“Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.” – Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on illegal immigrants

“Hispanics are Republicans they just don’t know it” – Ronald Reagan 

“Keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” – Chinese General Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War.”

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The time-tested notion of running to the poles in party primaries and then shifting to the center in the general election has been widely attributed to Richard Nixon.

And for the most part, this strategy has been de rigueur in American politics for decades. The truly committed – hard left or hard right — are the most likely to passionately participate in retail party caucuses, straw polls and town-hall style meetings during primary seasons. They can make or break a candidacy. These passionate partisans are naturally feared for their high propensity.

And when one survives the primary/caucus gauntlet and becomes the standard-bearer of one of America’s two major political parties, then the task is to pacify the hard-line base and win over the independents.

That strategy worked for decades, but will it continue to be as effective as the Democratic Party moves further to the left and the Republican Party moves further to the right?

The answer very well could be “no.”

The reason lies with the segmentation of American society. Almost DailyBrett wrote about how political pros are becoming adept at using digital technology in building coalitions of sympathetic voters, isolating those who are opposed, and employing GOTV (Get Out the Vote) methods to drive coalition members to the polls.

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David Alexrod and the Obama team were particularly adept with strategies to push America’s growing Hispanic population into the president’s column. Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote; Mitt Romney, just 27 percent. Game, set and match to Obama.

The result was all-together different just eight years earlier as President George W. Bush received 41 percent of the Hispanic vote in defeating his challenger, John Kerry. George W. Bush was the governor of Texas for two terms before being elected president and speaks Spanish. Likewise, Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida for two terms, speaks Spanish, and has been married for 40 years to his Mexico-born wife, Columba.

Plan on seeing, Columba, on the campaign trail and repeated references to four-decades of marital bliss and of course, La Familia.

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Some are contending as evidenced by recent headlines that Jeb is being placed on the “defensive” by his “Act of Love” comments about illegal immigrants. He has drawn measured (for now) responses from rivals, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and commentator Bill O’Reilly. Maybe his carefully chosen comments should be seen in a different light, as a way to highlight his credentials to the pivotal Hispanic voting block that demonstrated by recent evidence is not signed-sealed-and-delivered to the Democratic Party.

Jeb Bush is a bright guy. He knew his “Act of Love” remarks would not play well with the “wingers” in the Republican Party. Heck, he may even lose the Iowa Caucuses as a result of this particular remark…and others that are bound to follow. The loss, if it comes to pass, maybe will be his gain. He cannot win the presidency without at least 40 percent of the Hispanic electorate supporting his candidacy as they did for his brother’s re-election. The Hispanic vote is in play.

Jeb Bush also knows the last three nominees of the Republican Party were not the darlings of the hard right, his brother, John McCain and Mitt Romney. One can win the GOP nomination and the open-seat election in 2016 by demonstrating “electability,” and that requires a sincere commitment to compassion, not exclusion.

There will be some, who will grit their teeth and accuse Jeb of promoting, “amnesty.” These are Jeb’s enemies and he never really had a chance of winning their support in any event. What would be worse is to be seen as appeasing or pandering to the party’s insensitive wing?

Jeb’s deliberate use of the phrase, “Act of Love” in many ways conjures images of Reagan’s sunny, optimistic “Morning in America” theme.

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The mantra is that America is an exceptional nation, one that draws immigrants, one that fosters entrepreneurs and innovation, and if you have a dream and are willing to work hard to make the seemingly impossible, possible, then anything and everything conceivably is achievable.

The notion of the “Act of Love” puts the undocumented alien into a different light instead of a wanted felon; one who is looking to America for a better life for she, he and La Familia.

The first signs of this strategy was how Jeb characterized his decision-making process to run or not run – regardless of the stated objections of his madre: “The decision will be based on, can I do it joyfully, because I think we need to have candidates lift our spirits.”

Jeb is wagering that America needs a dose of optimism, a smile instead of a frown, good-spirited rhetoric instead of mean-spirited name calling. Politics will remain a “contact sport” as referenced by Mary Matalin. The Bush brothers know this. The Clintons know this as well.

Let the contest ensue with the Hispanic vote clearly in play.

 

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/jeb-bush-defends-act-of-love-immigration-105612.html

http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/04/marco-rubio-responds-to-jeb-bushs-act-of-love-comment.html

http://www.politico.com/multimedia/video/2014/04/bill-oreilly-jeb-bush-is-using-my-line-on-immigration.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/11/rand_paul_bush_immigration_remarks_well-intentioned_122257.html

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/jeb-bush-remarks-expose-gops-immigration-problem-23278238

http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Sun_Tzu

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/09/politics/latino-vote-key-election/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26119-2004Dec25.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/segmented-society/

http://www.city-data.com/forum/illegal-immigration/1124060-president-reagan-hispanics-republicans-they-just.html#ixzz2ycXLwocm

 

 

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