-By Warner Todd Huston
On June 18 the L.A. Times turned in a sly performance attempting to paint Mitt Romney as the whites only candidate in a piece headlined, “Romney, Cows and Ice Cream: Targeting Conservative, White ‘Backbone’.”
Romney is calling his current Midwest campaign stint a tour of the “backbone of America,” but it seems the Times is purposefully misconstruing that ages old saying about the Midwest, making it into a racial epithet, instead of the laudatory name it usually is, by styling it the “white backbone” of America.
The Times quickly goes on to quote partisan liberal author Ruy Teixeira, who also a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress, who says that Romney is probably wasting his time on the tour because minority voters in some of the swing state he’s visiting are lost to him regardless.
Over the last 20 years, the percentage of white working-class voters in both states has dropped, while the share of minorities and white college graduates has risen, a trend apt to benefit Democrats over time, said Ruy Teixeira, a senior fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress.
Teixeira should have lost all credibility back in 2002 when he famously published a book titled, “The Emerging Democratic Majority.” In 2002 Teixeira claimed that the Republican Party was finished and the Democrats were sure to be winners for decades to come, yet Democrats have only controlled both the White House and Congress for two of the last 18 years. Further damaging his analysis, Democrats lost control of the House in 2010 in the biggest loss of seats suffered by any party in decades.
Now, certainly Teixeira’s claim about Latino voters in swing states is the conventional wisdom, one made by Old Media outlets across the board. But Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende says not so fast to that conceit.
In a recent piece analyzing Obama’s immigration decision, Trende notes that claims that Latinos are a critical voting bloc might be somewhat exaggerated.
While the Latino vote is frequently portrayed as a critical voting bloc, in truth it is concentrated in only a few swing states with just a handful of electoral votes. The only states where Latinos make up more than 10 percent of the electorate are: Arizona (16 percent of the electorate in 2008), California (18 percent), Colorado (13 percent), Florida (14 percent), Nevada (15 percent), New Mexico (41 percent), and Texas (20 percent).
“So in the end,” Trende says, “we’re talking about Colorado and Nevada as the states where this is likely to produce dividends of any size, for a total of 15 electoral votes.”
The L.A. Times affirms that this coming election will be about the economy, of course, but it is striking that no recognition was made of how Obama is still pushing the same old, failed ideas as the cure to our economic malaise. For instance, the paper notes that Obama is stepping up the access he’s allowed local Midwestern TV reporters to counter Romney’s drive for voters, many of whom went for Obama in 2008. Yet the paper then uncritically mentions that Obama is allowing this access during his announcement of “new federal aid to rural small businesses.” A sharp reporter would have noted that Obama is just offering more federal spending and bailouts, the exact sort of policies that have driven voters away from him in droves, especially in Wisconsin.
Then there was this interesting way the Times phrased Romney’s Midwest tour:
Romney tried to project the image of a family man, with his wife, Ann, and two of their sons, Craig and Matt, offeringFather’s Daytestimonials at rallies. Five Romney grandchildren joined them on stage.
What do we mean, “tried to project the image of a family man”? Isn’t he a family man? Has there ever been any reports that Romney is somehow less than an involved parent to his large number of children and less than a loving partner to Ann Romney, his one and only wife of 43 years? What is this “tried to project” business?
The Times was subtle with this report, to be sure, but any clear reading of it will find the reader thinking that Romney is only for white voters, can’t appeal to minorities, and is somehow questionable as a “family man.”
Slick, L.A. Times, very slick.