How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The ten (or eleven) political races in which the Latino vote may count the most

Photo by Terry Chay/Flickr (Creative Commons)

At a polling place in San Francisco, November 2008

Because everyone loves a good list, here's an interesting one that the San Francisco Chronicle posted today on its politics blog: The 10 political races in which the Latino vote will be decisive this Nov. 2.

At the top of the list is the Nevada senate race, in which Democratic incumbent and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is running against Republican challenger Sharron Angle. Two California races also made the list, including the race for the 47th Congressional District in Orange County in which Rep. Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat, is up against Republican rival Van Tran, a Vietnamese-American member of the state assembly.

Also on the list is the California senate race. From the post:

Republican Carly Fiorina narrowly trails incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer in the latest polls. Boxer is counting on strong support from the state's sizable Mexican-American population to put her over the top on Election Day. Boxer may benefit from a Latino backlash against Republicans following gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman's controversy over hiring — and firing — a housekeeper who was in the country illegally.

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Haven't heard of State Question 755? Here's why you should

Photo by Chriszwolle/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A photo of an Oklahoma state highway map, February 2010

The Atlantic's politics editor Marc Ambinder wrote yesterday about an as-of-yet obscure "anti-Sharia law" initiative that has made it onto the Oklahoma state ballot, and how if it performs well with voters, we might see a series of similar initiatives used as a cultural wedge issue in other states. From the post:

Will anti-Sharia law initiatives be in future election cycles what anti-gay marriage initiatives were before? That is, a cultural wedge issue the GOP uses to ensure that hard-core conservatives enthusiastically flock to the polls?

If so, then Oklahoma is the proverbial canary in the coal mine for this type of initiative. One of 11 ballot initiatives in the state this November, State Question 755, better known as the "Save Our State" constitutional amendment, would prevent courts from using international or Sharia law. The question made it to the ballot by passing the state Senate 41-2 and the House 82-10. In addition to potentially rallying the conservative base to the polls, the initiative, which bans something that is nearly impossible statutorily, is worth watching because the GOP may employ it in swing states two years down the line.

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