A New 'Third Rail' in American Politics?

I’ve been watch­ing reports of demon­stra­tions all over the US, from New Mex­i­co, Min­neso­ta, Michi­gan, Iowa, Alaba­ma, Utah, Ore­gon, Ida­ho to Cal­i­for­nia. What real­ly caught my eye were the last cou­ple para­graphs of a report tonight:

Vot­er reg­is­tra­tion and cit­i­zen­ship edu­ca­tion ini­tia­tives are set to begin in sev­er­al states after a “Day With­out An Immi­grant” cam­paign planned for May 1, an event that asks immi­grants nation­wide to stay home from work and school, and refrain from buy­ing U.S. prod­ucts.

March­es will only get you so far,” said Arman­do Navar­ro, coör­di­na­tor of the Nation­al Alliance for Human Rights, a net­work of His­pan­ic activist groups in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. “There has to be an elec­toral com­po­nent to get the Repub­li­cans out of the major­i­ty.”

I also noticed a head­line that Bush is blam­ing Democ­rats (and in par­tic­u­lar, Har­ry Reid, the Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader) for “stalled immi­gra­tion reform”.

If I saw a wave of indig­na­tion sweep­ing the coun­try, the last thing I’d do is blame the oth­er par­ty for being on the pro­test­ers’ side. Could Immi­gra­tion Reform be the final blow to the Repub­li­cans that removes their grip on the House and Sen­ate? Jour­nal­ists have always talked about Social Secu­ri­ty being ‘the third rail’ of pol­i­tics, mean­ing that any­one who tried to ‘reform’ it would be removed from pow­er, like some­one step­ping on the sub­way pow­er trans­mis­sion track. Could the sleep­ing giant of immi­gra­tion be the new area of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty they had­n’t even seen com­ing?

Here in Cana­da, Immi­gra­tion is also in the news, but it’s a far more pos­i­tive sto­ry; It’s a for­mal apol­o­gy and poten­tial repa­ra­tions for the ‘Head Tax’ that was placed on Chi­nese immi­grants here in the past. Nev­er­the­less, I can’t say I’m sor­ry to see the Repub­li­cans feel­ing the wrath of the chang­ing Amer­i­can elec­torate. Maybe the far Right won’t be able to count on the social con­ser­v­a­tives with­in the Latin Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty to push through their agen­da after all.

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