In a conference call today, Team Obama deflated the Republican talking point that they can fix their demographic problem by running a Latino.
Republicans think they can fix their obvious demographic problem by running a Latino in 2016 and coming up with an immigration reform policy that isn’t quite as insulting as Papers Please and self-deportation.
The problem with this strategy was made obvious today in a conference call with the Obama team, who point out that Latinos are aspirational communities who care about the economy, access to healthcare, and education among other issues.
On the conference call, a reporter from the International Journal asked what the 2012 83% gain in the Florida Puerto Rican vote for Obama, which in the past has voted Republican, meant for Florida as a battleground state. (See new Florida polls on this issue.)
Jim Messina explained that Latinos care about issues like the economy and more, and that they watched Republicans “use them as political football,” referring to them as “illegals”, calling to veto the DREAM Act, and that because of this, the choice was clear.
David Axelrod added that Hispanic communities are aspirational communities; education is central to that, as is the ability to have access to healthcare. Furthermore, the fact that the President offered in his platform a sense of advocacy for working people, for strivers, for 100% of the Americans was something that resonated strongly in these communities.
Axelrod concluded that the Republican Party “has some soul searching to do.” He suggested that they need to assess America as it is, not based on some 50 year old model.
The Republican Party thinks it can Sarah Palin their demographic problem in 2016 by running a Latino and coming up with a single-issue solution to appeal to Latinos.
The problem is that Latinos, like many Americans, are not all single-issue voters. The very fact that the Republicans continue to view minorities through the warped lens of their own insulated vision of America is going to be their downfall.
The other problem for Republicans is that it wasn’t just the Latino vote, the women vote, or the young vote that powered Obama to a second term. The President also won on his message of economic fairness and his education platform which appealed to moderates. Bellwether suburban counties of moderates went for Obama. Turns out, the President got 56% of the self-described moderate vote.
Yes, 56% of the moderate vote went to President Barack Obama. There is no other way of interpreting these numbers other than a resounding mandate for the platform that he campaigned on and a rejection of the extremism in the Republican Party.
Running a Latino as a new cover for the same book isn’t going to fix the systemic problems inherent in the Republican Party’s 40 plus year old Southern Strategy, which relies upon demonizing minorities in order to galvanize the resentful white voters in the South to vote Republican.
It’s going to take more than a pretty minority to fix this problem, because the problem isn’t in the optics, it’s in the policies. Republicans don’t want to face that, but just like the math they denied, it’s reality.