Midterms can be nasty. They sometimes are so nasty that they change the balance of power if even partially. But rarely are they game changers like this one.
The media has unsurprisingly failed to report and therefore the folks at the DNC and their decades enjoined consultants have failed to notice that today the power of Latino voters has increased dramatically and for the first time in history the Democrats are in catch up mode with the nation’s newest voting bloc. As of today there is a real powerbase for GOP Latinos. In the swing states of Nevada, New Mexico, and Florida Latino GOPers’ won statewide races handily. Today the game changes and Democrats and the progressive movement need to adjust or fail in all future elections, period.
The nation is littered this morning with examples of Latino voting power. Here are just two:
In Nevada Latino voters showed their prudence by thanking Senator Harry Reid for his leadership on their behalf and rejecting the scapegoating campaign of Sharron Angle. At the same time Latino Nevadens showed their independence and made history and elected Republican Brian Sandoval Governor.
In Colorado Democrat John Hikenlooper wisely put a Latino at the top of the ticket and won handily against anti-Latino candidate Tom Tancredo. In the same state Democratic Senator Michael Bennet fought for his political life after not putting in the work to make amends with his primary opponents Latino supporters and making almost no funded Latino ad or outreach efforts. In a race that will be determined by a handful of votes Bennet’s Latino failure is now seen in high relief.
While Latino voters may not be the change folks were looking for Latino voters are change. A change this big needs more than an adjustment in tactics it needs a whole new battle plan. The national Democratic Party Committees and supportive groups and state and local committees in states with Latino populations, need leadership that embraces change not as a political slogan but as the reality that is Americas’ 21st Century. Additionally and at the risk of angering the aged Democratic political consultant class: a new battle plan needs new generals.
But of course change begins at the top. While Rahm Emanuel may have seemed smart and practical as he convinced the White House that Comprehensive Immigration Reform need not be a priority his faulty political judgment is disinfected in this morning’s sunshine. It is now clear that Latino voters are not easily turned around the last four weeks of an election cycle. They don’t necessarily “come home” even when they are unhappy because the “Republicans are worse”. Latino voters are even ready to risk association with potential enemies in order to gain political strength.
President Obama needs to turn his attention away from those who read from old tired maps and remember that his own victory was proof of a new era and that era still exists outside of DC even if inside DC there is an illusion that it doesn’t. Obama must remember that ignoring change does not end it and that diminishing change does not disempower it. If the change is real, like the burgeoning Latino demographic, then nothing can stop it.
The morning after an election is often like a hangover filled with regrets and thoughts of what should have been done or avoided. Fellow Democrats your headache will soften and you will think a lot more clearly after a good breakfast. On this particular morning may I suggest a bowl of menudo?
Crossposted with the author’s permission from Huffington Post.