If there is one thing that can be concluded from the 2012 presidential election, it is the value of the Latino vote. Barack Obama came out on top but a crucial component to his success was due to him receiving nearly 75 percent of the Latino vote. In 2008, President Obama received about 68 percent of this same demographic; therefore, the question needs to be asked: what are the Republicans doing wrong?
The day following Obama’s re-election, right wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh was quoted as saying: “Conservatism, in my humble opinion, did not lose last night. It’s just very difficult to beat Santa Claus.” There couldn’t be a better quote to sum up all the shortcomings of the Republican party over the past four years.
Limbaugh and his right wing followers are the only ones living in a fantasy world in this country. Comparing Obama and his leftist agenda to Santa Claus is like what Republicans do when they compare Ronald Reagan to God, it’s laughable. Republicans, since 2008, have moved to extremes well beyond the reality of who votes in this country. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Romney was unable to bring in a large Latino vote especially after saying just about anything about immigration during the primaries.
President George W. Bush at least had a plan about immigration that appealed to many Latinos. Bush favored a guest-worker program for illegal immigrants and strongly supported a bipartisan bill that would implement significant modifications to the immigration process. The present day Republicans don’t have similar views and Romney, unfortunately, was forced to appeal to this fringe Republican base, who wouldn’t mind erecting another Great Wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Republicans will now be forced to spend another four years trying to establish a new identity, one that hopefully isn’t infused with Reaganomics and white hegemony. It’s 2012 not 1980, so here’s some advice: first try to imagine America as a melting pot, with diverse cultures and demographics. Then try to pick at least one minority group and appeal to them; Latinos are preferred since they are the fastest growing voting demographic in the U.S.
Lastly, come up with new ideas that don’t result in financial catastrophes, social inequality or war-mongering ignorance.
The electorate has changed quite considerably from the year 2000. However, it seems only one political party has been able to capitalize on this progression: the Democrats. The 2012 presidential election demonstrates this shift but doesn’t immediately eliminate the governmental paralysis that has stymied the Democratic agenda. President Obama has his plate full in the coming four years as he attempts to deal with the fiscal cliff, rekindle bipartisanship and please the voters who re-elected him. But one group in particular will be looking for something in return from President Obama: the Latinos, who hope immigration reform is on the table this time around.