Friday, September 01, 2006

"The environment for the majority party is extremely bad"

In yesterday's USA Today, the newspaper takes a look at the final nine weeks before the November elections. It looks like there could be big change in store for Capitol Hill. Commentators are predicting that Democrats will win back the majority in the House and they may even win some seats in the Senate, if not the majority there too. The paper quotes political scientist David Rohde of Duke University: "The environment for the majority party is extremely bad."

Interestingly, USA Today cites seven Key issues and trends for midterm elections . Prominently on the list is "Illegal immigration" (as they call it).

"Some conservatives want to seal the U.S.-Mexican border. Others in the GOP and most Democrats want to create citizenship and job opportunities for illegal immigrants. Races where it's an issue:

Arizona: 5th District: Republican Rep. J.D. Hayworth vs. Democrat Harry Mitchell

California: 11th District: Republican Rep. Richard Pombo vs. Democrat Jerry McNerney

Colorado: 4th District: Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave vs. Democrat Angie Paccione

South Carolina: 5th District: Democratic Rep. John Spratt vs. Republican Ralph Norman"

This list may be short due to space considerations. Immigration is on the list of key issues in races in several states for many reasons. Timing is one thing: the two houses of Congress took a step back before trying to reconcile their two very different visions of immigration reform. But it is also a political tactic for a desperate party. The evidence?: The recent round of partisan Congressional hearings in key states and the establishment of a GOP "war room" on immigration.

But it may be too soon to see if this "hot button" issue will pan out the way some politicians hope. Neither party is offering much leadership that recognizes the human rights of immigrants and the importance of their contributions. Only time will tell...

ACTION STEP: If you are from one of the states listed above (or from a state where immigration is being used as a electoral tactic), call the candidates and express your disapproval of their use of the issue for political gain. Tell them we need real solutions that respect the human rights of immigrants, the integrity of their families and the value of their contributions to this nation.