Thursday, May 21, 2015

Hillary Clinton will be president because of the Latino vote

Not just because of the Mexicano she will select as ticket-mate.  Because boosting Latino turnout is one of her core strategies.

Nearly every time I've asked a Latino political professional, "What are the early signs I should be looking for that Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign is serious about Latino outreach?", the answer has been, "Look at who the campaign is hiring, and how early it's hiring them."

By that measure, the Clinton campaign has just passed an extremely important test. Clinton has already hired her 2016 national director of Latino outreach. And the woman she's hired is a leading immigrant-rights activist — someone with more experience confronting politicians about their shortcomings than consulting them.

Some of the complaints I have consistently registered from Latino activists is that politicians of both parties wait until late in the cycle to engage them, or make a half-energized effort to do so, and/or commit unforced Spanish-language errors in communication, and so on like that.   Clinton simply isn't going to make those mistakes.  More importantly -- and unlike areas of concern for progressives -- she is very likely to do more than just talk about improving the lives of immigrant families, even if that happens only on the virtue of making the circumstances that affect American women of all creeds better.  This effort is all but guaranteed to turn out Mexicanos in droves for her.

And here it's important to note the distinction between Mexicanos and Latinos for the purpose of where the laser-beam focus of the Clinton campaign will be.  There are many, many more Americans of Mexican descent, there is tremendous room for improvement in turnout among their number, and that will make the electoral difference for her in a half-dozen different states.  Not in Florida, where the Republicans' best answer is a couple of lame Cubanos -- and where the distinction between 'Mexicano' and every other Latino subgroup is most apparent -- but in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and even Georgia and Illinois.

God forbid Texas even.  In states where the Mexicano surge does not help sweep Clinton into the White House, her coattails will be long and wide, pulling Democrats of all shades into office along with her.  There is a massive blue wave coming in 2016, and Republicans running for office up and down the ballot, coast to coast, should rightly be terrified.   

Update: It's already affecting the local GOP calculations for political office.

"I don't want to depend on Hillary Clinton being on the top of the ticket for the Democrats and trying to run county-wide when I don't know how it's going to play out," (Rep. Allen Fletcher) said (as he withdrew from running for Harris County sheriff next year).

So while Hillary Clinton may be a militarist and a corporatist, she is also a pragmatist, and she is capable of capitalizing on the "it's time for a woman to be president, and then it's time for a Latino president" sentiment among the electorate.  This is a much better angle to victory than the incessant nattering that 'Hillary is a liberal' still going on.  To repeat: she's only a liberal from a very conservative point of view.  In the eyes of actual liberals and progressives -- predominantly late middle-aged and Caucasian, if you hadn't already noticed -- she is as far from our position as a person can get on far too many issues.  (The conversation among those on the left is already coalescing on how the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, once he is eliminated from contention in the Democratic primary, can be used to help build a stronger progressive movement.  Outside the Democratic party.)

Your takeaway: Mexicanos by and large won't be giving a damn about any of that.

See Stace for more, and click on his link to the NPR story about the swelling perceived value in the eyes of both major parties of the Latino vote.  I contend that 'Latino' -- most certainly 'Hispanic', a word you can ban from your vocabulary going forward -- isn't effectively focused to win the 2016 election, especially if you're a Republican gabacho who speaks Spanish and is married to a Latina.  I've managed that much... and I couldn't get elected dogcatcher.

And neither will Jeb, as we already know.

Update: Clinton drags the money bag through Dallas and Austin next week.


Gadfly said...

We'll see. Stace doesn't have any links on his claim Latinos are moving further left on the two hot button social issues.

Meanwhile, I do have links noting that religiously, the most growing area of Latinos, or Hispanics, is evangelical Protestantism.

PDiddie said...

I feel confident that I will be able to stand on this premise without wavering for the next 18 months.

And I will be referring to it very frequently in future posts, so if it turns out that I'm mistaken, everyone can laugh and point at me.