The final votes have been tallied and Mitt Romney has won the Florida primary — as expected. After his faltering in South Carolina, many believed Newt Gingrich would be the new front-runner. With this most recent win however, Romney is back on top and looking at an easy field for February. The way things are going, I would not be surprised if Romney became the GOP nominee.
I like Mitt Romney and I am not afraid to say it. There are those who do not like Mitt Romney, mainly Newt Gingrich. Recently, Gingrich has run several ads attacking Romney for his tax records, where it was shown that he pays a tax rate of about 15 percent according to the 2010 return posted on mittromney.com.
While such a low tax rate may bother some people, it does not bother me. What bothers me about Romney is his stance on immigration and recent endorsement by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kobach is what you might call a nativist. His own website touts him as a “Defender of cities and states that fight illegal immigration.” Kobach served as a major adviser and supporter of the Arizona law adopted in 2010. This required law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of any individuals they felt might be in the country illegally.
Romney did not accept Kobach’s endorsement ignorant of his views on immigration. In fact, Kobach was Romney’s immigration adviser for his 2008 presidential bid, a position he will hopefully not occupy in 2012.
If Romney hopes to win the general election he needs to distance himself from Kobach and his close-minded way of thinking. We live in an age where we can no longer feasibly close our borders nor should we try to. After all, every person in this country is a descendant of an immigrant or an immigrant themselves.
Immigration is shaping up to be a hot-button issue in the general election this year — even more than in previous elections. After President Barack Obama’s heated argument with anti-immigration Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the issue could easily divide voters concerned with social issues.
Even more troubling for the Romney camp and the entire GOP is their dwindling support in the Latino community. Latinos used to be a major source of republican votes but a public airing of Romney’s immigration-themed dirty laundry may completely sever all ties the party had to Latino voters.
In a report by the Pew Research Center, Obama received 67 percent of Latino vote back in 2008. The report also showed that Latino vote is on the rise, and current projections show that Latino voters will be out in record numbers this November. That means that whoever wins the Latino vote will almost definitely win the election.
I would expect Obama to have an easier time given his track record with Latino voters, but Romney has survived this long because he is politically savvy. I am sure once Romney has secured the Republican nod his first order of business will be to woo Latino voters as he did in Florida, a state where roughly 13 percent of the voters are Latino.
If Romney can hold out through the remaining primaries and distance himself from the political bomb that is Kris Kobach he will be in great shape to give Obama a decent fight for the White House.