After the GOP was trounced by Latino voters on Election Day—a nightmare scenario that sophisticated observers had seen coming for a long time—I called former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, the Chairman of the Board of the center-right American Action Network and its related organization, the Hispanic Leadership Network.
“We’re Americans,” Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu told me two weeks ago in the Russell Senate building in Washington, D.C. “We don’t eat our dogs, and we don’t eat our horses.” She had just finished delivering a speech to a rapt audience of two-dozen bright-eyed teenage girls, a handful of congressmen, top members of the ASPCA and Humane Society, and Lorenzo Borghese, star of the ninth season of the reality television show The Bachelor.
In May 2010, Susana Martinez was running neck and neck in the Republican primary for the New Mexico governor’s race. Her opponent, Allen Weh, a former chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party, had poured hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money into his campaign. Martinez, a district attorney, was fighting to close the gap. Then Sarah Palin came to town. On May 16, Palin, whose star power was at its peak, appeared before a standing-room-only crowd in Albuquerque’s Marriott hotel, clad in a black leather jacket, and enveloped Martinez in a hug.