Time Makes March All About Latinos

It’s not Fiestas Patrias. It’s a couple of months before Cinco de Mayo. What gives with a March Time cover?

Courtesy of Time Magazine

Time Magazine seems to think that Latinos will have a major impact on the election in November, and the cover for their March issue is the result. I like it!

Utilizing photos by Marcos Grob of Arizona voters, Time features a Q&A with Florida right-winger Marco Rubio. Also featured, and what I look forward to reading, is a commentary by Univision’s Jorge Ramos who will write on how Latinos feel isolated by either party. And finally, the featured article is by Micheal Scherer on the impact of Latinos from Arizona in 2012.

For the Obama campaign nationwide, “expanding the electorate” increasingly means “expanding the Latino electorate.” If Obama is able to win heavily-Latino Western states like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona, he could still win in the electoral college even if he loses historically key states in the industrial Midwest like Ohio and Wisconsin. “If we do our grassroots stuff right on the ground in all these Western states, which we will, because it’s something we are good at,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told me, “we could seriously change the outcome.”

At the same time, Republicans have generally done a dismal job through the primary of appealing to Latino voters. George W. Bush won more than 40% of the community in 2004, but in a recent Latino Decisions poll conducted for Univision, 72% of Latinos said the GOP either did not care about their support or was hostile to their community. The 27% who sensed hostility represented a seven point increase from April of 2011, when the same pollsters asked the question. “Conservatives have not realized how their tone and rhetoric has turned people off,” says Jennifer Korn, who led George W. Bush’s Latino outreach effort in 2004.

Supposedly, Marco Rubio will be the right-winger trying to soften the blow, but his failure to support comprehensive immigration reform tells me any change in him is mostly cosmetic, and therefore any change by the GOP will be mostly his leftovers.

That said, Scherer does make a point here:

So in the days remaining before the Arizona primary, pay close attention to how the GOP Presidential candidates talk about immigration. They have little to gain from Republicans by pivoting to softer rhetoric, but they have much to gain in the general election.

And have you noticed that, up until today, it’s been all about Obama’s Christianity and the attack on women? Is that the actual Latino strategy at work?

These stories will appear in the March 5 issue of TIME, which will be released online Thursday and hit newsstands Friday, February 24.

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