Good article today by Peter Beinart in the Daily Beast. Just one of many that’ve been written in the wake of last week’s election and the Latino overwhelming support of Barack Obama.
Many writers are talking about the rise of a “new electorate” with Latinos at its core. Others are taking a stab at unraveling the reasons that Latinos so blatantly abandoned the GOP (72% to 75%, depending on the poll, is a blatant abandonment be any measure). The Beinart piece is succinct in its conclusion. There are, he says, “two divergent Republican responses to the new, browner America.” The Charles Krauthammer version and the Bill O’Reilly version.
Krauthammer…: Hispanics are “natural” Republicans. They’re culturally traditional; they run small businesses; they’d have voted for Romney in a heartbeat if only he’d not asked them to deport themselves.
The white establishment is now the minority,” Bill O’Reilly declared on election night. “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…
As Beinart puts it, it’s the “Hispanics as Tea Partiers with visa problems,” versus the Romney 47% view of Latinos as “takers.”
The problem is that they’re both wrong. Interestingly, the closer analogy is O’Reilly’s. Closer but still not accurate. Latinos do want, but what they want is opportunity.
It’s quite normal that Hispanics, whose average household income trails non-Hispanic whites by more than a third, would seek government assistance in bridging the gap. Right now the GOP is split between commentators who deny this core motivation behind Hispanic support for the Democrats and those who demonize it. Neither attitude is likely to change the political reality that helped doom Mitt Romney last week.
Not handouts, but a leveling of the field. The rest is work. And Latinos are doing that already.
[Photo by DonkeyHotey]