The Reason Obama Won...

...was because of immigration and Latino/Hispanic voters. America is getting darker, not whiter.

I'm from Texas and we get this. George W. Bush understood this with his "compassionate conservatism." And so did Rick Perry, our current governor.  You may have noticed that Rick Perry, while being a Tea Party favorite, articulated a moderate stance on immigration during the GOP primaries. Because he's from Texas and knows the score. And yet, Perry was blasted from his right by Mitt Romney.

I think at that moment the election was sealed, demographically speaking. George W. Bush won 54% of the Hispanic vote in 2004. Mitt Romney? He won 27%. The lowest for a GOP nominee in a generation. This despite the growth of the Hispanic electorate between 2004 and 2012. I get the Tea Party stance on small government. I dig their libertarian sensibilities. But their antipathy toward people of color cost them this election.

I think Mike Huckabee nailed it last night on Fox News. GOP efforts at reaching out to people of color have been "pathetic." And why is that? As I've written about before, I think the GOP has an ethnocentrism problem. It is a party that struggles with "generalized prejudice" toward outgroup members. Case in point: Bill O'Reilly on Fox News last night effectively called all people of color lazy slackers and moochers, people who want handouts and "stuff."

No wonder Obama won.

That, in my opinion, is what needs to get fixed in the GOP. The moderate "compassionate conservatism" needs to make a comeback.

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19 thoughts on “The Reason Obama Won...”

  1. I was just thinking about this same idea this morning. I had been wondering quite often during the course of this campaign, why people were so strongly opposed to Obama. A dear friend of mine who considers herself a moderate Republican admitted a few weeks ago that she is very afraid that whites will become the minority. "The minority is never a good place to be," she said. We don't talk about race very much any more, but it exists and deeply affects the assumptions that people -- even well educated people -- have about the role of government and other social issues. I believe that many of the older white men that form the majority of the Republican base do not want to be lead by a man (or woman) of color. Their underlying racism is the reason for the vehement hatred of our President. Now that I have finally put my finger on a potential source of our disagreements, I can pray for them and our country more effectively.

  2. Agree.  I live in a state which is about 30% African American.  The GOP does not use strategies and language that is inclusive for people of color.  This election highlighted how much the demographic of America is changing. 

  3. Jennifer,

    This assertion of an underlying racism toward Obama is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Conservatives were more than willing to vote for Herman Cain in the primaries, Allen West continues to be a favorite in conservative circles, and non white Republicans continue to hold elected office across the south and southwest. Don't forget the first black male and female Secretaries of State were appointed by George W. Bush and well liked by the Republican base. Other elected officials include Marco Rubio in Florida, Ted Cruz in Texas,  and Susana Martinez in New Mexico.

    There may be a lot wrong with the modern Republican party, but attributing racism to their dislike of a very Liberal Barack Obama is intellectually lazy and slanderous.  

  4. I don't think it's racism either, but as a Canadian, I have to say the idea that Mr Obama is "very liberal" is outright laughable.

  5. I read an online article today, the title said something like, "Congratulations GOP, We Just Elected a Moderate Republican President."

  6.  Ben,

    You make very valid points and I did not mean to be lazy or slanderous in my reply. I also did not mean to make any blanket statements about Republicans as a whole. I have just been trying to come to terms with the behaviors I see in my friends and in my family and the vociferous response that I have seen by that camp toward the President. It seems to me that such deep seated hatred cannot stem from mere disagreement of policy, but must be rooted in something more central to their very core beliefs. Perhaps it is not racism, but the fact that they have aligned their political beliefs with their religious beliefs to such an extent that they cannot separate the two. They (my evangelical friends and family) cannot fathom how a person who shares their biblical worldview could be anything but a conservative Republican. I don't believe that God sides with either party, but with those who serve Him faithfully in heart, word, and deed.

  7. Ben - I think you realize Herman Cain was a joke. And Bush was certainly inclusive in his cabinet but that's the problem here - those were appointed not elected positions. White people are OK when they put people of color where we want them to be but they cannot take it when those same people earn their power on their own and have real authority like the president. Don't ignore or gloss over the racism. It's real.

  8. I kniw we can do better than "compassionate conservatism". Bush's own education reform was never funded. He was a terrible president. You will only make things worse by going back to his policies. The racism and way people don't spend any time with people outside of own comfort zone is the problem. And Christians must get over the myth of the Christian nation because it never was one!

  9. Insightful.  I shared this one... and now am holding my breath.  The backlash from a lot of my "good Baptist brethren" might be a little rough.  Remember "once upon a time" why there was such growth in the Christian School movement?  Say what you will, the unspoken "little secret" was because of "those people" who were being integrated into the public schools.  Some things still need a good dose of repentance... 

  10. I hope there isn't too much blowback. There shouldn't be. Yesterday I saw a lot of commentary on conservative and Republican blogs and TV working though this very issue. What I'm saying is a consensus position even among the GOP. There is a demographics issue that needs to be faced in the party.

  11. Consensus among the (pro-aristocracy) realist leaders.  The rank and file in Texas want to secede.

    I'm sure they'll love their Roman Catholic republic in ten years.

  12. I meant to include in my earlier post that I believe there is definitely a demographics problem with the GOP, but that is a result of a conservative ideology and its influence on policy. I do not believe it is fair to charge the rank and file with racism because of political opinions just as it is unfair to accuse democrat voters of only caring about potential handouts.   

  13. Jennifer,

    I agree that the connection between religion and politics is dangerous. I would think most Christians could agree Jesus would have nothing to do with either of our major political parties. 

    I think the hatred you observe toward our president is in reality not much different than the hatred directed at George Bush, Bill Clinton, or Ronald Reagan.  The hatred from the right for Nancy Pelosi far outweighs any concerning Obama.  The things that are said about Clarence Thomas from those on the left are far worse than anything I have personally heard said about Obama.  That being said, I often can't do anything but shake my head at things my friends and family say about someone (Obama) they have never met. 

    I think it is far too easy to accuse opponents of lacking civility because it allows to dismiss any argument they may have. 

  14. This is partly true. But there were other factors to be sure. As you noted in your blog on virtues, nobody wants to admit to racism (well, I guess there are a few exceptions). I sense Ben is a little thin skinned about his party's voting record. I grew up in the South and live in Texas, a born and raised fundamentalist white male. Ben, sorry but the South 's political identity after LBJ's civil rights passage and subsequent "white flight," to suburbs, insulated schools, and gated cimmunities after 1954 can't all be laid onto racisism, but whatever it is, it doesn't have a lot to do with inclusivism or "all being created equal." If it looks, sounds, acts like a turkey, chances are it is. Peace.

  15. HuffPost blames it on the women. You know how women do, messing everything up as usual...(<--sarcasm, just in case it wasn't clear.) Pretty interesting article, especially their point that women's votes cost a woman a Senate seat. Just shows how incredibly damaging the Republican stand on women ("war on women," in their words) has been.

  16. You're right. As I've looked at the number since Tuesday the gender gap was massive. The GOP is going to be fighting on a lot of demographic fronts.

  17. The part that interests me is the marriage gap. Married women (and married men) are far more likely to vote GOP. I personally think it would be dangerous to conclude from this that Dems have a general antipathy toward marriage--and I think it is equally dangerous to think that Repubs have an antipathy toward either women or people of color. You have to cherry-pick your examples pretty strongly to come to either conclusion.

  18. The Republicans also lost people under 30 big time, as well as everyone who isn't Christian or Mormon, which are two very rapidly growing sections of the electorate, so they have a demographic problem on a number of fronts.  And Asians went for Obama by as big a margin as Latinos.  So did gay people.

    As for the marriage gap, I think a lot of that has to do with the age gap - i.e. younger people were far more likely to vote for Obama than older people, and a 25 year old woman is demographically far more likely to be single than a 45 year old woman.  African-American women are also more likely to be single than the population of women as a whole, and 93% of African-Americans voted for Obama. I don't think that marital status in and of itself had a big influence one way or the other - although I certainly can't prove that. My experience was that single women and married women were offended in equal measure by the GOP this election cycle - but I live in Los Angeles, and Romney was under 40% of the vote in CA and less than that in LA County.
    Anyway - I think you've nailed it with the "generalized prejudice toward outgroup members" assessment - I think that attitude extends beyond Latinos to practically everyone who isn't a straight, white Christian. Statements like Bill O'Reilly's are a case in point - (he included women in his statement by the way) - you can't say crap like that over and over again, back it up with policies to match, and expect the people you've just insulted to pick you in the voting booth. (And it's not just rhetoric - it's the actual policies too, so there's that.)

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