I just HAD to create a diary in response to the thread by Kos vis-a-vis the major demographic changes in many red and purple states largely driven by the growth in the latino population. There is a HUGE mistaken (and offensive to label them as such, I might add) belief that Hispanics can be "had" by appealing to their Catholic roots and ASSUMED social conservatism. I have credibility in this issue because I was a Republican at one time and tried in vain to unseat Rep. Ed Pastor simply by appealing to the supposed social conservatism of Latinos. I worked for an idiot Mexican-American rightwinger who ran for Congress in the 1990s. And all she did was preach social issues to Latin voters from the rooftops. Well, it didn't work.
I have latinos in my family who live in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and a couple unfortunate ones who happen to be trapped in Texas. I also have been a liberal Democrat since the 2000 election and was and am heavily involved in the union and gay rights movements in Arizona. Being in a "right" to work state fucking SUCKS for being involved with GOTV with unions and getting money out of them. But here I am. And I have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Giffords, Grijalva, Kirkpatrick, Mitchell, Goddard, and Pastor and many state legislators (and unsuccessful candidates for all sorts of offices) from law enforcement unions, CWA, AFL-CIO, etc. I have been involved in principally the Giffords and Grijalva camps over the years and have seen their internal polling. Bottom line is that the VAST majority of Mexican-Americans and other latinos polled internally lean HEAVILY towards the most PROGRESSIVE of the Democrats in any given primary scenario. The Latins in the AZ State Leg are almost ALL heavily liberal and are untouchable in their districts. I have even seen polls that show a substantial amount of Latinos would be in a theoretically viable Socialist Party. In addition, the polls ALWAYS have shown a majority of Latinos polled believe in the right to choose, care about the environment, and, because I am gay, I have a particular interest in this one: The VAST majority of Hispanics polled have always shown more tolerance of gays, gay marriage, gays in the military than their white counterparts.
It is insulting to assume that the GOP can just grab even a substantial chunk of the Hispanic vote by simply appealing to "Catholic" social issues. Those who believe that need to answer why the fuck are the white eastern European descent people in Chicago not more GOP because of "social issues"? And how about the Italian-Americans in San Francisco, NYC, Boston, Baltimore, you name it? Huh? In fact, my Hispanic Northern New Mexican family members would be to the Left of most Kossacks. Even on the social issues. Sometimes ESPECIALLY on the social issues. I am not latino myself, but the ones who had the most welcoming attitude when i came out were my Hispanic family members (by marriage). Interestingly, one who did (she doesn't anymore) have a problem with me being gay was my white Scottish descent aunt from Boston who is a life-long yellow dog Democrat.
You make these "Catholic" social issue assumptions at your peril. The one assumption that CAN be made (and I have seen it in the internal polling) is that Latinos are substantially more likely to vote for one of their "own" if given a choice. But NOT if that latin last name has an "R" by it.