What can Brown do for you, Mr. or Ms. Candidate? They can vote for you. Or as the Republicans are now learning — not vote for you. No one has really talked much about it but part of the reason Democrats are looking to do well in the mid-term election is that Latinos are swinging left. (Hat tip: DemFromCT via DailyKos)

President Bush, strategist Karl Rove and other top Republicans have wooed Latino and black leaders, many of them evangelical clergy who lead large congregations, in hopes of peeling away the traditional Democratic base. But now some of the leaders who helped Bush win in 2004 are revisiting their loyalty to the Republican Party and, in some cases, abandoning it.

The Latino backlash has grown so intense that one prominent, typically pro-Republican organization, the Latino Coalition, has endorsed Democrats in competitive races this year in Tennessee, Nebraska and New Jersey. The coalition is chaired by Hector Barreto, the former administrator of the Small Business Administration under Bush; its president is a former strategist for the Republican National Committee. (Source: LA Times)

In 2004, Latinos were the “It” demographic. Everybody wanted their vote. Does anyone remember the awkwardness of both Bush and Kerry speaking Spanish at rallies? In 2006, it’s all about the Black vote. Look, the black and brown were paying attention during the Katrina TV coverage. The Republicans left the black and brown to die around this time last year. All of the promises and church clapping and tamale eating by white politicians, it all looks really fake now. The Republicans have flip-flopped on immigration so many times swerving from violations of human rights to amnesty to fence building and back again.

Futhermore, Blacks and Latinos serve disproportionately in the military. Many of us know people who have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Black and Latino voters and their leaders are angry about what’s happening over there — and what’s happening over here. And they’re not likely to be fooled by Bush’s pretending to be open to options other than “stay the course” whether it’s on Iraq, healthcare, education, energy prices or any other Bush issue.

Steve Gilliard says:

More importantly, talking to churches is a pointless strategy, because the ministers don’t control the Congregation. They can take the money, but the church ladies are the center of gravity in the church. And blacks seperate religion and economics rather sharply. Just because someone goes to TD Jakes megachurch on Sunday doesn’t mean she’s not a Houston teacher and union member on Monday. So lining up the ministers would fail badly.

And outside attempts to reach black voters range from the insulting to the outright racist.

As America become 50 percent minority, the GOP is doomed as a whites only party, something Mehlman got and Rove didn’t take as seriously as he needed to.

What did they do instead? Between Katrina, and Kanye West delivered the death blow to Bush’s hopes of black support, and the immigration rallies, where Latino teenagers first formative political experience was opposing the GOP, they have ensured that another generation will not listen to their pleas.

The Republicans were able to gain some inroads because the Democrats took key elements of their base for granted. Now that the Republicans have shown their true colors, it’s up to the Democrats now to welcome back the Black and the Brown. Not with a shrug but with open arms. Try asking — what can I do for Brown for a change rather than what can Brown do for me?

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