November 07, 2012

As Hispanics Go, So Goes the Nation

"The situation is hopeless, but not serious." - Italian proverb

What can you say but that the definition of insanity works both ways, for both parties. Keep doing what you're doing, Democrats, i.e. voting for Obama despite the lack of results. And keep doing what you're doing Republicans, not rebranding as the Hispanic-philiac party and you'll keep losing elections. Why can't we appeal to Hispanics given their supposed conservative leaning on social issues? Why is it so hard to win their vote? Is it simply immigration policies? Shouldn't there have been loads of focus groups and studies done to determine what it will take to at least split the Hispanic vote? How much advertising is directed to that community? A telling stat is that Republicans have lost the presidential popular vote in five of the last six elections despite nominating people like McCain and Romney, hardly rightwing ideologues.

Ultimately it would've been hard for Romney to devote resources to Hispanics when it might cost him some of his base. There are those on the right, like Laura Ingraham, who will hold as a litmus test taking a hard line on the border. And it's pretty hard to forsake voters you know will vote for you in order to reach out to those who likely won't. The close 50-48 result suggests Romney's plan was credible. He's thinking short-term, of course. Nobody wants to think long-term, to court Hispanic voters at the cost of their own elective chances.

This election is a case study: conservatives all afire, electrified, while Obama's base not as excited and still Obama wins. The Dems have all the untapped power of many, many undermotivated voters. The Republicans have to consistently get out a big percentage of their vote in order to be competitive while the Dems are sitting on this huge goldmine of would-be voters who don't vote but who could should the spirit move. Which it does to an effective degree in presidential elections. I think this trend will only be exacerbated in the future.

Romney seems to have fought harder this election than McCain did in '12, ran a tougher campaign, but...how could he lose Ohio? That doesn't compute for me. Perhaps it comes down simply to Obama "defining" him in June and July with blistering, unanswered ads. There's a reason advertisers spend billions advertising their products: advertising works. And political advertising obviously works with voters.

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So the election result can't be too surprising. It's been 25 years in the making. Reagan won the same percentage of white vote as Romney and won in an landslide. It's both cultural and demographic. It's like going uphill: every election cycle it gets tougher for conservatives given the demographic makeup and the erosion of Christian values. With the demographics it's simply math taking its course (a libertarian on my twitter feed said that math, not the Republicans, will slay big government. Perhaps. but there appears no quick hope of slaying the abortion industry or protecting religious liberty.)

On the bright side, at least we had the Bush appointees for the Supreme Court. How large that looms now! How incredibly close we came to having an Al Gore presidency. (Of course without Bush, perhaps there's no Obama, but a Supreme Court justice in the hand beats two in the bush.)

I'm grateful that at least we got some appointees on the Court because without the Bush appointees we'd have a liberal-stacked Court and would basically have no protection to limit Obama's worst impulses. That is truly a bright side. A few votes in Florida resulted in 2000 resulted in a lasting legacy in the form of the lifetime appointment of two conservative justices. Thank God!

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