Columns

Why Mitt Romney Lost the Hispanic Vote

By: Mona Charen | Posted: November 10, 2012 3:55 AM
Mona Charen

Mona Charen

The pundit world will now eviscerate Mitt Romney, a man who, had he garnered just a few hundred thousand more votes in a few key districts, would have been hailed as a political genius.

Instead, his every fault will be examined, his mistakes magnified, and his defeat decreed to be, in retrospect, inevitable.

Romney was not my first choice. I had been hoping for Indiana governor Mitch Daniels. But in the course of the long campaign, I had come to admire Romney immensely. Everyone who is now picking over his bones should remember that he was a conquering hero after the first debate.

I grieve mostly for the country in the wake of Obama’s victory, but also a bit for Romney. He deserved to win. He would have been a good president. And this much is certain — the assassination of his character by the Obama machine was disgusting. Obama won ugly. We should never forget that. This too is likely: If Romney had won and Republicans had carried the Senate, the United States would be poised for an economic boom, a return to world leadership, a workable reform of health care, and a mature and responsible resolution of the entitlement crisis.

Such an economic success story would have set the stage for further Republican victories. Or would it?

One of the mysteries of this election — and one factor that misled me into predicting a Romney victory — is that voters said they regarded the economy as the most important issue in the race, and majorities reported that Romney would be better than Obama for the economy.

Some on the right are succumbing to the temptation to explain the Obama win as the “tipping point” — the takers outvoting the makers. Those who get government handouts, the suspicion goes, are content to tax the other 50 percent, happily collecting benefits rather than working for a living. I think this is wrong.

Government dependency is a problem, yes, and Obama has made it much worse. But the notion that 47 percent of Americans choose to be idle moochers is misleading. Among the 47 percent are the retired (who voted in large numbers for Romney), parents who get a child deduction, and the unemployed who cannot find jobs in the Obama economy. Besides, as Ramesh Ponnuru has observed, in 2010, many of these voters shifted toward the Republicans, even as dependency increased.

No, the margin of victory for Obama came from Hispanic voters. “A big reason I will win a second term,” he told the Des Moines Register just before the election, “is because the Republican nominee and Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community.”

It gives me no pleasure to say that I’ve been warning of this for many years. Conservatives and Republicans simply must address Hispanic voters in terms that do not sound hostile. As Florida's Sen. Marco Rubio put it to Juan Williams, “It’s very hard to make the economic argument to people who think you want to deport their grandmother.”

Hispanics constituted 10 percent of the electorate this year. If Mitt Romney had received the 44 percent of the Hispanic vote that George W. Bush obtained in 2004, he’d be moving into the White House in January. In key swing states, the Hispanic vote was crushing: 58 to 40 in Florida, 87 to 10 in Colorado, 80 to 17 in Nevada, and 66 to 31 in Virginia.

Republicans were clobbered among Hispanics because the Republican primary electorate rewarded candidates for bellicosity regarding illegal immigration. In the midst of discussions of border guards, moats, and “self-deportation” during the Republican primaries, there was precious little appreciation for the contributions of legal Hispanics to American life and culture.

The Republican convention showcased some of the talented Hispanics in the party, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the harsh negativity of the primary season. Even Asian voters appear to have been alienated by the Republican tone, giving Obama 73 percent of their votes.

The irony, for those Republican primary voters who demanded tough stances on immigration, is that this is one problem Obama has inadvertently solved. The economy is so lousy under his stewardship that immigrants have stopped coming.

Obama failed at everything except pandering to his base. Republicans failed at only one thing — but it was devastating.



Mona Charen is a nationally syndicated columnist.

© 2012 Creators Syndicate Inc.

Comments (17)

jovana nedeljkovic
5:04PM FEB 19TH 2013
not to be rude or anything but your comments are not appropriate in any way.. i wonder how u would be as a president,, which would be a total no no for you.. keep your ugly comments to your self.. obama is the best president yet and i truly believe he will make a difference.. he cant do it in a clap of a hand it takes time.. Obama will and can make our country better.. OBAMA IS OUR UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.. i dont know what u talking about woman.. and United States canr be without Obama
Frank
4:41PM NOV 11TH 2012
Yes, you must be right - "the assassination of his character by the Obama machine was disgusting" . . . . it was all so one-sided and unfair . . .

Where was all your outrage when:

(1) Paul Ryan told evangelical Christians last week that re-electing President Obama would put the country on "a dangerous path" that erodes "Judeo-Christian, western-civilization values" . . . .

(2) Mike Huckabee suggested that Christians who vote for President Obama will go to hell. . . . .

(3) Donald Trump kept pushing his "Birther" nonsense, and Mitt Romney happily responded with "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate."

(4) Rick Perry was slamming single-mom and grandparent raised Obama "that he grew up in a privileged way . . . He never had to really work for anything” . . . . .

(5) Rick Santorum charged that Obama "wants to destroy capitalism". . .

(6) Fellow right-wing commentator L. Brent Bozell joked that Obama looks like a "skinny ghetto crackhead". . . . . .

(7) Rush Limbaugh made any of his thousands of derogatory, demonizing Obama observations, including that Obama "hates this country" and likened him to Adolf Hitler . . . .

(8) Newt Gingrich declared him the "food-stamp president". . . .

(9) Michele Bachmann falsely alleged that the Obama administration had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and called Obama the "most dangerous president we have ever had", anti-American and that he "spit at the Constitution". . . . .

(10) Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado declared that "He's just not an American". . . . . .

(11) Some Republicans kept trying to belittle Obama's Christian religion and demonize him (and followers of Islam) by labelling him a Moslem, while others were calling him out as a terrorist, a communist, a traitor, a criminal or worst. . . . . . .

. . . . or the thousands of other demonizations of Obama by the far right and Tea Party types, including photoshop images of him as a witch-doctor, Hitler, Stalin or in white-face . . . . . the demonizations against Romney were like going to sanitized Disney-World compared to descending naked into the demon worlds of Hieronymus Bosch type of comments that Obama has had to contend with almost daily . . . . .

Once again, the article's nothing more than partisan spin journalism of the "Big Lie" . . . . blatant hypocrisy. . . .and alot of losing whining. . .

Pathetic.
Floridacracker74
9:19PM NOV 25TH 2012
You can keep bullying Romney but it won't get you anywhere, the better man didn't win, America lost & since when did America become the United States of Hispanics, Obama bought their vote with amnesty, "stuff", just like everyone knew...did you ever notice all the other countries have their culture, but America is losing all it's culture....quit bullying...just watch the next four years, we'll all go down together & this time Obama won't blame Bush, but the Republicans...but the economy has been & will continue to be obama's.
Nathan Shaw
1:24PM NOV 11TH 2012
maybe it is because the Hispanics come from cultures where the govt gives and supports, that being the case, the immigrants come to America expecting the same. Even though they are hard working, they have been taught that the govt shoudl suuport them and give them insurnave etc etc. What they need to do is leave those learned culture aspects behind and relaize they are in a new country, a new environment and that it is NOT the govt reposnsibility to support and give for free. that it is the peoples responsibility to support themselves. It is time for an attitude adjustment NOW!. If we do not make this change, we are destined to become anone power in the world, and are demise is already written!
Dan Hammack
1:18PM NOV 11TH 2012
When is your stupid party going to get it that it's consumer spending that drives the economy, not the wealthy. It's consumer spending that makes individuals wealthy, so where's the tax breaks for consumers, who are predominately middle class. Letting companies outsource and then even giving them tax breaks for doing so, has driven the incomes of consumers ever lower. As consumer spending declines so does the economy. Your party is always talking about how Democrats want to redistribute wealth, when the fact is the rich have grown richer while everyone else in America is poorer, so yeah there's been a redistribution of wealth alright, from the lower classes to the wealthy and Republicans want to continue that trend
Floridacracker74
9:23PM NOV 25TH 2012
We are a capitalistic country, get a grip.....pathetic.
Dan Hammack
8:33PM MAY 31ST 2013
What's pathetic is your low IQ. You can't even counter my argument.
felix larios
10:42AM NOV 11TH 2012
romney forgot how important we are now,that was a mistake and to late to regrate,i hope the best for this country no matter who is in charge;but the idea of romney of self deportation just don`t work if you think in people what you know and you see how hard they come to work in this beatiful country,now obama need to fix the inmigration law and give it one chance to people with good heart and good feelings , those who the only mistake is not be part of this people with legal status. thanks and god bless america and people with noble heart.
Linda
12:49AM NOV 11TH 2012
Oh I forgot to mention that Asians being the highest-earning w/ highest education group in this country soundly rejected the Republican party 75-20. Even more than the Hispanic thrashing.
Floridacracker74
9:59PM NOV 25TH 2012
Again, we are not the United States of Hispanics & Asians, who cares & probably most of that so called 70% who voted were probably illegal, go home, or step up to the plate & become a taxpayer, wage earning, flag respecting, legal American & support yourself & quit begging for handouts, Mitt Romney was right 47% are a victim of the government, it's not our taxpayers money that wants to support them, no one ever supported the taxpayer, we don't stand with our hands out for "stuff"' we work & support ourselves & don't feel it's our responsibility to listen to your whining, "o poor is me" attitude. America was founded on hard-working immigrants that were great & supported our country, most Hispanics won't even learn our English language & voted for Obama for free "stuff" & the sooner everyone realizes that, that's when we can get honorable men, like Romney/Ryan, in office that can redirect our country back to its original traditions & respect for our constitution....Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave..."life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness." Not hand-outs, freebies & more "stuff", please, get a grip of reality & if you want to be an American", then earn the right because nothing is going to be handed to you "free", what an insult to us hard-working, taxpaying Americans.
Floridacracker74
9:46PM NOV 25TH 2012
Again, we are not the United States of Hispanics & Asians, who cares & probably most of that so called 70% who voted were probably illegal, go home, or step up to the plate & become a taxpayer, wage earning, flag respecting, legal American & support yourself & quit begging for handouts, Mitt Romney was right 47% are a victim of the government, it's not our taxpayers money that wants to support them, no one ever supported the taxpayer, we don't stand with our hands out for "stuff"' we work & support ourselves & don't feel it's our responsibility to listen to your whining, "o poor is me" attitude. America was founded on hard-working immigrants that were great & supported our country, most Hispanics won't even learn our English language & voted for Obama for free "stuff" & the sooner everyone realizes that, that's when we can get honorable men, like Romney/Ryan, in office that can redirect our country back to its original traditions & respect for our constitution....Lincoln must be rolling over in his grave..."life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness." Not hand-outs, freebies & more "stuff", please, get a grip of reality & if you want to be an American", then earn the right because nothing is going to be handed to you "free", what an insult to us hard-working, taxpaying Americans.
Linda
12:46AM NOV 11TH 2012
Oh, pleez...another conservative sore loser. I'm Asian-American female with MBA making over $250k a year. The Republican party terrifies all the minorities in this country. A party full of racist WASP's with anti-immigration, anti-anyone whom isn't white attitude, and religious zealots. Even the Jews have deserted it. I'm a moderate Christian and my family are Buddhists whom don't want to be governed by religious and racist nut cases.
Georgia Edwards
3:26PM NOV 11TH 2012
It would make more credible reading if the people on the internet who insist on informing us all about how 'educated' and well off they are, would at least learn to use the correct grammar. What is "I'm Asian-American female with MBA making over $250k a year." What about trying "I am an Asian-American female with an MBA ..." In any case, with that command of the English language, I don't you are telling the truth, and if you are, then God help America!
Nathan Shaw
1:27PM NOV 11TH 2012
Linda, I would disagree with you. The Republican party is not at all what you have described, it is a party of the partuy, concerned about the future of this country. It stands for the people, not for a government to support the people. You should check your history
Guey
3:45PM NOV 10TH 2012
Conservative Bubble indeed!! Not understanding hispanics and the different cultures with the hispanic community was a huge error.

I keep hearing that Romney should of picked Rubio as VP but that would not of made a difference, maybe only in FL but in the rest of America a Cuban American with the same immigration views as Romney, might as well be Paul Ryan lol...

Why?

When Cubans illegally enter the US, they became US legal residents automatically..

When any other citizen from any country enters the US illegally they are illegal.

Most cubans hold a hard line against illegal immigration, this creates a big divided in the hispanic community, because they see that immigration is not an issue in the cuban community.
HispWoman
3:35PM NOV 10TH 2012
There are much more that affected Romney's defeat. Technology played big and Republicans did not use it to its fullest. Pres. Obama knew how to reach out to voters through social Media -republican use it to talk negative about the opponent. I am not getting into abortion issues, but--- the party leaders comments on rape and God's will , and body shutting down while being rape, showed a side of the party is totally out of touch., extremist . The questioning of the President's nationality ,Donald Trump offering money for Obama's college records.... Party leaders speaking of Latinos as they came here to milk the system, instead of love to hard work, and a good education ....The fact that unemployment was caused in part by technology replacing millions of people, Jobs sent to China and else where were we can increase profits , yet we pay as they were built in USA, and let's not forget about three millions jobs that can not be filled due to lack of skills of American workers..... The fact that two wars contributde to our debt ,I could go on and on.....The republican Party has to take a deep and long look into who they are , and who they want to become if they want to win elections.
Scott Williams
12:41PM NOV 10TH 2012
Yes, Romney needed to expand the Republican tent. But come on, Obama plays mean and Romney did not. (Can you say Birther?) Fact checkers ran out of room with the Romney lies (960 odd some on election day) and flip flops. Wait, Romney just flip flop again...and again.
Oh Mona, still in the Conservative bubble, where facts just get messy!

Not sense Regan, has a president won more than 50 % of the popular vote consecutively!

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