Decisions on Prop 8, Arizona Immigration Law May Hurt Democrats

Liberals need to turn out in November to support equal rights.

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Freedom isn't free. And support for civil liberties may cost Democrats at the polls in November.

One of the many problems facing Democratic candidates this fall is that potential Republican voters are much more energized than their Democratic counterparts. National surveys indicate that GOP loyalists are about 20 percent more likely than Democrats to describe themselves as enthusiastic about voting in the midterms.

And if GOP voters weren’t ginned up enough already, decisions by federal judges in Arizona last week and in California yesterday are likely to push Tea Party turnout into the stratosphere. First a federal judge in Arizona stayed the implementation of parts of that state’s new immigration law, and yesterday a federal judge in California declared the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.

[Read Karen Finney: California Decision a Win for American Values]

The federal court decisions of the last two weeks indicate that there is an inexorable march in American history to equality. Conservatives can slow the march down but they can’t stop it. It took women more than a century to gain their rights and it took black Americans even longer. It’s just a matter of time until Latino citizens and gay Americans take their place in the sun.

Until then, Democrats may take a hit this fall. But less of a hit if liberals get off their butts and vote in November to demonstrate their support for equal rights.

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