Election Night: Picking up the Pieces and Looking Ahead

Published on November 7th, 2012

Brace yourself. In the next few weeks, possibly even months, you’ll be hearing endlessly about the Hispanic vote and how it was critical to President Obama’s overwhelming re-election.

In fact, you probably have already had a healthy dose of mainstream media lecturing. Tuesday night when I turned in at midnight, CNN’s John King was harping about how Hispanics had delivered Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico. And at 4:00 AM Wednesday, I woke up to Soledad O’Brien, Paul Begala, Ari Fleischer and Nicaraguan refugee Ana Navarro disseminating flat out wrong statistics about the growing Hispanic vote. If I didn’t know better, I might think that the media has an agreement among its members to hype misinformation about the Hispanic voter’s influence. Example: globalist Gloria Borger, chiding Republicans more not “doing more” to curry Hispanic’s favor, said: “Two-third of Americans favor a path to citizenship” for aliens. This statistic is flat out wrong (75 percent favor Arizona-style enforcement) and must have been pulled out of Borger’s head.

My suggestion is that until the Hispanic voter hype dies down, you stick to watching ESPN and reading the Daily Racing Form.

If the Republicans expect to win—and take hope, the 2014 mid-term elections are just around the corner and campaigning will likely begin in January— they’ll have to figure out a way to do it without broad-based Hispanic support. The reason is simple: on immigration, Republicans can’t move to the left of Democrats without a) alienating their base and b) forcing the Democrats even further to the left, something they're more than willing to do.

What the GOP will have to do instead is perform better with middle class Americans (who still represent more than 70 percent of the electorate), assimilated Hispanics who favor immigration enforcement (69 percent are pro-E-Verify) and frankly find better candidates. Regardless of how effectively Mitt Romney may have performed on the trail and in the debates, it wasn’t good enough to beat the highly beatable incumbent Obama. Think about it: Obama who has presided over a dismal economy with 23 million unemployed Americans trounced Romney.

While they’re at it, Republicans could find better Senate candidates too instead of the likes of Missouri’s Todd Aiken and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock who could have won if they hadn’t shot themselves in the foot with stupid remarks about abortion. Romney carried both states.

The Hispanic vote didn’t put Obama back in the White House. Instead, Romney failure to resonate in key battle ground states like Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and Pennsylvania cost him the election.

Picking through the rubble, there are a few bright spots. In the House, Virginia’s Bob Goodlatte prevailed as did several other “true reformers” who are committed to advancing immigration legislation that protects Americans, blocking amnesties and ending the visa lottery as well as birthright citizenship.  Goodlatte will replace House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith. In the Senate, Republican Ted Cruz will replace the ineffective Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a plus for more sane decisions on immigration.

In most ways, nothing changed on Election Night. Obama regained the White House, Democrats will still control the Senate while Republicans keep the House. What will happen next?

As he did during his first campaign, Obama promised to advance amnesty.  Obama told the Des Moines Register, supposedly off the record:

 “And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.”

I say only maybe. Amnesty is by far the most divisive issue on Capitol Hill and the House is no more likely to get behind it now than it was during the last four years. Whether Obama will want to tackle amnesty, especially during the first months of his second term, is doubtful.  He no longer needs to curry favor with Latinos and he has much more pressing matters to deal with, specifically the budget and the deficit. Compared to an economy that’s growing slowly and debt that is mounting furiously, amnesty doesn’t even register. But if Obama does decide to pursue amnesty, he’ll be in for a rude awakening.  The votes aren’t there, either in the House or the Senate.

Expect E-Verify legislation to be re-introduced and be more likely to come to the House floor for a full vote. House Speaker Boehner, who stonewalled the Legal American Workforce Act last year, will in response to grassroots demands, to push it this time.

Assuming conditions on the ground don’t improve by 2014, a safe bet, the mid-term elections could bring about decisive congressional gains for Republicans that could in turn result in meaningful enforcement advances.

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