In Ohio, blacks were 15 percent of the electorate, up from 11 percent in 2008. Hispanics in Florida were 17 percent of the electorate, up from 14 percent in 2008.
Obama sealed his victory partly by amassing big victories in heavily Hispanic pockets of swing states including Florida. Hispanic population growth helps explain why California and New Jersey are Democratic strongholds and no longer competitive in White House elections, and why Texas may someday shift from its one-party Republicanism.
“Within the next six to eight years, I believe Texas will be at least be a purple state if not a blue state,” San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said on CNN Thursday, referring to the colors that political commentators assign to independent-leaning and Democratic-leaning states.
In Miami-Dade County, where more than 1.6 million Hispanics live, Obama increased his vote share to 62 percent from 58 percent in 2008, the president’s biggest jump in any Florida county. Most of Miami-Dade’s Hispanics are Cuban, a bloc in which younger people vote more Democratic than older ones whose Republican ties were forged partly around an opposition to Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former president.
Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, said that the Republican Party has “justifiably earned a very, very low reputation among Latinos” because of its use of immigration issues to “really vilify the Latino immigrant.”
Some of the blame for the Hispanic gap can be leveled at Romney. During the Republican primary contest, the former Massachusetts governor stressed his opposition to giving legal status to undocumented immigrants without first requiring that they leave the U.S., advocating a program he described as “self-deportation.”
“Immigration has become a wedge issue and a litmus test, a litmus test of respect and caring,” said Cardenas, who served two terms as chairman of Florida’s Republican Party. “So we need to get immigration reform done to finally get rid of that wedge issue that’s been afflicting our party for 10 or 15 years.”