Does pandering pay off?

Article subtitle: 
Not according to the Florida primary results
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Article date: 
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Article category: 
National Issues
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Offered a stark choice on the illegal immigration issue, Florida Latino Republicans today broke nearly 2-1 for the candidate with the firmest opposition to amnesty and the strongest support for enforcement.

Mitt Romney's margin of victory among Latinos was nearly double his margin of victory among Whites.

For those of you who supported other candidates, you have to at least feel some real satisfaction that on the issue of immigration, Mitt Romney the winner was painted as by-far the strongest opponent of amnesty. You may have preferred another candidate -- including the President -- for other reasons, but most Florida voters went to the polls with the idea that Romney was indeed the toughest on immigration.

Pro-self-deportation Romney won the overall vote by 46% to 32%.

But pro-self-deportaton Romney won the Latino vote by 54% to 29%.

It was a strong rebuke of the majority of media commentators who insist that Latino-Americans can only be won by promising rewards for lawbreaking.  It added a sign of much greater dignity in the rule of law for the Latino population than most in the media are willing to give it.

(Read my full analysis blog and join the discussion at:

Nobody can say that Floridians -- both Latino and non-Latino -- weren't provided a clear choice on the immigration issue. Immigration may not have been a top issue for most of the voters but it was one of the most publicized parts of the debates and contest.

Newt Gingrich campaigned hard among Latino voters with his continuing call for legalization and work permits for many illegal aliens and his pounding criticism of his opponent as "anti-immigrant" for opposing legalization.  Mitt Romney in two debates continued his campaign-long opposition to long-term work permits and legalization of illegal aliens and created a national media sensation by talking about "self-deportation" as the top goal for the illegal population.


Whites -- Anti-legalization Romney won by 13 percentage points

Latinos -- Anti-legalization Romney won by 25 percentage points

The results don't prove that Romney's anti-amnesty stance helped him with Latinos. But the results DO prove that a candidate can stand for the rule of law and for preferring unemployed American workers over illegal aliens and still win Latino support.

And that is a wonderful victory of the image of Latino-Americans and for all of us in our battle to say that unemployed Americans should have priority over illegal aliens for U.S. jobs.

Tonight's victor, Romney, put the issue in exactly those terms in the Jacksonville debate last Thursday night. Romney said: "You know, our problem is not 11 million grandmothers. Our problem is (APPLAUSE) ..... Our problem is 11 million people getting jobs that many Americans (and) legal immigrants would like to have."

Although that got one of the most enthusiastic rounds of applause of the debate, nearly all of the news media refused to offer that quote to the public. I believe that is because most reporters and editors in the news media refuse to believe it is possible that Americans and legal immigrants already here would take the construction, service and manufacturing jobs currently held by illegal aliens.