Why did Obama win the election?
“Demographics… pure and simple.”
That was NBC political wonk Chuck Todd’s four-word answer on Meet The Press this past weekend.
Here’s the slightly longer answer: White voters down 2%. Non-White voters, driven by the large Hispanic turnout, up 1%. Net 3%. Game over.
Todd went on to present a map of the 10 states with the largest Hispanic populations. Obama won 8 of them one week ago. Todd believes Arizona will be in play in 2016 with Texas to follow soon thereafter.
Guess how many electoral votes reside in these 10 states alone.
Only need 270 to park at La Casablanca for 4 years.
Republican strategist Steve Schmidt, who ran Juan McCain’s campaign in 2008, had this to say:
“The problem is that there are too many Republican leaders in Congress, if you say the word “Latino” and you played a word association game with them… they would come back with “Illegal Immigrant.”
Not Silver Star winner, not doctor, not lawyer, not policeman, not fireman. This is an important part of our community, this is an important part of the future of the Republican party and the Republican party needs to get it together on its outreach to Latinos….”
Republicans will find their inner Ronald Reagan, who said, “Latinos are Republicans… they just don’t know it yet.”
Regardless of your personal political leanings, here are two things both parties will find come 2016…
Two Things Hispanics Are Not
Hispanics are not a single uniform voting block.
Some are conservative on particular issues, some are liberal. In the next four years this demographic will be much more politically stratified than it is now.
Case in Point: For the first time in decades, a majority of Cubans in Miami voted Democrat. Third Generation Cubans may blame Kennedy for the Bay of Pigs, but they don’t blame all Democrats… at least not Obama.
One issue that is uniform? Hispanics will consistently oppose politicians who push for mass deportations.
Hispanics are not all “illegal.”
Here is some fuzzy math to consider:
– 11M “illegal immigrants” in the US
– 78% of these 11M are Hispanic = 8.58M
– 51M total Hispanics in US
– 17% “illegal”
– 83% “legal”
Yep – More than 4 out of 5 Hispanics you’ll see today are legal. Many of them have been in the US for decades.
Unfortunately, the perception I get is many think the math is reversed – that 83% are illegal. Not so.
Behold the Universal Truth: Enlightened Self-Interest
Gotta look out for Número Uno, right?
Momentum builds quickly when doing that which benefits you personally also happens to benefit others.
Here is Steve Schmidt again, getting on-board with the Latino Outreach talk:
“And it’s good to hear that Lindsey Graham and Chuck Schumer are going to start advancing comprehensive immigration reform again because we have to get this off the table as a political issue for the party.
And we also have to have a Zero Tolerance with the terrible tone that’s coming out of the talk radio universe and some of our leaders in Congress who are serially disrespectful to this fastest-growing demographic in the country.”
Had Romney won, do you think he’d be all for Immigration Reform?
I don’t know, but I doubt it.
But it doesn’t matter.
The point is this: It’s in Republicans enlightened self-interest to court the Hispanic vote. If they don’t, they’ll lose in 2016. And then in 2020…
The Hispanic demographic is huge and growing. And most importantly, Hispanics understand their numbers represent power. Hispanics can determine how things are run domestically.
Now… put politics aside.
What is in your best interest?
Want safer jobsites?
Court Hispanics… they are 2x as likely to be injured or killed.
Want to increase sales?
Court Hispanics… Nearly 11M Hispanics shopped at The Home Depot once in the past month.
Want to increase Productivity?
Court Hispanics… 74% of all new jobs this decade will be filled by Hispanics.
Want to decrease negative feedback?
Demographics are political destiny.
Demographics are construction destiny.
Ignore the demographics at your own peril.
Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish language gap in the construction industry.
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