How should Harry Reid say gracias? Con mucho humildad.
Latinos Tuesday helped save the Democrats from total defeat by coming through with outsized participation in a few showcase races, none more high-profile than that of Harry Reid. The Tea Party and Republicans gunned particularly for the Senate majority leader, and until the last few days, he looked like a goner. But the Latino vote came out --- 12 percent of the vote -- and Reid received an extraordinary 90 percent of it, according to estimates by LatinoDecisions, the only poll that specifically tracked Latinos. Reid would have lost handily to Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle without that lopsided support.
Added to the estimated 86 percent of Latino voters who went for victorious Barbara Boxer win in California, Hispanics contributed in the clutch to help Democrats hang on to control of the Senate after losing the House.
Meanwhile, a single Latina did in Meg Whitman in the California gubernatorial race. And she was just a maid.
The wealthy Whitman was either winning or tied in polls with Jerry Brown until the news broke that as she prepared for the race, she fired her longtime housekeeper, Nicandra Díaz Santillán, for being in the country illegally.
Brown, too, got an estimated 86 percent of the Latino vote, but she was killed even more by white voters who found the firing to be heartless. Whitman made it worse four days before the election by telling Fox News that Diaz should be deported. This for a woman who worked for nine years in the Whitman household and was said by the candidate to be like a member of the family.
Busy working adults, especially professional couples with children, in California depend on their maids, many of whom are illegal, and do come to treat them actually like family, paying for lawyers and helping them become legalized.
A policy lesson was slapping Whitman in the face, but she shrunk from it to pander instead to a minority, anti-immigrant Republican base in California. The lesson was that ways need to be found to regularize unauthorized immigrant unskilled women workers, because without them, the explosion of American women in the workplace over the last few decades -- women like Whitman herself -- will come to a screeching halt.
According to exit polls, Whitman got only 40 percent of the female vote. Just desserts?
| November 3, 2010; 9:55 AM ET
Categories: Schumacher-Matos | Tags: Edward Schumacher-Matos
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