Minnick’s Willie Horton does not even have a name

In 1988, the mug of an African-American felon named Willie Horton swayed white voters toward Bush I

In 2010, the spectre of unnamed “illegals,” blurilly huddled, complete with cheap backpacks, behind Idaho’s first Latino congressional candidate is supposed to sway Idaho voters to Minnick…

At least Bush Uno played a side of policy with his race cards. Rep. Minnick offers nothing but smear, cliche and innuendo in his deck.

The question the ad raises is which voters is Minnick courting? This deliberate campaign strategy, planned even before the ink dried on the Primary Election ballots in May, seeks to peel off anyone to the right of Minnick and to the west and north of Boise who harbor racist and/or xenophobic feelings toward Latinos. It also, as pointed out at the MountainGoat Report, burns key bridges among an equally courtable Canyon County Hispanic base.

There are two problems for Minnick though: (1) He and Labrador, according to my personal impressions of both men, harbor the exact same warm feelings toward Idaho’s growing Hispanic population and are both pretending to be “tough on immigration” in the exact same cliched, imprecise language. (2) Neither of them—though for different reasons—have the guts to lead on this issue anyway, so it’s all just racist hot air and a waste of Idaho’s voice—and still tarnished image—anyway.

I’m retired from writing or caring about electoral politics, but this issue touches on human politics. On the eve of a test vote on the DREAM Act, which has the potential to change the lot in life of nearly 1 million young, intelligent, dedicated Americans who through no fault of their own find themselves without papers, in limbo between nations, I wish that candidates and elected representatives would think about something other than their public personas for once and lead us to the mountaintop, even if they don’t get there with us.

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