Earlier this morning, caught a good piece from Byron York on why winning the Hispanic vote would not be enough to secure a GOP presidential victory. Here’s the crucial paragraph:
But here is the real solution. Romney lost because he did not appeal to the millions of Americans who have seen their standard of living decline over the past decades. They’re nervous about the future. When Romney did not address their concerns, they either voted for Obama or didn’t vote at all. If the next Republican candidate can address their concerns effectively, he will win. And, amazingly enough, he’ll win a lot more Hispanic votes in the process. A lot from other groups, too.
Read the whole thing. Did recall reading something about a year ago on Mitt Romney’s failure to appeal to working class votes disaffected from the incumbent administration. York is right; the next Republican candidate needs to effectively address their concerns.
Part of the answer, ironically enough (given the premise of York’s piece), lies in a piece Jill Lawrence published last week in the National Journal, a piece on Republicans’ challenges with Hispanic voters. Lawrence cited a focus group whose participants . . .
liked what they heard about Medicaid, immigration, economics, and education in clips from speeches by some prominent party figures. But the people they listened to—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—are unusual in how they talk about these issues and seemed like anomalies to the focus-group participants.
Comments about Christie, who is expanding Medicaid under the new health care law even though he disagrees with the law, summed up the problem. After hearing him talk about the human cost of not taking the new federal Medicaid money, the focus-group participants described him as human, caring, and someone who calls it like he sees it—but said he is just one person. . . .
Martinez won praise from McCleskey for going beyond the “traditional opportunity refrain” to frame lower business-tax rates as a matter of fairness—leveling the playing field with neighboring states. Bush’s description of why he pursued his Florida education reforms—to lift the poor and shrink the achievement gap between white and minority students—was powerful and “surprising stuff” to the groups, she said in the memo.
The problem thus is not so much the Republican agenda, but who its leaders promote it. And there are leaders who are effectively addressing those concerns. Their fellow partisans need to learn from these folks.