Vote 2008

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HORIZONTE’s post-election analysis of results and races, the Latino vote and more with AlfredoGutierrez, former state legislator, political consultant for Tequida and Gutierrez, and founder/editor of La Frontera Times, and Jaime Molera, political consultant with the Molera Alvarez Group.

Richard Ruelas:
>> Good evening I'm Richard Ruelas, in for Jose Cardenas.

Richard Ruelas:
>>> It was record turnout for voters across the country. We'll look at what's next for president-elect Barack Obama.

Richard Ruelas:
>>> Plus, what role will Senator John McCain now have in the senate? And how did the Hispanic vote affect this year's election? Full analysis of the presidential election, plus some state and county results all coming up straight ahead on "Horizonte."

Richard Ruelas:
>> Welcome to "Horizonte."

Richard Ruelas:
>>> It's the dawn of a new era in American politics as democratic senator Barack Obama was elected as the nation's first African-American president. John McCain's second attempt for the white house came to an end Tuesday night. Here are excerpts of speeches by Senator John McCain at the Arizona Biltmore and president-elect Barack Obama in Chicago election night.

John McCain:
>> Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt, many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And i pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans -- [applause] I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our goodwill and earnest effort to find ways to come together.

Barack Obama:
>> The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you, we as a people will get there.

Richard Ruelas:
>> here with us tonight with their analysis of the election is alfredo gutierrez, former state legislator, political consultant for Tequida and Gutierrez, and founder/editor of "la frontera times," a newspaper in this economy. And also here is jaime molera, political consultant with the Molera Alvarez group. There's probably much more stability in political consulting than newspaper publishing. Thanks for joining us this Thursday evening. I guess we'll start with what we think the Hispanic vote did for Barack Obama nationwide. Do either of you gentlemen, what kind of effect did the Latino vote have on Barack Obama's election?


Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> the estimates we have, and they vary widely, i don't think we'll know for a week or so, but it's pretty clear that at some very high percentile, 70 or so percentile, folks voted for Obama. In states like Nevada, in states like New Mexico, they clearly made the difference. But there's other states, because Hispanics are no longer simply in the southwest. We're throughout this country. The so-called illegal immigration issue is now an issue in New York and Virginia, etc. And in Virginia, "Newsweek" wrote an article some time ago saying Obama's secret weapon in Virginia were Hispanics. And the Hispanic vote. Not a substantial vote, not 20% of the populous. But it was 2-3%, but that 2-3% were voting overwhelmingly for Obama, and was going to make a difference.

Richard Ruelas:
>>It looks like the exit polls said two-thirds of Hispanics were behind Obama, and among new voters, one in five new voters were Hispanic. There's been a lot of talk through the decade or so about the sleeping giant. Has that awoken with the Latino vote, and does it hurt republicans?

Jaime Molera:
>> it does, and if something if republicans don't address, certainly, that's going to have a long-term impact. I'm not sure John McCain lost Hispanics in droves. I think by and large Hispanics still like and trust John McCain. You noticed a big Hispanic population, and i think -- a big part of the Hispanic population is not just in the southwest, but Illinois. Chicago has a huge percentage, I think the second highest population. That area, because it overwhelmingly went to Obama, raised the percentages a lot. Here in Arizona, there are some dispute as to what it was, but at the end of the day you'll see John McCain with over 40% of the Latino vote, and I think a lot of people recognize and understood what John McCain stood for, which is by and large very pro-Latino.

Richard Ruelas:
>> the one number we have from the pugh Hispanic center that is looking at just Arizona shows Obama capturing 56% of the Hispanic vote, John McCain, 41%. Oddly enough about the same break as John Kerry and George w. Bush in 2004. But it seems like nationally George w. Bush was able to capture the Latino vote in a way the Republican Party hadn't seen in a while.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> i think that's true. I think in Arizona McCain may have fared a little better. I really question any poll that came out immediately afterwards. I think we're going to have some more numbers in a few days, but the fact is that John McCain had a natural alliance with the Hispanic community, one that he'd -- he had built over many years. But he decided to break that relationship. He decided to talk about security first. Which is code language for never. And they understood that.

Jaime Molera:
>> When he was talking about building a wall.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> That's right. He was saying that there would be no immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform until the mortar was secure -- border was secure, and that independent entities had to confirm that. And all that sort of talk was aimed at winning over the right wing of his party. But -- and it may have done that to some degree. But what it did is the Hispanic leadership across the country simply broke away, and over a period of a long period of time the Hispanic leadership say, focus on this, on what security first means, the community walked away. He abandoned it and it abandoned him. It seems to be a fair deal.

Jaime Molera:
>> one of the things i think democrats had a better job of this time, they learned the hard way in 2000 and 2004, they didn't do any Latino outreach. Three the R.N.C. in both those years not only talked about it, but put a lot of dollars into it. This time around the D.N.C. put a lot of dollars into it. And in a way that was healthy. I've said time and time again, when both parties are fighting for the honor of trying to get Latino votes, that's a good thing. It ultimately increases the voter turnout. Obama was smart, especially after his primary battles with Hillary Clinton, where he got killed in the Latino vote. That was a lesson he learned and learned well, because when he came into the general, they were putting a lot of money into Latino outreach. I think it paid off at the end of the day.

Richard Ruelas:
>> Latino outreach meaning not only Spanish language ads, but going into parts of New Mexico registering new voters?

Jaime Molera:
>> Absolutely. Doing the kinds of things you'd expect them to do in north scale to get the votes. Direct mail pieces, do you the phone calls, you do the walks, you get the people that are organized, they have the lists to make sure there's a registered voter here, let's go touch them, three, four, five times to make sure we get their vote. And those are the kinds of things that takes a lot of organization. And it takes a lot of money to get that. And that's the kind of thing you're seeing.

Richard Ruelas:
>> I'm going to stick with you a second -- I guess you mentioned the republicans have to be conscious of the Latino vote. How does the immigration issue play? It seemed like John McCain did partner with Ted Kennedy on an immigration reform bill, and backed away when he heard the country as he said speak and say that security -- secure the border first. How do republicans win on the immigration issue, and how big a deal is it to get the Latino vote?

Jaime Molera:
>> I would turn the question around. Now republicans don't have that much of a voice in congress anymore. It's going to be the president Obama and huge majority of the democrats. So the question is, with all this rhetoric and a lot of the Latino leadership, McCain turns his back on it and Obama is now going to face it and deal with it, is that going to be a priority for this next president? I hope it is, and I hope the congress, I hope senator reed and speaker Pelosi make this a priority. I don't think they will. Everything that I've heard, they've -- they said oh, it's important, but they don't raise it to the level that, I've got to give Senator McCain credit for it, we've got to give this issue some importance.

Richard Ruelas:
>> It definitely seemed to fall off the table. In July of this year, president-elect Barack Obama was in San Diego addressing the group and said the system isn't working when the Hispanics are losing their jobs faster than anyone else, the system isn't working when people live in hiding, hundreds of thousands cross our borders illegally each year. When companies hire undocumented immigrants instead of legal citizens because they want to avoid paying overtime, or avoid unionization or exploiting those workers. Obviously he said it with much more eloquence. But that sounds like a pitch for comprehensive immigration reform.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> One week ago he was in Albuquerque with Governor Richardson and 35,000 people, overwhelmingly Hispanic, and he repeated it again. Not only, that but he talked about a phrase that has come to mean comprehensive reform. That phrase is a path to citizenship. And the Atlanta he stressed that phrase -- and the reason that he stressed that phrase, Jaime is right, there's some question ball game whether there would be a path to citizenship. So he chose New Mexico, he chose Bill Richardson, the only Hispanic governor in the United States, and he chose a crowd of 35,000 or so Hispanics to stress once more there would be a path to citizenship. So I expect that to happen. Let me focus on one second. Either the republicans ever want to reach the Hispanic community, I think Hispanics are in many ways natural republicans. My brother a minister, he's a natural republican. But you can't go around using the language of tom Tancredo, of Russell pierce, you can't offend us and insult us and then assume that somehow because we're Catholics overwhelmingly we're going to be on their side. What has to happen in the Republican Party if they want to bring Hispanics back in is that they have to purge neo Nazis, they have to purge the elements of hate. Various entities, including the federal government, out of their own party. They have to be pushed out. Once that happens, and once you can have a genuine conversation about immigration, i suspect they will be very successful with Hispanics. But first they've got to do that.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> Do you think we would see by the mid term elections of 10 a push for immigration reform just so it is off the table, that republicans might prefer it being off the table?

Jaime Molera:
>> I personally would be very surprised if the democrats make that indeed a priority. If they are willing to buck a lot of their union support and say, oh, we're going to create a path to citizenship and don't worry, we're going to also take care of the union needs in order to create something that's going to be -- that they can all embrace.

Jaime Molera:
>> The one thing I would -- I do disagree with is this notion that this leadership of the party -- leadership of the party right now, you've got Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyle, they've pushed for and been very aggressive in trying to bring this kind of an issue to closure. So I just don't see that this motion that you paint the Republican Party with a broad swath is just not right. It's like --

Richard Ruelas:
>> It is a vocal part of the Republican Party.

Jaime Molera:
>> Certainly. But it does not capture the entire leadership of the party.

Richard Ruelas:
>> Definitely there's business owners who would like to see the immigration reform issue dealt with.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> It's not leadership, then, if they're not going to deal with the hate mongers within their party. They're going to let them fm just continue to monger hate. Then McConnell's of the world and the Kyles of the world aren't expressing real leadership. This issue of immigration reform and of labor is a tough one. It's gone on for 30 years. It was the major issue when Ronald Reagan, during the Reagan term when we arrived at the last amnesty that. Was the major break. But in those 30 years, we've been working together a great deal. And I think there is now working relationships and working agreements between major labor unions and the larger part of the Hispanic community. I think we're close to comprehensive reform. Having said that, let me tell you, it's not going to be perfect. It's going to be one -- one ugly horrendous compromise. But I think what it's going to do is allow 10, 12, 14 million people to stay in this country with the path to citizenship.

Jaime Molera:
>> Democrats have two years, they have the biggest majority that anybody could have. They have the presidency.

Richard Ruelas:
>> With the democrats -- with the democratic administration, getting in power, a lot of speculation has been tossed around about the future of Governor Napolitano, a very early supporter of Barack Obama, someone who was a surrogate and campaigned hard in New Mexico and some states toward the end. Do you think she goes?

Jaime Molera:
>> I don't. For a couple of reasons. First is that if you look at it from the Obama side, you have the president that's trying to put together a strong cabinet, but at the same time he's trying to build coalitions around the country. Arizona is still a red state. Arizona is a state that i think will be helpful to him if he can continue to build on for the first time, because you had governor Napolitano here, look at the gains they've made. Now they have five congressmen from Arizona as opposed to the three from the republican side. That's because you had a strong governor that was able to get the resources, build the party infrastructure, build a farm team in order to win those positions. In order to -- if you were to -- if he were to pick her, basically you're giving the Republican Party a pretty nice present. And jan brewer, if that were to happen, he would not just get more of a centrist governor, he would get a solid, hard conservative that would fight hard against a lot of the reforms that she put in place. I and -- and I think it would be hard for him to do that.

Richard Ruelas:
>> How important is it for the Hispanic community, the Latinos in Arizona, that Janet stay?

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> Well, if she were to be named the single major issue is going to be undocumented workers and immigration. And her policy has been choose one to the right and choose one to the left. And we've all recognized that. We'll please Russell today, we'll please the left, we'll please the right. That kind of very delicate balance works politically, but when you get to a confirmation hearing, it creates a very ugly circumstance.

Richard Ruelas:
>> you think she might -- if she's tapped for attorney general or homeland security, that the position she's taken on immigration issues would hurt her in the confirmation hearing?

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> It's certainly going to be raised. Being the first governor to call the National Guard, assisting Joe Arpaio in getting the 287 authority to go enforce immigration laws. Being unwilling to go into the federal government to have that authority pulled. Those sorts of things, signing the law which allows Andrew Thomas to charge undocumented workers with the felony of smuggling themselves --

Richard Ruelas:
>> She didn't know she was signing that at the time.

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> Then she shouldn't be attorney general, some would argue, in that confirmation hearing if she couldn't read the law appropriately. That's my point. That's the one touchy and explosive issue she has, I think, if they were to select her. So you have the issues that Jaime talks about, then this other set of issues that come about as attorney general. They don't come about in almost any other position she might be talked about. Education secretary, etc. They come about specifically as attorney general, where those rulings are important.




Richard Ruelas:
>> How would you picture the state under -- with -- we actually have Republicans gaining seats in the legislature with brewer. When kind of laws would you see passed under that scenario that would affect Latinos?

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> I suspect you would get approximate it will same set of laws. You have a legislature that's going to continue to pass them, and she's going to continue to sign them. It.

Richard Ruelas:
>> Seemed she provided a check --

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> She certainly provided a pushback during the period that they were in the legislature. But she hasn't been a major force, so that's really a question. Look, brewer, from a democratic position or from an immigrant activist point of view, is a step into the time of the dinosaurs. The only thing you can say about it sits Google only going to last a year or two. But you certainly wouldn't want to advocate that.

Richard Ruelas:
>> Is Governor Jan Brewer good news for Republicans?

Jaime Molera:
>> Absolutely. It would be tremendous. Because the biggest thing is that when you get rid of -- let's say Governor Napolitano walked away. Then a lot of their party infrastructure, a lot of the money she brings to the table in order to do this kind of organize can, we talked about before, doing Latino outreach, it takes money. If she were to leave, a lot of that were to go with her, and a lot of the high-level positions in state agency directors, the ability to appoint judges, key levels within her administration at the ninth and eighth floors, all of is that goes away. And that's a powerful, powerful tool the governor has in order to build this kind of infrastructure that gets these kinds of folks out there that make sure that they have individuals that can go to the health care community, that can go to the finance community, education community, because they have people that are working full-time, 24 hours a day. That is a very, very powerful strength that the governor brings to the table. When the governor loses, that's why it's so big. When it flips over, all of that turns over to the other party.

Richard Ruelas:
>> Elections matter, as some people have said. The statewide propositions. I gets big one being the legal hiring amendment, which went down in defeat. It was called stop illegal hiring, and that was proposition 202. 99% reporting, we had 59% -- 61% saying no, and 39% saying yes. Do you think this lost because people wanted to not stop illegal hiring, or did people read the body of the bill and figure out what this is?



Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> I think both side were opposed to this. This is the one piece of legislation, perhaps the only time I'll agree with Russell Randy, this was a monumentally untruthful, hypocritical piece of legislation. It had nothing -- it had nothing to do with illegal immigrants. But it had something to do with giving amnesty to employers.

Richard Ruelas:
>> rolled back what the requirements were --

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> For employers only, not employees. And so it was a stealth move by the fast food industry to -- and Wake Up Arizonians, to get themselves amnesty, but without being honest about it, one, and two, without wanting to deal with the issue of their employees. They were willing to use their employees as sacrificial bait. And both sides here, the antiimmigrant movement, all of us agreed this was a bad piece of legislation. I've been talking about it on Spanish radio almost daily, say, vote against this. I won't repeat some of the things I've said, because you get offended it.

Richard Ruelas:
>> would have done two things. It would have rolled back the requirements on hiring so you could go back to just -- would it have stopped anonymous complaints and required a name. The identity check is something that democrats fought and wanted. What do you think -- will we see more piecemeal immigration measures, either in the legislature or at the ballot box?

Jaime Molera:
>> I would imagine so. Immigration continues to be, and people wanting strong enforcement of immigration, and even if you go down into the Latino community, it is still very, very high on people's radar screen. One of the reasons why I think you had some of the election results that we had is because people still believe that we're not doing enough as a state, and they still want to back the kinds of candidates that want strong enforcement of the borders. That's just overwhelming in Arizona. I it this rest of the country, that's dissipated, but in our state, poll after poll, that continues to be a strong feeling in the populous, they want to see that happen.

Richard Ruelas:
>> We just have a few minutes left, I know you can probably sum it up in a noun or two. Arpaio and Thomas are you surprised --

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> Disappointed, but not surprised. I think what Jaime has said is true, Arizona is I think ideal logically very close to the south. And this was disappointing but not surprising.

Richard Ruelas:
>> We see Arpaio pretty handily winning against his opponent. No name for Arpaio?

Alfredo Gutierrez:
>> Oh, I think the word itself is becoming an epithet in our community. The name itself is tantamount to -- [speaking Spanish]

Richard Ruelas:
>> our transcriber will have fun with that. The reelection of Andrew Thomas, we'll put those numbers up next, what does it say about the drive to -- is it a vindication as they take to it what they're doing in their sweeps?

Jaime Molera:
>> I'm sure they're going to -- with Andrew Thomas, would I argue that the campaign of Tim Nelson was not as robust i think as it should have been, particularly in republican areas. They've should have been a little more -- a lot more aggressive, particularly trying to get republican women, which tends to be a swing vote. And they just didn't target a lot of that. And they rallied democratic base very well, and they went into areas that were strong democrats, but in order to win in Maricopa County, which is a very, very big republican area, you have to be aggressive in those republican areas to win those votes.

Richard Ruelas:
>> does it hurt the party? I guess we found out from the election, it doesn't hurt the party, some of the sweeps, some of the actions it's taken as a sign of victory.

Jaime Molera:
>> But it depends, for instance, Arpaio and Thomas I think are seen as strong immigration enforcers, and as I said before, people want to see that. So i think that helps them. If you take that into other areas of the state, other types of officials, it may not play as well. But because their role is seen as law enforcement, i think that plays to their strengths.

Richard Ruelas:
>> I guess there's always that conflict with the business community, traditional republican, but I guess we'll see how that plays out. We apparently have four more years to see how that does play out. Thanks for joining us.

Richard Ruelas:
>>> Next week, a look at datos, the 2008 report that focuses on consumer and business trends among Hispanics in Arizona and across the nation. That's next Thursday at 7:30 here on "Horizonte."

Alfredo Gutierrez: Former state legislator, political consultant for Tequida and Gutierrez, and founder/editor of "La Frontera Times," ;

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