Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Earlier today, we posted a story about how anti-immigrant candidates did not seem to carry the day in yesterday's elections. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) has issued the following press release:
" Yesterday, election results from across the country showed that candidates and parties who tried to use immigration as a political “wedge issue” were unsuccessful. Immigration, which has become a near-obsession to many pundits and political consultants, was of only minor concern to voters yesterday.
“Those who thought they could ride to victory on the backs of immigrants misjudged the American people,” stated John Trasviña, MALDEF’s President and General Counsel. “Voters chose moderation over manipulation when it came to immigration policies. Candidates and parties should heed that message when planning for 2008.”
Nationwide, voters elected state and local candidates who offered positions that addressed real policy concerns of local communities, not candidates who offered only fear-based attacks on immigrants. In Northern Virginia, the efforts to make immigration enforcement the defining issue backfired as yesterday’s election brought the largest partisan shift in the Virginia State Senate since 1991.
Voters clearly sought leaders with thoughtful solutions for transportation and community welfare, rather than platforms based on anti-immigrant tactics. Voters in New York State also did not generally favor candidates who attempted to exploit the immigration issue for political gain. While some expected Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants to ignite backlash in the voting booth, the election results proved otherwise as voters focused mostly on tax issues and civic reform.
“Immigration is clearly not the winning wedge issue that some candidates and political operatives would like for it to be,” stated Peter Zamora, MALDEF’s Washington, D.C. Regional Counsel. “We urge candidates for political office to avoid anti-immigrant rhetoric. That does not win elections. Yesterday’s elections showed that successful candidates run campaigns based upon ideas, not fear.”