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The Lesson of the Election

By Oliver DeMille

This election was a surprise. Not because of the result, which I expected.

Before the election I wrote several times that it would come down to independents in the swing states—especially Florida, Ohio and Virginia, but also a few other battleground states such as Nevada, Wisconsin and Colorado.

I was right about the states, but wrong about which voters would sway things.

I thought it would be independent voters, like it was in the elections of 2006, 2008 and 2010. But I was wrong.

In the 2012 presidential election the swing voters in these contested states were Latinos.

This is the big message of the 2012 election.

As long as the Republican Party is seen as the enemy of immigrants, it is going to continue losing elections.

The number of Latino voters will increase by the 2014 midterm election and again by the 2016 presidential election, and as long as the large majority of them see Republican candidates as natural enemies, Republicans should get used to losing.

The GOP has to find a way to appeal to Latino voters.

This shouldn’t be difficult.

The majority of Latino voters are family-oriented, supportive of family values, hard working, entrepreneurial, and love freedom.

They don’t want bigger government, which they tend to see as aristocratic rule by elites.

But it’s hard to blame them for voting against Republican candidates who seem committed to their deportation and disrespectful of their desires for freedom and economic opportunity.

The needed change will demand a fundamental transformation of Republican beliefs, not just some pragmatic strategy designed to recruit Latino voters.

Republican candidates and voters need to genuinely embrace the right of people to seek freedom—and to leave their nation if necessary to find it.

Republicans need to return to the viewpoint that America stands for freedom, that we invite all hard-working, family-loving people in the world to come and join the melting pot and use their freedoms to work hard and build a better nation for all.

The GOP needs to once again see itself as the party of freedom for all people—everywhere.

One difficulty is that many conservatives who vote for anti-immigrant candidates do so because they dislike illegal immigrants receiving welfare and other government benefits funded by taxpayers.

But the welfare state is the problem, not immigrants.

Get rid of welfare, and we’ll once again be an America proud to invite immigrants here to participate in freedom.

But unless Republicans become the party of Latinos, or at least manage to convince more than half of them to support its freedom-and-family-oriented policies, Democrats will continue to win—and the welfare state will swell beyond control.

Republicans lost the presidential election of 2012 because of the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of the 2011-2012 primaries, and until conservatives embrace the many great benefits Latinos and other minorities have to offer and make them central to the Republican Party, the Democrats are going to run America.

It’s time for a new Republican Party that:

1-promotes the ideals of limited government rather than Republican big spending (the message of the Tea Parties and also of many independents)

2-is truly tolerant, respectful, genuinely celebrating and embracing a diversity of cultures, enticing to Latinos and other minority voters

3-is more frequently winning than losing

The third item on this list will never happen in the 21st Century unless the second occurs.

In short: It is time for a fundamental shift in the Republican Party (or the creation of a new party that embraces these very values), because a GOP that fails to effectively attract Latinos and other immigrants is going to remain out of power.


odemille 133x195 custom Egypt, Freedom, & the Cycles of HistoryOliver DeMille is the chairman of the Center for Social Leadership and co-creator of Thomas Jefferson Education.

He is the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.


  1. I must respectfully disagree with part of your premise. I do not believe the Latino vote came down to immigration but was a cultural issue. Culturally they are breed with the belief that economic success comes from government. In times of economic uncertainty their tendencies is to naturally look for more government. We had a candidate promising just that.

    In my post-election conclusion I believe the root cause is more systemic and what I boil down to what I generically call “critical thinking” or lack thereof. There is a great post at http://www.brushfireforum.com (everyone knows, or at least thinks) that briefly goes into the results of a lack of critical thinking in politics.

  2. Great to have you here, Eric. Looks like you’re up to some great things. Best wishes on Brush Fire Forum!

    I hope you enjoy a good discussion. Slightly tongue in cheek: I must say that I know a lot of Latinos, and none of them were bred for anything in particular, as far as I can tell. Perhaps it was an unfortunate turn of a phrase. If so, I’m sure you’ll join with me in repudiating the nuance it suggests, and hopefully take no offense at my continuing the conversation.

    In my experience, a large proportion of the fine people who immigrate here from south of the border (and beyond our borders elsewhere) are extremely hard-working, with high standards of family values and personal integrity. Their personal presentation and home environments are often exemplary, and they have a spirit of entrepreneurship that I wish would rub off on the “citizens” who delegate their responsibility to keep vigil on our freedoms and sell our collective future for a mess of pottage.

    If anything, the Hispanics of my acquaintance are far more inclined, on the whole, toward being producers and providing for their own than the average American, who thinks nothing of expecting others to provide a job for him.

    Those of us who were born to freedom can’t imagine the lengths to which those less fortunate are willing to go to try to secure a better future for their posterity. Our founders knew that soul-searing compulsion, and embodied that spirit. Talk about revering dead prophets, and stoning live ones! We style ourselves as the inheritors of our founders’ legacy, and reject those who are living their narrative.

    Today’s Americans would sooner apply for government aid than move to the next town to look for work. Can you imagine them selling all and climbing in a fragile crate to find hope thousands of miles away?

    Our immigrants have a lot to teach us about what it’s going to take to recover America’s greatness and preserve her liberties for future generations.

    I absolutely agree with the sentiment that government is not the answer. The human spirit, and the application of sound principles, is (God willing our success).

    The suggestion that the Latinos have a particular corner on the market of dependency is, IMHO, slanted, and is a deflection of the responsibility that we bear for setting up a nanny state in the first place. WE did that. We the people. We the problem. We the solution.

    I welcome all who will bear up this economy – and the future of our freedom – with the spirit of self-determination, whether they come from within or without our borders. We, the people of the United States, are in desperate need of an infusion of the spirit of self-reliance, and the culture that impels one to sacrifice for the future of those that will follow us.

    All that being said, national security is a critical issue that must be attended to; but in the context of a discussion of cultural values, I hope the Latinos can get a word in edge-wise. They’ve been marginalized and vilified by the party that should have championed their cause, and it’s everyone’s loss.

  3. Thanks for the update Oliver. I saw a report that said if Romney had gotten 330,000 more votes in the right combinations from Florida, New Hampshire, Virgina, and Ohio he would have won. That’s a 3.4% change in the vote. I bet The Romney campaign now wish they would have concentrated their efforts more in these four states as opposed to going after Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa.

  4. I really enjoy your perspective on many things and just wanted to ask your opinion on how to go about addressing the issue of illegal immigration and citizenship for those already in the country. How could it be successfully addressed. My thoughts about this issue and others often fall short of a working solution, so I just wanted to hear your perspective on what could work.

  5. A big concern of mine is how liberty-minded candidates can appeal to the millions of black and latino voters who voted for Obama? Especially when the information is clearly out there regarding Obama’s Marxist ties and connections. I won’t go so far as to say that he is a Marxist, I can’t prove that, but if he’s not a Marxist he’s at the best a “Useful Idiot.”

    I can see blacks voting for Obama based on race, but for me, that’s just too shallow a reason. I think the immigration and citizenship issues drove the Latino vote, but to vote on just those issues alone is, to me, to shallow a reason.

    A Constitutional liberty-minded candidate has just got to appeal to these sectors of our population. Education has to be part of the solution. We just have to educate others, besides ourselves, a few home-schoolers, or those rich enough to attend private schools, etc., on the proper role of government and the moral basis of a free society. We have to have a broad reach. How do we get there?


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