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Identity Politics: Yes, Racial Divides Gave Obama the Win

So Republicans will need to take note of this ethnic shift. The disappointing Romney showing among Hispanics and Asians can be directly tied to the immigrant-bashing of some within the GOP. But this problem can quickly be solved by supporting a compromise immigration bill like the one President Reagan signed in 1986, and by putting a popular Hispanic like Marco Rubio on the Republican ticket in 2016 or 2020. Boosting the Republican share of the Hispanic vote back to the 2004 level of George W. Bush would essentially even out the national popular vote and help Republicans in crucial swing states like Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada.

The bad news for Republicans is that they’ve lost twice to Obama. The good news is that they won’t have to face him again due to term limits, and unless Michelle Obama goes on the ticket in 2016, no other Democrat is likely to ignite such a massive black turnout. The other good news is that Romney’s two-point national defeat is not that hard to overcome in historic terms: more than half the time since the Republican/Democrat two-party competition began in 1856, the losing party has gained at least a few points of the national vote in the next election.

With voters usually wanting a change after eight years, and without having to face an incumbent president with proven “urban ethnic” appeal in 2016, the Republicans could do just fine. This may have been a thrilling victory for Democrats, but the GOP should not get complacent given the president’s narrow majority and the magnitude of our national problems. A lot can happen in four years.