Desperate men reach for desperate tactics, and staring in the face of near certain electoral losses in 2010 the Democrats have reached for a familiar strategy – race baiting. Yes, in an effort to blunt conservative momentum the Democratic leadership will attempt to use immigration as a wedge to divide the GOP and convince minority voters that all this opposition to Obama is really just thinly disguised racism.

Immigration was already shaping up to be a hot button issue in 2010. Health coverage for illegal immigrants has become a focal point of criticism in the health care debate. And Rep. Lamar Smith recently fired a salvo Obama’s way over the issue. But Republicans have to be careful around this topic or risk losing minority voters. That could be significant in the contested 2010 races here in Travis County. To wit:

* HD 48 is 12% Hispanic and 18.7% of voters speak a language other than English in the home

* HD 47 is 19.2% Hispanic and 17.8% say they speak a language other than English at home

* CD 10 is 18.7% Hispanic

Although Latinos do not make up a majority in any of those districts, the elections last time around were all close. The two state legislature races in particular were razor thin, and a difference of a few thousand or a few hundred votes in 2010 could potentially carry great significance. Conservative commentators have already begun pontificating how Republicans can best handle this issue and turn it around to their advantage. If they can do that, perhaps one of the oldest tricks in the liberal playbook will finally be put to rest.