20 December, 2010

The 2012 National Local Issue

One of the things Republicans have done well in this century is turn nationwide angst into local issues that help them at the ballot box. Ok, maybe it’s one thing they’ve been sleazy about, but it has been effective.

President George W. Bush (R-USA) benefited greatly in both 2000 and 2004 due to gay marriage initiatives appearing on several state ballots. This increased conservative turnout in those states which helped him win.

It appears that there’s a sleeping issue on the horizon for 2012, and that’s state enforcement regarding control of illegal aliens. The Arizona law, despite being challenged by the Barack Obama (D-USA) White House, remains immensely popular, not only in Arizona, but nationwide. Democrats predicted it would be the swan song for Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ), when in fact she won re-election in a landslide and was never seriously challenged.

Now, Florida is following in Arizona’s footsteps. Governor-elect Rick Scott (R-FL) has made it a priority.

Scott, in particular, made the Arizona law a major piece of his race for governor, frequently mentioning it at campaign stops and urging Floridians to follow his lead and make a donation to Arizona's Border Security and Immigration Legal Defense Fund. Since his election in November, the incoming governor has been largely quiet on the subject and has not drawn up any specific proposals yet, but his spokesman said the governor maintains his position on the issue.

And they aren’t the only ones:

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, as of Nov. 10, six other states have already filed immigration bills similar to Arizona's and six other states have filed resolutions either supporting or condemning Arizona's law.

Two of these six states are Michigan and Pennsylvania. Combined with Florida, these three states control enough electoral votes to easily flip the Presidential 2012 election. And it’s hard to see how Obama can spin it to his advantage. He’s been extremely publicly critical of the Arizona law and has urged his Justice Department to pursue an attack on the law in a manner most closely resembling a Chicago-style vendetta. Even if he keeps quiet on the other cases, Republicans in those states will surely bring up Obama’s obvious views on the subject.

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