The black and Latino vote (as well as that of Asians, single women, gays and young voters) were crucial factors in President Obama's reelection. Not only was there a historic turnout of Latino voters and a larger share of African American voters this year, but an overwhelming majority of them voted "blue."
Exit polls show that Obama won the Hispanic vote by a dramatic margin of 71 percent to 27 percent, and the black vote by 93 percent. (Incidentally, Obama also won the Asian vote by 73 percent to 26 percent.) Romney, on the other hand, clinched 59 percent of the white vote.
As minority groups in this country continue to grow in number and political voice, these exit poll figures have proved alarming to many conservatives.
“This is a defining moment for the Republican Party,” GOP strategist Leslie Sanchez told The Washington Post. “If Republicans don’t heed this warning, we are certainly in danger of becoming politically irrelevant at a national level.”
Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions, a nonpartisan polling and research company, concurred.
"[The Republican party] will be doomed if they lose black and Latino votes by these same margins in the future,” he said, citing the persuasive Latino vote in Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico this year.
But as Republicans begin rethinking their strategies (with some calling for comprehensive immigration reform and others encouraging more minority representation within the party), there may be hints that a new "pernicious narrative" is beginning to arise -- one that implies that Obama has won the black and Latino vote because minority groups are more "dependent on government."
At least, this is the argument that has been put forward by Think Progress' Igor Volsky in an article entitled "Republicans claim Obama won re-election because blacks and Hispanics wanted more handouts," which was published Thursday.
Citing comments made by Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative pundits, Volsky posits that an emerging Republican narrative is that "America has permanently shifted from a white male-dominated electorate, to a new crop of minority voters who support Democrats because they are dependent upon government."
“The white establishment is now the minority," O'Reilly said Tuesday. "And the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You are going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”
Echoing a similar sentiment, Limbaugh said on Wednesday that "it's just very difficult to beat Santa Claus."
Also on Wednesday, Fox News' Stuart Varney said that “with Obama’s victory, the takers have taken over. The makers are clearly in the minority,” according to Volsky.
While conservative pundits don't "speak for all Republicans," the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf argues that they are a "small part of the GOP's demographic problem."
In an article Friday about Rush Limbaugh and minority voters, Friedersdorf writes:
It would…be prudent for conservatives to take some advice that seems blindingly obvious, but apparently isn't: Stop letting prominent voices of movement conservatism get away with saying things that are a) actually just racist; b) demagogic race-baiting; or c) so obviously tone-deaf that anyone with common sense can see how terrible it would sound...
This isn't a call to embrace mindless political correctness, or to implement a full scale amnesty, or to cave on issues like affirmative action...Just stop associating with people who deliberately play on America's racial anxieties for profit! Given the contours of America's racial fault lines, doing so is always going to turn off blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and a lot of whites. The crazy thing is that movement conservatism is more likely to totally change its position on numerous public policy issues than it is to disassociate itself with the poisonous Limbaugh.
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