By Chris Cillizza
The Washington Post
1. This wasn’t just an economic referendum: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney built his entire campaign around the idea that the only question for voters was “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” The goal was to turn the entire election into a straight referendum on Barack Obama’s handling of the still struggling economy. It didn’t work. Almost 6 in 10 voters said the economy was the the top issue for them and among that group Romney won 51 percent of the vote 47 percent for Obama. And yet Romney lost — and lost convincingly. Why? Obama turned the race effectively into a choice between someone who voters thought understood them and their concerns and someone who didn’t. One in five voters said that a candidate who “cares about people like me” was a critical piece of their decision; Obama won them 82 percent to 17 percent.
2. Republicans have a huge Hispanic problem: Nationally, Latino voters comprised 10 percent of the total electorate. Obama won 69 percent of their votes while Romney won just 29 percent. In Florida, Latinos accounted for nearly one in every five voters and Obama won them by 21 points. As we have written before, the Republican party simply cannot lose 7 in 10 Hispanic voters in elections and expect to be a viable national party in 2016, 2020 and beyond. Growth in the Latino community probably makes Arizona a swing state in the next presidential election and Texas could even be a swing state by 2020 unless Republicans can find a way to make inroads in the Hispanic community. Our guess? A major figure in the GOP — former Florida governor Jeb Bush or Sen. Marco Rubio — puts his foot down and speaks the truth to his party about the effect their stances on immigration are having on their long-term political prospects.