The Hard Politics Of The Soft Sell

More

In selling Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the American people, the White House political team and their allies hope to increase the cost of opposing her. Her Hispanic-American heritage will be used as a wedge to provoke Republicans into fighting other Republicans, but the germane quality here is her story -- an example of rising above and beyond her community to achieve great things while being rooted in the values of that community. 

At issue will be the GOP's level of respect for Hispanics at a time when the gap in support between the two parties is huge and growing.  Anti-immigrant sentiment remains the culprit, so the White House will try to exploit any disrespect towards Sotomayor. This might not be fair, but it's politics. 

Watch for the White House to tailor outreach to conservative Hispanics and Catholic Hispanics, emphasizing certain aspects of Sotomayor's life. The hope is to ratchet up internal pressure within the Republican Party to tamp down their criticism, as though Republicans cannot afford to alienate someone who the majority of Hispanics will view as a hero and a pathbreaker.

In addition to the Hispanic Box, as it where, the White House hopes Republicans are mindful of gender, as well -- Sen. Jon Kyl might want to be more careful with saying things like judges shouldn't be making decisions based on "emotions or feelings." If it sounds like we're going back to college to debate gendered conceptions of American law, or whether women naturally bringing a more empathetic perspective, well, yes, we are. 

Jump to comments
Presented by

Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In