Is Herman Cain helping the GOP win the Hispanic vote?
Herman Cain has 'joked'" about erecting an “electrified barbed wire” on the US-Mexico border. DCDecoder asks how is that playing with Hispanics?
Whether or not Herman Cain becomes the Republican Party nominee, he may already be undercutting his party’s chances in the general election when it comes to winning over one key voting bloc: Hispanics.Skip to next paragraph
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Cain’s controversial comments about building a fence along the Mexican border with “electrified barbed wire” along the top may reinforce an image of the GOP as callous and anti-immigrant - just when the party was hoping to make real inroads among Hispanic voters.
The unemployment rate among Hispanics nationwide is currently at 11.3 percent, more than two points higher than the national average. Those numbers are even worse in key swing states like Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada - where the Hispanic population has surged. Polls show that President Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics, which hit a high of 82 percent in early 2009, is now at just 49 percent.
But any hopes Republicans had of capitalizing on all this may be quickly evaporating as the spotlight continues to shine on Cain. At an event in Arizona yesterday with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who has become the face of that state’s controversial immigration-enforcement law - Cain both apologized for and then seemed to double down on his “electric fence” idea.
“It was a joke!” Cain told reporters, adding:
“It’s probably not a joke that you’re supposed to make if you’re a presidential candidate. I apologize if it offended anyone. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa!” But Cain then went on to say: “I don’t apologize for using a combination of a fence and it might be electrified. I’m not walking away from that.”
Think all this will come up at tonight’s CNN debate, which is held in Nevada - a critical swing state that is 26 percent Hispanic?