For Democrats, No on Prop. 16 is likely the most important vote we get to cast at the conclusion of this seemingly endless primary season. I laid out all my personal choices some weeks ago in this post. If I were in the appropriate district in San Diego, I'd also be choosing challenger Marcy Winograd over Representative Jane Harman.
The New York Times reports Republican fears that these primary struggles have made the party's exclusionist immigration politics all too visible. Underdogs trying to dislodge the money women have challenged the front runners to repudiate any possible softness in their attitude toward newcomers, especially Spanish speaking ones.
Republicans should be worried. This week I was taking pictures on the streets in San Francisco's Mission District -- and suddenly realized that a Latino man was watching me anxiously. I did what I usually do when this happens: walked over to him and explained in a friendly way that I lived down the street and liked to shoot in my neighborhood.
He smiled: "With that lady running all those ads ... I feel like we have to be careful you know ..."
I said yes, I hoped we'd elect Jerry Brown as Governor in the fall and wouldn't have to worry so much.
He said "you know, that Pete Wilson works for her." He didn't have that quite right; former Governor Wilson is one of Meg Whitman's backers. But I knew what he meant; among California Latinos, the name "Pete Wilson" is short hand for white politicians who hate them.
Yes, Republicans better be worried that the nativist rhetoric among their primary candidates will activate Latino voters who might otherwise ignore the midterm election.