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  Strictly off-limits: Gun control is one of the issues that the presidential candidates refused to talk about. 

Despite the billions of dollars spent in the American general election, despite the thousands of TV advertisements aired over the eight months or so of tough campaigning, despite the four and a half hours of debates that the candidates had in front of prime-time audiences numbering over 100 million, there were still many very important issues for the United States from which both candidates for president shied away. Far from being the cathartic purging of the nation's mind and soul that this election was presented as in the popular consciousness, there are vital areas of American public life that received next to no attention on the hustings of either side, for very persuasive — if entirely cynical — reasons.

Take immigration: there are estimated to be more than 11 million illegal immigrants living in the US, which has a huge effect on the economy, both for good and ill. The Republican party's official position is the farcical one of supporting what Mitt Romney in January called "self-deportation", i.e. hoping the illegals will turn themselves in, although in some states the Republicans are far tougher, supporting non-consensual deportation.

One of the biggest issues in American politics over the past year has been Arizona's use of police stop-and-search to crack down on illegals, yet a glance at the demographic make-up of several key swing states makes it immediately clear why neither side talked about the issue at the hustings. New Mexico is 46 per cent Hispanic by population, Arizona is 29.6 per cent, Nevada 26.5 per cent, Florida 22.5 per cent and Colorado 20.7 per cent. Together these states represent no fewer than 59 electoral votes, out of the 270 a candidate needs to win the White House.

Yet if the Republicans didn't want to alienate Hispanics in these key states, why didn't the Democrats bang the immigration drum on the other side, hoping to scare the Latino voters into their camp by summoning up the fear of deportation? The answer is that they feared that by so doing they might have driven the white voters in those five states into the hands of the Republicans. Consider that in Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union speech, a grand total of 195 words were dedicated to the immigration issue, out of a total of 6,000 words, or 3.25 per cent, concerning a massive issue that is threatening to bankrupt several of those states where the undocumented illegals live and work.

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A Free American
November 1st, 2012
1:11 PM
This is a poorly researched and argued article, containing numerous errors in fact and logic. 1. The author writes "The Republican party's official position is the farcical one of supporting what Mitt Romney in January called "self-deportation", i.e. hoping the illegals will turn themselves in". No, "self-deportation" refers to illegal immigrants returning to their countries of origin, not "turning themselves in". It is not a "farcical" concept. On the contrary, several million illegals have done so since 2008. 2.) The author writes: "although in some states the Republicans are far tougher, supporting non-consensual deportation." Federal law already provides for non-consensual deportation. Republicans merely want to enforce existing statutory law. 3.) "why didn't the Democrats bang the immigration drum on the other side, hoping to scare the Latino voters into their camp by summoning up the fear of deportation?" They have tried to do so Mr. Roberts. Have you not been paying attention to the election? This issue has not gained any traction, because the majority of Americans support the enforcement of our immigration laws. 4.) "the campaigns by Michael Bloomberg and Mayors Against Illegal Guns making headlines, the issue of gun control is another one that is being discussed everywhere in America, except on the hustings." This is a completely false statement. Gun control is not being discussed anywhere outside the NY Times editorial room, Upper West Side cocktail parties and a few other cloistered precincts. Mr. Roberts needs to get out into the real world more often. The American people overwhelmingly support our civil rights regarding gun ownership. That's why gun control is not being discussed in the campaign. It would be political suicide for the Democrats to do so, and they know it. 5.) "As 85 per cent of Democrats, 76 per cent of Republicans and 80 per cent of independents oppose the Citizens United decision..." The author cites no source for this statement. Perhaps there is some bogus poll that claims such a thing, but no way do 76% of Republicans oppose the Citizens United decision. There "will be little (or no) price to pay from voters", precisely because voters don't care about this issue. They have other priorities. 6.) "There has to be a cheaper way of delivering democracy in America without abridging the First Amendment..." Here, it is obvious that the author lacks the common sense and reasoning abilities needed to address this issue. The $6 billion being spent is coming from entirely private sources, and so spending it does not deny funds to schools and hospitals. Mr. Roberts' implied solution is government-funded campaign spending, which would indeed re-allocate funds from those purposes to campaigning. Other proposed solutions, such as mandated free advertising time for campaigns on TV networks, are a clear violation of property rights and free speech rights, and free press rights. Is it too much to ask that Standpoint Magazine employ writers with adequate research, reasoning and argumentation skills? This article reads like something out of The Guardian, minus the sneering invective and condescending attitude typical of that publication.

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