The election results in Wisconsin last night raise more than an eyebrow. They carry real implications. The one consequence not being discussed in the post-election analyses on the television sets is the ever-ballooning importance of the HispanicLatino vote. Take the electoral votes of Wisconsin and perhaps other near-by states out of the equation for November, and it makes Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Florida all the more critical. As each day passes, the HispanicLatino vote gains greater political currency, and the resources dedicated to it should increase accordingly. States that are deemed safe today might not be tomorrow, and so whatever additional insurance can be purchased by the campaigns, its cost should not daunt campaign strategists.
The facility with which Gov. Scott Walker swept aside the attempt to recall him also gives rise to the need to review the infrastructure that President Obama’s campaign is building to win in November. However important labor unions, they can provide only one component of the votes Democrats need.
Republican strategists hope that their Democratic counterparts do not understand – fully comprehend and accept – that there are enough votes out there for Obama to win re-election – beyond the usual voters and beyond the already registered. And that new vehicles have to be built to expand the voter base. The Obama campaign has enough resources to build the infrastructure to organize new voters to win a second term which is, as Bill Clinton says, critical. Perhaps the Obamas have it all in hand, but if they short their reach, they could end up short in November.
For the long-term, beyond suggesting that Wisconsin is in play for the general election five months away, voters also might be signaling the continued realignment of states that once were reliable Democratic becoming Republican and vice versa. Related to the historic electoral realignment that seems to be taking hold is the parallel growth of the HispanicLatino population. States with increased HispanicLatino populations are becoming more Democratic; states with fewer HispanicLatinos are becoming more Republican.
Elections that revolve around taxes and budget deficits these days have a demographic, racial undertow that no one wants to air fully, and that new pull might be the political force that accelerates the changing of the electoral landscape.
That does not mean elections cannot be won. They just have to be won differently and with different geographies — starting with this election.
Feel free to forward these blogs adapted from previous writings, with additional thoughts published invariably in between.