By: Johanna Mendelson, VOXXI
Mitt Romney's defeat in Tuesday's Presidential race can be traced directly to the intensity of Latino voters for President Obama, and once loyal white male vote in Ohio. Just weeks before the election President Obama told an Iowa newspaper that he was to be re-elected a "big reason" would be that Romney and the Republicans had alienated the Latino community.
Latino voters, the fastest growing group in America, delivered for the Democrats across the nation and proved the President right. From Virginia, to Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and in communities with growing Latino voters, the grassroots ground effort paid off. Latino voters delivered for the Democrats. President Obama won 71 percent of Latino voters' support while Mitt Romney won 27 percent, even greater than the 36 point advantage Obama had over John McCain in 2008. Latino voters turnout exceeded expectations, representing 10 percent of voters nationwide, a 6 percent increase since 2000.
In Ohio was different, but also provides a lesson about the power of pocketbook over other social issues. White male voters throughout the state voted for the Democratic ticket, largely because it was President Obama whose much-derided bailout of the auto industry was the game changer that saved thousands of jobs in that state. While Obama did not do well among white male voters nationwide, in Ohio it was precisely men, with women and Latino voters who helped to turn the tide.
Mitt Romney's now famous editorial in the Wall Street Journal about letting Detroit fail played time and again in Ohio pre-election advertising. And when Romney tried, one week before the election, to tell Ohio's voters that the Jeep plant was being moved to China by a deal from the President, resulting in shipping jobs overseas, even the corporate types at Jeep could not abide by this form of dishonesty. They ran a public service announcement affirming that Jeeps would be made in Ohio. So Romney was not only tarred with failure to support the auto-industry bailout, but something worse, being a liar!
There will be ongoing "Monday morning quarterbacking" of this presidential election. It will point to a real lack of discussion of issues. It will acknowledge that the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, was not the best choice to run against an incumbent. But these are only the most obvious of reasons. What goes deeper is the Republic mistake of pushing a candidate who viewed the electorate as needy folks, eager to take from the government, but not to give. Who can forget the 47 percent remark of Romney's told at a private fundraiser, when he expressed disdain for those who could not join country clubs, or own a couple of Cadillac's, or have horses compete in the Olympics.
But as they say in the government, "mistakes were made" and the Republican party paid dearly for a costly, close race that not only lost the party the presidency, but a majority in the U.S. Senate.
Romney Failed To Reach Latino Voters, Was On Wrong Side Of Demography
- Romney's advocacy of "self-deportation," his outright rejection of any type of immigration reform, including consideration of assisting children who had been born in the U.S. that were undocumented, the "dreamers," was the last straw for Latino voters. Even Romney's competition in primaries, Texas Governor Rick Perry, was able to muster the courage to support sensible solution to the crisis in immigration reform in this nation.
The people have spoken. The race is over. And as I said, mistakes were made. But what needs to happen now is a rebuilding of confidence in both parties that they can provide American citizens with a vision that helps us out of this political and economic quagmire, opens new opportunities for minorities, and welcomed the diversity of our nation. If the Republicans fail to embrace diversity, women, Latinos, and come into the 21st century, in 2016 we may mourn the end of a once great political machine, the Republican Party.
Johanna Mendelson Forman is a scholar-in-residence at the American University, School of International Services. The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of her institution.