So the polls show between 63 and 70 percent of Hispanic/Latinos (men and women combined) supporting President Obama 75 days until the election. For the sake of argument, let’s say it is 70 percent, which is where I believe it is. If that is the case and given that men overall support the President to a lesser extent than women, then a much as 85 percent – or more – of HispanicLatinas support Obama. How did Obama get to those stratospheric levels? Perhaps war, healthcare, the economy and women’s issues have something to do with it – and not necessarily just immigration, the shorthand topic to which the media instantly jumps.
HispanicLatinas can see that Obama ended, not started, a war and is on his way to getting us out of Afghanistan. He has expanded health coverage to some families previously unprotected. He is a counterpoint to the economy that he inherited from the entitled George W. Bush, of whom Romney reminds them, except that Romney is much more top drawer. Holding his nose, Obama accepted Bush’s TARP program but then pushed to save the auto industry and to implement an economic stimulus plan that kept the country from sliding into a depression. Obama also is perceived as a defender of women. Oh, and he knows how to hug, which is not a small thing.
HispanicLatinas – a highly hug-oriented crowd – must cringe when Romney tries to hug someone in public. He looks like he does not want to crease his equally uncomfortable blue jeans. Unlike Romney, Obama sweeps in the people he hugs as if to protect them. HispanicLatinas might appreciate Romney paling around with his five sons, but they probably do not take too well that not one son served in the military, in which their HispanicLatino sons and brothers and fathers and sisters and aunts and grandsons and granddaughters serve quite proudly. And perhaps HispanicLatinas like the idea of a President surrounded by Michelle and by Sasha and Malia, who before not too long will be college-bound and might be attending class with HispanicLatino kids who might have needed a loan or two to go to school. For college kids, Obama is the real education president, something HispanicLatinas must appreciate.
HispanicLatinas during the last term also have had to watch Obama have to put up with the kinds of men that women always have to put up with, such as the uppity bishops and judgmental priests who attacked Obama over healthcare in the Catholic Church’s unceasing, continuous war on women. When HispanicLatinas saw the President get disrespected on national television by Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, they could more than identify with that kind of aggression. And when they hear loons such as Todd Akin of Missouri spout their ignorance about the female body, HispanicLatinas realize how far they have to go and how fragile is the progress they and the rest of the HispanicLatino community have made. After all, HispanicLatinos – male and female – are just one Supreme Court vote from being hurled back into the dark ages. And HispanicLatinas who know they get paid at least 20 percent less than men for the same work might also know that the Obama’s lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that enough is not enough. And, of course, Obama appointed the first HispanicLatina to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In contrast to Obama, why would any woman vote for a man who practices a religion in which women are institutionalized as second-class citizens? HispanicLatinas have seen this story before, and they are not buying it. For that and other reasons, why wouldn’t a HispanicLatina vote for Obama? The wonder is why it might be only 85 percent.
Who the heck are the other 15 percent?
Jesse Treviño is the former editorial page editor of The Austin American-Statesman and writes at HispanicLatino.com.
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