Word is Tom Tancredo is dropping out of the GOP race. He’s certainly done his job.
He and Obama declared their candidacies on the same day. And I wrote at the time that Tancredo might have a bigger impact on the 2008 race. I’m not sure I’m wrong. He’s dragged his party into a nativist stance that could turn the Southwest Blue, and catapult any Democrat into office.
…Which brings us to Tancredo. The anti-immigrant zealot has done more than any Republican since California Governor Pete Wilson to undermine his party’s prospects with Latino Americans. His populist xenophobia has been so damaging to the GOP’s outreach to the fastest growing ethnic voting bloc in the country that Karl Rove once furiously warned Tancredo never again to “darken the door” of the White House.
Tancredo’s calls to wall off the Mexican border and deport all undocumented workers play well to a significant portion of the Republican base, and his presence in the campaign will make it difficult for other GOP contenders to stake out a more reasonable stance. John McCain has been already been backed into this declaration on the border: “I think the fence is least effective,” he told Vanity Fair, “But I’ll build the goddamned fence if they want it.”
The longer Tancredo stays in the race and the further to the nativist right he pulls the other GOP hopefuls on immigration, the greater the boon to Democrats in vital swing states like Florida, New Mexico, and Nevada.