"You go hunting where the ducks are," said Barry Goldwater.
The successor to Barry's Senate seat apparently believes that ducks come from Mexico and speak Spanish. For in July alone, John McCain made three separate appearances before Hispanic groups.
Last week, he spoke to La Raza (The Race), where rival Barack Obama said, "The Latino community holds the election in its hands."
McCain would appear to agree. But are he and the GOP letting go of the bird in the hand to grab two in the bush, which may not even be there?
Consider. Though Hispanics are 14.5 percent of the U.S. population, they will likely constitute only 7 percent to 8 percent of the electorate in 2008.
Why? A vast share are illegal or recent immigrants who cannot vote. Hispanic citizens also register and vote in low percentages. And they are concentrated in New York, Illinois and California, which are out of reach for McCain, and Texas, where McCain will win handily.
Some 14 percent of the vote in crucial Florida is Hispanic, but Cubans are overrepresented there, and Cubans do not vote like La Razans.
A mid-July Quinnipiac University poll showed Obama leading McCain among black voters 94 to 1. Yet, McCain appeared last week at the NAACP convention.
Now, as GOP nominee, McCain is entitled to court any voters. But why has he decided to court the hardest of hard-core Democrats, rather than the Democrats he can win?
Who are they? Though the GOP seems deaf to the message, the primaries of 2008 fairly screamed out the answer.
Hillary lost 90 percent of the black vote in April and May but routed Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania by 10 points, and in Kentucky and West Virginia by 35 and 41. With almost no African-American votes, in states where the Hispanic vote is tiny, Hillary crushed the nominee of the Democratic Party who is McCain's opponent this fall.
The Democrats who will decide the outcome in November are white folks living in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. More numerous than African-Americans and Hispanics combined, they have often voted Republican and, as they showed in the primaries, are wary of Barack, his associations and his attitudes.
McCain may not recognize that this is where the election can be won, but Obama recognizes this is where the election can be lost. This is why he has scuttled rightward so fast his liberal base is in shock.
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