in the past few election cycles. For many Latino voters–even those who do not list immigration reform as their top issue–nonetheless see the issue as a litmus test for the question “Does this politician like us?” Pollster Latino Decisions calls immigration a “gateway issue” for Latino voters.
And with Latinos in 2016 poised to be an even greater share of the electorate that in the past two cycles voted upwards of 70% for Obama — Republicans are right to be quaking in their boots.
Maybe The Hill couldn’t find a Democrat to actually say those words to them is a sign that the mainstream of the Democratic Party is finally getting that.
This Latino can dream.