Hispanic Vote Key to Republican Victory
The good news, Republicans are seeing gains in both congressional seats and electorial college votes. The bad news is that many of those votes are the result of increase Hispanic population growth, which brings us to the big challenge for Republicans in 2012 and beyond, how do Republicans attract Hispanics voters?
2010 was an unusual election in which Obama's incompetence led to a massive meltdown among Independents and led to Republicans winning Congress, but 2012 will be a different election. Republicans can’t count on Obama's incompetence in winning the Presidency, holding the House and capturing the Senate.
In 2010, immigration did not play as big a factor as it did in 2006 and 2008, including among Hispanic voters where economy was the primary factor. Every election is different and conditions are different with some pundits such as Dick Morris viewing Obama a prisoner of events, but an incumbent President also has the power to shape events and the narrative for an election.
In 2012, every vote will count and Republicans need to at least recapture the same states they captured in 2004, which includes Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, states with heavy Hispanic voter concentration. In 2000, Gore captured New Mexico but in 2004, an independent conservative 527 organization targeting Hispanic voters with conservative themes, along with the Bush emphasis on Hispanic votes, allowed the Republicans to capture New Mexico by significantly increasing Republican share among Hispanics. Overall, the Bush campaign increased the Republicans' vote total to 40-44% and in states that the organization aided the effort, increased those numbers even higher. (This has been the Republican highwater mark among Hispanic voters, showing that Hispanics will vote Republican.)
2008, the combination of war weary population, economy, and among Hispanics, immigration reforms, were issues that allowed Obama to reverse Republican gains of the past two presidental elections. The Democrats’ goal in 2012 will be to rebuild their coalition by increasing turnout among youth voters, Hispanics and African-Americans along with recapturing moderate voters to turn the tide from the 2010 defeat while mobilizing the union votes for a do or die battle.
For Republicans, they need to learn the right lesson and one lesson was that those candidates including New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio talked kitchen economic issues and did not stress immigration reforms. (Rubio and Perry stressed border security and not a comprehensive immigration reform, but they did question whether Arizona SB 1070 was a good idea.)
It is also interesting that many of those politicians considered harder edge on immigration just as Sharron Angle and Tom Tancredo actually preformed worse among White voters than those like Martinez and Perry, who took a softer approach toward immigration. (One can argue on the reason why White voters rejected selected immigration hardliner in greater numbers, but there is no doubt that hard line immigration stances did little to add to the White vote totals among Republicans.)
Republicans can not be satisfied with just having a third of Hispanic voters. They need a higher percentage. In a study yet to be published, approximately 35% of Hispanics have retirement plans worth more than $25,000 and over 10% of Hispanics run their own businesses, so millions of Hispanics are members of the investor class and millions more own their own business. So there is a base in expanding the conservative majority over the next decade by including Hispanics voters among these entrepreneurs. The Republican message of tax and budget reductions along with sensible business regulations will appeal to these voters.
Victory in 2012 and beyond begins with a Republican revival among Hispanic voters.