Could Obama Win Re-election In a Landslide?
TIME magazine's cover story, which hit the newsstand Thursday, argues that Latino voters will cast the deciding vote in the upcoming election.
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After watching the Republican candidates lock the kryptonite that is the immigration issue around their necks during the Arizona debate, my bet is that President Barack Obama could win another term -- even if he loses key swing states such as Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin -- but he must make sure he accomplishes one thing first: Connect with Latinos.
Republicans have not connected with Hispanics; the candidates' approaches to immigration are not compelling and lack substance, from talk of double 30-foot electrified fences to anchor babies and self-deportation. In fact, it could very well be that the 20 Arizona Latino voters on the cover of TIME and half a million more will turn out to vote in Arizona and flip the state to Obama.
Obama comes into the election with 196 electoral votes from safe Democratic states. If he takes Arizona and if Hispanic voters help him flip Missouri, which McCain won by fewer than 4,000 votes, and help him retain Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and North Carolina, then Obama wins with 279 electoral votes, nine more than the 270 needed. If he can retain Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Wisconsin, also populated with many Latino swing voters, then he could win in a landslide.
It is clear, then, that connecting with Latino voters could very well be a tipping point for the president; the question is how to make that connection.
In his book "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation," Drew Westen convincingly argues that "people vote for the candidate who elicits the right feelings, not the candidate who presents the best arguments."
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