Yesterday—Cinco de Mayo—John McCain announced a new Spanish-language section of his campaign website and plans to speak at the National Council of La Raza convention this summer in an effort to win Hispanic voters. While the Republican Party alienated many Latinos with the rise of the talk-radio-fueled anti-immigrant politics that halted debate over immigration reform, the GOP nominee hopes they will look past that:
McCain stressed his candidacy should be a natural fit for many Hispanics, whom he described as patriotic, loyal, family-oriented and appreciative of the GOP’s opposition to abortion rights and support of small businesses.
“Everything about our Hispanic voters is tailor-made to the Republican message,” McCain said.
And indeed, McCain once seemed “tailor-made” to reach out to Hispanics, as he was the standard-bearer for comprehensive immigration reform, but over the course of the Tancredo-inflected primary, McCain took himself in for an alteration, caving to demands from right-wing activists and converting to an “enforcement-first” position. By shifting to the right, he may have saved his campaign for the GOP nomination, but it’s not clear how he can continue to mollify the anti-immigrant crowd while reaching out to Hispanics.
Indeed, within hours of his announcement, WorldNetDaily was linking McCain to conspiracy theories about “reconquista” and “Aztlan,” asserting that the National Council of La Raza is “a radical Hispanic lobby tied to the movement to reconquer the Southwestern U.S. that was part of Mexico before the Mexican-American War that ended in 1848.”