Sometimes Voter Suppression Doesn't Look Like Voter Suppression
The New York Times reports:
The nation's rapidly growing Latino population is one of the most powerful forces working in President Obama's favor in many of the states that will determine his contest with Mitt Romney. But Latinos are not registering or voting in numbers that fully reflect their potential strength, leaving Hispanic leaders frustrated and Democrats worried as they increase efforts to rally Latino support.
The difference between the potential and actual Hispanic vote is striking:
So why might this be happening?
...interviews suggest lingering concerns with what many see as Mr. Obama's failure to deliver on promises to change the immigration system, as well as distress about his stewardship of the economy. Together, those forces appear to be producing a general wariness of government.
The Obama administration isn't delivering -- but really, how could it? With regard to immigration, even the last Republican president was slapped down when he pushed for reform. And as timid as the current administration has been on the economy, there's only so much any president would be allowed to do in the current climate, with the far right holding an effective veto over any action.
As a voter suppression tactic, this works as well as creating hurdles to registration or to casting a ballot. If you push the discourse so far to the right that neither party dares to do the things that would improve the lives of people in a particular voting bloc, you effectively suppress that bloc's votes -- those voters simply don't bother to try to vote.
It's similar to right-wing thinking on health care: conservatives know that the party that succeeds in delivering universal coverage will be thanked by voters in the future, so the right doesn't want Obama to succeed, and didn't want Clinton to succeed before that.
When it comes to immigration reform -- and expanding economic opportunity for Hispanics trying to climb the economic ladder -- Republicans clearly think: We're not going to do it, and we damn sure aren't going to let the Democrats do it. So it doesn't get done, and Hispanic voter disillusionment is the result. Which works beautifully for the GOP.