Sen. Tom Tancredo is crazy. He's mean. His anti-immigrant hatred is fundamentally un-American.
But his announcement that he's forming a presidential exploratory committee is great news for every Democratic presidential contender. Tancredo, along with immigrant-bashing candidates Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter, will push the Republican front-runners far to the right of the mainstream American voter. Not only will this shift to the right hurt the GOP's chances in 2008, and it will help create a new generation of Democratic voters among the fastest growing demographic group in the country.
From the Rolling Stone:
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.
From the Rocky Mountain News:
Tancredo will go after Bush, too. He'll go after McCain. He'll go after anyone at the table, and the Tancredoistas, when they're not busy adjusting their night goggles along the Mexico border, will be cheering him on.
Tancredo wants to frame his race as David vs. Goliath. I know David, and Tancredo is no David. He's more like the gnat on an elephant's, uh, hide.
He doesn't mind. As long as Tancredo sticks around, the people who will mind are Romney and Giuliani and the rest of the Republican field.
From the VDARE Foundation:
If done properly, a Tancredo run could shock the Establishment candidates and force the immigration issue to the front of the primaries. David Yepsen, one of the top election analysts, noted this morning that Tancredo "has the potential to pull the Republican field of candidates to the right…on his signature issue of curbing illegal immigration." [Immigration critic could pull caucus field to right]. Of the three announced establishment candidates, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are solidly in the open borders camp, while Mitt Romney has a mixed record.