For the immigrant families, both working- and middle-class, I have met in my few days in Ohio, the vote is an almost mythical thing. Unlike many people whose doorbells I have rung, new citizens seem grateful I have come to urge them to vote. They have not taken Ohio’s early-voting option because they want to go to the polls in person today and stand in line with their fellow citizens. Several plan to take their children to see the process of a democracy in which they still strongly believe, at least on this one day. The people of color with whom I have spoken – native-born and immigrant – are overwhelmingly supporting Barack Obama. Does that mean that race is the driving force in this election? I believe it is one of them. But those who play the “race card” are not those seeking the minority and immigrant votes, but those who have written them off. Voter suppression is a big issue in Ohio, as it is elsewhere, and it is the Republicans who are most intent on using it, while its victims are overwhelmingly minorities, immigrants and the poor.
Yet those are the people who have said to me, “We are all in this together,” which is exactly the opposite message the Republicans have been sending overtly until a few weeks ago – and continue to signal to their core.
In a changing country, I think it is both a reprehensible and a losing strategy.
The sun is out this morning in Cleveland for the first time in a week. I take it as an omen.