I began following presidential campaigns in 1948, when I was a child and not old enough to vote. It was in that same year that I also attended my first and so far only campaign rally by an actual presidential candidate (Harry Truman, then running for re-election against Tom Dewey, the man on top of the wedding cake, whose lack of ability to show any genuine concern for ordinary people foreshadowed Mitt Romney today).
Later, as a college student, I also attended a speech by then Senator John F. Kennedy, but he was running for re-election, not yet for the presidency. I have seen many very strange things in American presidential politics.
But I have never seen anything stranger than this year's presidential campaign, in which the two major parties are doing everything in their power to antagonize the fastest growing portion of the electorate, namely Latino (and Asian) voters. According to an article in the January 18 ID written on behalf of the Pew Hispanic Center, fully one third of these voters consider immigration to be a very important issue. Many of them personally know someone who has had deportation-related problems.
In 2000, Latino voters did a great deal to help George W. Bush win almost as many votes as his Democratic opponent, Al Gore. In 2008, they were crucial to Barack Obama's election. In 2010, these same voters stayed home in droves, giving right wing radicals control of the House of Representatives.
What madness in both parties to use every possible strategy to alienate these voters, as the Republicans are doing with their support of draconian anti-immigrant state laws and their pledge to deport, with few if any exceptions, every last unauthorized Spanish-speaking (or other brown-skinned) man, woman and child in America; and Obama, who is taking deportations to record levels, amounting almost to mass expulsion, is also doing.
By targeting Latinos and other minority immigrant communities, and alienating American citizen members of these communities, the presidential candidates in both parties are acting as if they are not running for the presidency, but against it.