The president won at least 71% of the Latino vote, doing even better with this huge and growing demographic than he did in 2008.
Much of this demographic landslide had to do with Mitt Romney moving to the right on immigration to defeat Rick Perry in the GOP primary. Romney never recovered from saying he’d veto the DREAM Act, his plan for “self-deportation” and his use of the pejorative “illegals.” Waiting months to give his stand on what he’d do with the DREAM Act-eligible students the president has promised not to deport didn’t help.
The president has basically achieved the GOP’s plan of “securing the border first.” For the first time in decades, immigration over the Mexican border is at net zero.
If the GOP refuses to engage on immigration reform, they are basically volunteering to never win the White House again. Their scapegoating of undocumented workers may work in local elections and off years, but it will doom them to being the loyal opposition and possible extinction if they refuse to act. They’ll likely never win majorities of the Latino vote—as a group they tend to favor government support of programs that make work more accessible and rewarding—but by agreeing to reform, they’ll get close to the 30 percent mark they need to be competitive.
The last way President Obama’s second term will transform America is energy efficiency. We’ve told you that no human being on the planet has done more to fight climate change than President Obama. According to Mike Grunwald, author of the fantastic book about the stimulus, The New, New Deal:
Obama’s stimulus bill also launched a quiet clean-energy revolution, with unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewables; energy efficiency in every possible form; blue-sky research into low-carbon technologies; the smart grid; electric vehicles; advanced biofuels; and the factories to build all that green stuff in the U.S.
In addition, the fuel efficiency standards for automobiles he’s put in place will cut out a whole year of carbon emissions by 2024. Romney would have likely canceled those—as he used to like to say—on day one.
We forget how much this president has already done to remake America for the better. By simply winning a second term, more change—lasting change—is inevitable.
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Copyright 2012 The National Memo