In an echo of his overall slide in the polls, some of the issues that have hampered Mr. McCain's candidacy turn out to have had an even greater impact on the Hispanic population. Latinos cite the crisis in the economy as their biggest concern, trumping immigration and the social conservatism that Republicans thought would help expand Mr. McCain's appeal among religious, family-oriented Hispanic voters.
And if Republicans were counting on tensions between blacks and Latinos, now the nation's largest minority, driving Hispanic voters away from Mr. Obama, that also has largely failed to materialize.
Early in the primary season, when Mr. Obama was still a newcomer little known to Latinos outside Illinois, he began campaigning among Hispanic voters, even in states where he knew he would lose to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the favorite among Hispanics. Political analysts say Mr. McCain has only sporadically and belatedly sought to engage Latino voters.
But events seem to be working in Mr. Obama's favor. Contrary to what non-Hispanic politicians often assume, immigration does not rank as high on the list of Hispanic concerns as the economy, education and health care.
Instead, surveys show that Latinos see immigration as a tool useful in identifying who is friend and who is foe. That may have complicated Mr. McCain's task: despite his sponsorship of the immigration overhaul legislation, he is burdened by nativist elements within the Republican Party.
Since when is opposition to amnesty for illegals "nativist"? Rother has used that unflattering term before when describing GOP opposition to illegal (not legal, but illegal) immigration.
Speaking of true nativism, Rohter then got Janet Murguia from the "National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group" to say the GOP has been tarnished by its "extreme rhetoric." That' s a laugh, considering that Murguia is the same level-headed spokeswoman who earlier this year said Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity were "vigilantes" who should be banned from the airwaves for spreadinganti-illegal immigrant "hate speech" (incidentally "La Raza" means "the race," making it strange for them to accuse anyone else of racism).