President Obama will owe his reelection on Tuesday to the 11 million Latinos who made it to the polls this year.
The president himself said as much during a previously off-the-record interview with the Des Moines Register a couple of weeks ago, and the Pew Hispanic Center has since released a study showing that 51 percent of Latinos believe the country is headed in the right direction.
Conservatives Americans cannot understand how two-thirds of likely Latino voters could be in favor of four more years under Obama. They think Latinos are ignorant in their continued support of a president who has overseen a period wherein Latino median household wealth has evaporated. Plus, they love to remind Latinos that Obama failed to keep his promise to pass immigration reform in his first year and that the number of deportations during the Obama years have far exceeded that of any other president in history.
Because of all this, and given Mitt Romney’s secret plan for economic growth and his image as a successful businessman, one in every five Latinos is expected to pick Mitt the Mormon.
Yet many Latinos realize that life in America has been more promising under President Obama than it would have been under a President McCain or would be under a President Romney. While the President and Congress have failed to pass comprehensive immigration, let alone the DREAM Act, an overwhelming majority of Latinos — who also support such efforts — understand that immigration reform has a better chance of passing under an Obama presidency than a Romney one.
President Obama’s economic policy is pro-Latino insofar as he wants to end the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy in order to reduce the deficit and invest in programs that support the working class — and Latinos are a working-class group.
Obama’s more likely to decriminalize marijuana in his second term, an option gaining support among heads of state across drug war-ravaged Latin America. The President also seems willing to improve U.S.-Cuba relations by drawing down the 50-year-old embargo, which would bring some much needed economic and political reforms to the Cuban people. Romney, on the other hand, is a teetotaler who thinks America is still fighting a global communist threat.
Most important of all, an Obama presidency is good for Latinos in that it represents the more inclusive and multicultural society that Latinos are primed to become a prominent facet of. No longer is the President’s chair for whites only. It is within reach of anyone who has the qualifications and shows a dedication to serving the American people. With the election of Obama in 2008 and his impending reelection in 2012, America has taken two monumental leaps toward being a truly free and open society.
Obama might not be the best thing to happen to Latinos since packaged tortillas, but he’s a far better option than Romney. And as with all elections, because Latinos must choose between the available candidates, the choice seems pretty clear.
Romney’s economic and social principles — if he can be described as having any to begin with — and the policies of the Republican Party generally are in direct opposition to the conditions and goals of the Latino community.
Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy, for instance, come at the expense of programs that aid Latinos who are much likelier to be in need of them. Romney has also made it a top priority to repeal Obamacare, a program which has helped millions of Latinos who, again, are more likely to be uninsured than whites.
The GOP supports a constitutional amendment banning abortions in all cases, and Romney endorses a Senate candidate in Indiana who believes pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God’s divine will. And for the people who think Obama’s record on immigration makes him unworthy of the Latino vote, the governor wants to institute a draconian policy that would force undocumented immigrants — around 12 million strong — to voluntary leave the country and go back to blood-drenched countries like Honduras.
Obama’s successes as President have been successes for the Latino community — pulling the economy out of a nosedive, ending the war in Iraq, establishing a deadline for the war in Afghanistan, making higher education more affordable for countless students, appointing the first Latino justice to the Supreme Court, passing the Affordable Care Act and instituting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. A President Romney would undo all of that with a grinchy grin on his face.
So, again, the choice is clear: the Latino voters either vote for Romney and against the general interests of the Latino community, or they can not vote and allow Romney to be elected anyway.
In the end, reelecting Obama is a Latino’s best option.