Sunday, April 21, 2024

McCain's lack of support among Latinos is a symptom of a bigger problem

Latino voters may tip this year’s presidential election. They make up 12% of the electorate in Colorado and Nevada, 14% in Florida and 37% in New Mexico (see map). In 2004 George Bush won all four of those states by five percentage points or less, and all four of them are regarded as key battlefields this time around. Florida, as the fourth-biggest state in the union and electorally one of the closest, is a place where the large Hispanic vote could well prove decisive: Jeb Bush, the president’s brother and the governor of Florida at the time of the 2000 and 2004 elections, has a Hispanic wife and helped boost the Republican’s share of the Latino vote there. But he is now gone.

Yet Mr Obama’s strength among Hispanic voters does not just have to do with his position on immigration. Nor does Mr McCain’s weakness have to do with his stance on the subject. Much of the talk at the National Council of La Raza was about issues like foreclosure, school dropout rates and health insurance. Downstairs, in the convention hall, one of the busiest stalls offered advice on diabetes. Latinos worry more than most about these things, but they are not the only people who worry about them. Mr McCain’s real problem is that he has so far failed to convince Americans, Hispanic or otherwise, that he can come up with solutions to their rather ordinary problems.

The Economist