I posed the question to the class—what do you think will happen in the U.S. when the majority population is brown? Well, swaggered one student, it won’t matter because whites will still hold the power. And, I swear, he snickered at his brilliance. Maybe this year, that former student voted for Romney—and like Romney must have been stunned when Romney didn’t win.Welcome to the new normal, as they say. Or, as they say—this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.
There have been many analyses of the reasons why the 2012 presidential election turned out the way it did. I can’t compete with all that greater wisdom, but I find it noteworthy that, as far back as 1998, someone such as Luis Urea anticipated the impact of a political party’s stance on issues would have on voting response. He wrote: “most Mexican immigrants—both ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’—would vote Republican if given a chance, except the Republicans scare them.”This wisdom was something that Bill O’Reilly and Karl Rove seemed unable to fathom. Karl Rove’s meltdown on Fox News was particularly embarrassing, excruciating, and delicious to watch. Perhaps—like too many Republicans, he has ignored facts for so long that, when faced with indisputable statistical evidence, he simply couldn’t believe that the skewed polls the Romney campaign had been relying on toward the end of the campaign could have been wrong. But wrong they were, and wrong Rove was.
When it came to Romney’s explanation as to why he lost, he also ignored the numbers, focusing instead on a variation on his 47% theme. Obama—according to Romney—simply gave too many gifts to too many groups of people and Romney couldn’t compete with that. Gifts? Oh, right—such as forgiveness of college loan interest, or health care, or amnesty for children born in the U.S. or brought here as infants by parents who were illegal immigrants. Sounds rather like Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus.”I found it fascinating if not troubling that Romney saw those things as gifts—with a clear implication that the recipients were not worthy to receive—but did not see his own plans as gifts. What about more tax breaks for the rich? What about privatizing some of the essential elements of government so investors could reap the profits? Romney also didn’t seem to realize that he himself benefits from “gifts”—a tax structure that grants him a far lesser tax burden than it does most of the people he disparaged.
But I digress.If you want to delve into the numbers a bit more, here’s a fascinating graphic that looks at where Obama’s strength was, and where Romney’s was. Note that the trends that have continued to move in Obama’s favor are voters of Hispanic background.
We are now two weeks past the election—and Romney has had his say. Amazingly, other leaders in the Republican Party are distancing themselves from the “too many gifts” approach. And, some of these leaders are even beginning to recognize that, if the Republican Party is going to survive into the future, it has to begin to reckon with the new normal. Whites are now becoming a minority—as Bill O’Reilly observed, with a touch of amazement—and now there are fifty shades of brown.
P.S. Karl Rove's new job (thanks to Farleftside.com)