In which New Mexico Democrats' white, male gubernatorial nominee pronounces his Hispanic, female opponent -- whom he's trailing in the polls -- to be insufficiently 'Latino' in her heart, or something (via the Weekly Standard):
"You can't go out there and just vote for somebody for governor because they have a Latino surname. She said you have to look at them and find out if they have a Latino heart. And we know that Susana Martinez does not have a Latino heart."
Martinez has remained popular throughout her first term in office, and currently leads Gary King -- the state's resident expert on primitive racial loyalty -- in the polls. The latest statewide survey shows Martinez with a comfortable nine-point lead:
The Albuquerque Journal notes that Martinez is ahead among men and women, enjoying a 20-point advantage among the state's growing cohort of independent voters, and a 23-point lead among whites. She's attracting 36 percent of Hispanic voters and 21 percent of self-described Democrats in the survey, not too far off her 2010 pace (40 and 24 percent, respectively). She is an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, but has emphasized border security as a top priority, and has repeatedly fought a law granting state drivers licences to illegal immigrants. Martinez isn't a stranger to naked racially-charged attacks; a Democratic state representative angrily referred to her as "the Mexican" in 2011. A few miles northwest of New Mexico, another Hispanic Republican governor is heavily favored to win re-election. Nevada's Brian Sandoval holds a commanding 24-point lead in that gubernatorial contest, in a state boasting a substantial Latino population. King's naked appeals to 'authentic' race loyalty -- determined by divining the Latino-ness of someone else's 'heart,' or whatever -- is objectively abhorrent, but Allahpundit wonders if it's smart politics, and if conservatives play into a trap by highlighting it:
[Democrats'] goal isn’t to challenge Martinez on the merits of the issue, the goal is to leave her racial authenticity under a cloud so that undecided Latinos will break Democratic for fear of “betraying their race” by voting for her. Democrats have done well among black voters with that strategy. Of course they’re going to try it with Latinos. In fact, I wonder if we’ve reached the point where it’s counterproductive for righties...to call attention to this stuff. The goal in highlighting it is to get the attention of the wider media and ultimately shame the responsible party into recanting. But Democrats aren’t going to be shamed. This works for them. If they get a day of bad press and meanwhile the attention to the smear helps spread it even further, why wouldn’t they make that trade? But meanwhile, if righties say nothing, King gets to shovel this sh*t without a word of reproach. What’s the smart play?
It's a fair tactical question. Silence permits tawdry schlubs like King to peddle racial ugliness unchallenged, but amplifying the nastiness arguably only fuels a narrative on which Democrats thrive. Under the latter theory, any racial publicity is good publicity. I think calling people out for their racial demagoguery, the purpose of which is to stifle genuine debate and obscure real issues, is the right thing to do on principle. In this case, there's the added bonus of drawing attention to the spectacle of a bland liberal white dude playing unseemly racial politics against a Latina conservative. It disrupts two lefty identity politics memes -- plus, Martinez isn't shy about defending herself. She ran one of the most brutally effective TV spots of the 2010 cycle, demolishing her opponent's attack ad: