Author: Ryan

The GOP’s Loss of a Latino Candidate Could Be a Bigger Problem Than Mr. Obama’s

The GOP's Loss of a Latino Candidate Could Be a Bigger Problem Than Mr. Obama's

Column: Rick Caruso’s Latino appeal isn’t bought — it’s real. But is it enough to win?

If the Democrats manage to capture control of the U.S. House in November, the party’s chances of holding on to that majority won’t rest on Mr. Obama’s winning the Latino vote.

It will be based on whether, by the end of the 2012 election cycle, the Latino vote continues to trend in the right directions. If it does, Democrats are set to retake the House, albeit by the slimmest of margins. At the same time, if the Latino vote turns south, the Republicans may well prevail in what is shaping up to be the most nail-biting midterm election since the 1970s, when Richard Nixon swept to victory in a landslide.

Not that any of this is comforting for Republicans, who are already eyeing a post-retirement life after the U.S. Senate. If the last-minute Latino surge seems like the best the GOP can hope for, it is. This is because, in spite of the historic numbers of Hispanic voters, polls show the GOP losing the Latino vote on a near-an-year-to-year basis. Republicans are even more worried about President Obama’s prospects of winning the 2012 election as Latino voters than they are about the possibility of Mr. Obama winning a second term.

But, for the first time in recent history, the GOP’s lack of a Latino candidate of Latino status may be turning out to be a bigger problem than Mr. Obama’s prospects of becoming a third-party candidate in 2012.

In an era when Democrats are winning the hearts and minds of Latino voters by promising a return to a golden past — a past that is at odds with the majority of Latino Americans’ own experience — Mr. Obama is the only Latino of consequence at the top of this new campaign’s electoral map. He is the only Latino candidate who has the capacity to draw upon the Latino vote and harness its energy without taking on Latino voters as a special interest. And so the Democrats are making the race for control

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