Romney’s saving advantage

The GOP nomination has been a roller coaster.  We have had Romney consistently polling in the 20’s and multiple candidates polling ahead at one time or another.  Bachmann, Perry, Cain and now Newt have all surged at one point in time and come back to Earth.  But now less than a week from the Iowa Caucuses one must ask which candidates have the staying power to compete in a long nomination?

Perry has a strong organization in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.  But he has not developed a strong organization elsewhere and his campaign funding has dried up since when he surged.  Perry is not polling strongly nationally and needs strong finishes in IA and South Carolina to give his campaign new life. 

Rep. Michelle Bachmann and former Senator Rick Santorum only have organizations in Iowa.  Santorum has never risen like Bachmann and does not have such a fervent following.  Bachmann since falling in national surveys has continued to poll well in IA and in the single mid to low digits in national surveys.  Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s entire campaign seems to be in NH.  He hopes to use his moderate record on social issues and his fiscally conservative record to break into Romney’s lead in the state.  Gingrich’s unexpected rise has essentially derailed this plan.  But again, organizationally Huntsman is in bad shape nationally.

This brings us to the last two contenders.  Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.  Gingrich has surged to the lead in the last month in national and state surveys.  But Gingrich, much as former GOP candidate Herman Cain did, lacks any form of an organization.  In recent weeks his campaign team has scrambled to hire new staff and open up offices in IA, NH, SC and even Florida.  Gingrich’s lead has also dropped as negative ads from all comers has bombarded him.  Gingrich’s camp has money but not enough to fight the onslaught of attacks coming at him.  Rep. Ron Paul has deep organizations across the country due to the small but staunch support of his supporters and its grassroots nature. 

All these GOP candidates have organizations to a degree but none can match that of Mitt Romney.  And perhaps that will be his saving advantage.  Romney’s staff from 2008 learned a lot.  Romney went all in for IA where he struggled.  He lost NH and SC and never recovered.  Now his campaign team is paying more attention to building infrastructure then dominating in the polls.  Romney has a deep well of support from rich donors in the West and East to fall back on.  Then there is his K Street money which is allowing him to prepare for a long, protracted nomination contest.  The only other candidate near Romney in organization is Paul and his national support looks to small to lead him to the nomination. 

Thus Romney may be saved by being the “Slow and steady candidate.”  Alternatives to him have risen and fallen in the GOP ranks but he has always remained.  And while the other candidates have jockeyed for position among conservatives Romney has always been in the lead or close.  His campaign has built up an organization no other candidate can hope to match.  Romney’s organizational advantage is sure to run up against the obstacle of many conservative voters turning to anybody but him.  Turnout will be crucial for his camp to finish strong enough in IA and SC to keep going (assuming he wins NH which he must).  Romney’s organizational advantage over the GOP candidates may just turn out to be his saving advantage in this race.


Wyden-Ryan Medicare reform plan is a new headache for Democrats

For awhile it appeared Democrats had finally found an edge in the 2012 congressional elections.  Democrats in recent weeks relentlessly attacked the GOP on stalling passage of an extension of federal unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut.  When Democrats proposed paying for it with a 3.5% surtax on income over $1 million Republicans balked.  Democrats pounced and accused the GOP of protecting millionaires at the expense of almost every American who is employed.  For awhile the attacks seemed to be working.  Republicans in the Senate and House were divided on the issue.

But in the last week two things have happened that have changed the dynamic heading into the end of the year.  First, the payroll tax extension.  Attacked by Democrats on the payroll tax cut extension Republicans struck back and added a provision tailor-made to appeal to white working class voters.  This provision called for the WH to immediately allow for the Keystone XL Pipeline to continue to be constructed and also added language allowing for this to more easily happen.  Of course the White House and Senate rejected the provision but Republicans in the House have pushed ahead.  It also now appears that Democrats are starting to sweat just as Republicans were a week ago.  Senate Democrats have backed away from paying for the plan with the millionaires surtax and now even appear to be willing to discuss having the Keystone language in the final legislation.  This comes after Senate Democrats made a blunder and threatened to tie the payroll tax cut extension to a massive government funding bill that if not passed could lead to another government shutdown.

Second is news on entitlement reform.  A new plan unveiled by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) would significantly reform Medicare.  Remember earlier in the year Republicans voted on the Ryan Budget Plan which would essentially phase out Medicare for anybody OVER 55.  Democrats attacked the plan nonstop and succeeded in capturing an open Republican seat in NY-26.  Democrats had hoped they could use the arguments that “Republicans want to destroy Medicare” and “Throw grandmother over the cliff” in the 2012 elections.  That plan just took a serious hit.

The new Ryan-Wyden plan would allow for traditional Government Medicare to remain.  The main change to traditional Medicare is that its cost would be capped in ways acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats.  But the bigger change would be allowing seniors to shop around for alternatives to Medicare and receive cash vouchers to subsidize their purchases. 

Wyden has had a history of breaking with his party, as has Ryan.  In 2009 when Healthcare Reform was being debated Wyden unveiled a plan with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) that would have allowed for the creation of state and regional health exchanges.  His work on state health exchanges was included in the final language of Healthcare Reform.  Ryan has also broken with Republican leadership on several matters, especially entitlements, and argued for deep and structural reform, especially of Medicare.  His initial plan, the Ryan Budget, went farther than the Wyden-Ryan plan but was panned by almost every Democrat.  This plan is bipartisan and appeals more to many members.

Combined, these two new factors are likely to give Congressional and Senate Democrats headaches before the year is over.  Just as Democrats thought they had the upper-hand they seem to have lost it.  And the White House is not helping.  As soon as the plan was unveiled the White House panned it.  The White House used the typical lines of not doing enough to protect seniors and endangering the program.  In recent weeks the White House has had to back off on several statements, such as opposition to a defense authorization spending bill Congress supports as well as a veto of an overall spending bill.  A White House that is seemingly out of sorts is not helping Congressional Democrats.

It once looked like Democrats had the advantage.  But now the dynamic has shifted in the GOP’s favor.  If Democratic leadership absolutely oppose any plan to reform entitlements and practice fiscal discipline they are leading their party into deep trouble.

Can Ron Paul win Iowa and what it means if he does

Two weeks away from the Iowa Caucuses and it now appears the race is a three-man race between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.  Yes, that’s right, Ron Paul, the candidate who advocates letting Iran get the bomb and legalizing pot is now in competition for the Iowa Caucuses.  An onslaught of negative ads from Paul and Romney have firmly driven down Gingrich’s numbers in the state and nationwide.  Meanwhile, taking the rest of the support are Perry, Bachmann and Santorum, unlikely but still able to rise in Iowa on Caucus night.

Paul has always firmly had a block of support nationwide and in Iowa.  But as it has become clearer to conservatives the GOP nominee will likely be Gingrich, Romney, or Perry (outside shot) some voters might be giving him a second look and liking him.  He has a lot of anti-traditional GOP positions, especially on foreign policy, but his supporters are fervent and have a great ground game for Caucus night.  Paul has always been polling in the single high to mid digits in Iowa but in recent weeks he has taken off.  In two new polls Paul has surged to a lead.  In one surveyPPP) he has a small lead and  in the other a slightly larger lead. In the PPP survey Paul gets 23% to Romney’s 20% and Gingrich’s 14%.  Nobody else is above 10%.  The Insider Advantage survey has Paul leading Romney 24% to 18% and Perry third with 16%.

Serious questions remain though about Paul’s viability, even in Iowa.  In the PPP survey Paul’s narrow lead can be attributed to the fact he has not gained support among Republicans but from Democrats and Independents.  The same rings true in the Insider Advantage survey to give Paul his edge.  These are iffy voters to turn out on election day.  It also says a lot when your opponent party’s voters think you should win because you are such a weak general election candidate.

So can Paul really, realistically win Iowa?  The evidence listed above points to a definite maybe.  Paul’s coalition of support may be extremely unusual and weak in some respects but he has a solid core of support.  He has plenty of grass-roots money and his campaign has ramped up their ground game and learned from the lessons of 2008.  Then Paul did not invest in a ground game and finished a disappointing fifth, never being a force in the nomination.  But now Paul is polling strongly and could realistically finish second or third in the state. 

So let’s assume Paul wins Iowa.  What would that mean for the rest of the GOP nomination?  Right now not much.  PPP and Insider Advantage also polled the New Hampshire and South Carolina races.  PPP found that Romney still has a commanding lead in the state.  He leads Gingrich and Paul with 35% while Paul is at 19% and Gingrich at 17%.  Insider Advantage surveyed the South Carolina primary and finds Gingrich ahead of Romney 31%-19% with nobody else close.  A new Clemson University survey also finds Gingrich with a commanding 38%-21% lead over Romney in the state and Paul back at 7%. 

These surveys suggest Paul’s recent rise in IA is due to a confluence of unusual factors extremely difficult to replicate across the nation.  Paul’s cries for defense of the little guy, his libertarian stances on social and drug issues (which may be why he polls well among Democrats) and the fact many voters are turned off by Gingrich and Romney are fueling his campaign.

These factors, while relevant in Iowa may not matter so much elsewhere in the GOP nominating states.  New Hampshire is far more anti-establishment then libertarian.  Moreover, New Hampshire likes to make sure they do not rubber-stamp the nominee rather than anoint him.  So if Paul wins IA he may carry some momentum forward but the issues he used to great success in IA will likely ring hollow in NH. Likewise NH may reject him simply because he won Iowa.  South Carolina is much the same story.  Gingrich has a regional advantage over Paul and Romney.  Paul’s libertarian stances on foreign policy and social issues will not play well among a deeply socially and national defense orientated electorate.  Keep in mind South Carolina voted for hawkish Republican Lindsey Graham by a significant margin in 2008.  Then we get to Florida which has shown no inclination to lean towards Paul.  Neither has Nevada or Michigan.  By the time we get to Super Tuesday Paul’s win in IA could his only major victory and his delegate count minimal.

This is not to say that Paul cannot win the nomination.  But even with his rise in IA he has to be considered a long-shot.  The early nominating states after Iowa (to say nothing of the rest of the GOP electorate) really do not share many of Paul’s unorthodox views.  Recent polling data suggests this.  A new CNN national survey finds Gingrich and Romney tied at 28% while is far back in third with 14% (it is a testament to his staying power he is here).  In Gallup Daily tracking Gingrich and Romney are statistically tied with 26% and 24% and Paul is again in third with 11%.  Time after time nationwide surveys have found Paul’s support strong but shallow and thin. 

Paul has a better shot at winning the GOP nomination then he did a week ago.  I still would not bet on it though.

Romney’s path to the nomination is going to be a long-slog

Mitt Romney has been the “Inevitable GOP nominee” since the unofficial start of the GOP presidential race.  But that name has not been awarded to him by conservative Republicans or by Tea Partiers.  It has been given to him by the media.  And the truth is far from this reality.  Romney has never been able to gain a solid footing in the GOP race and alternatives to him have continued to rise and fall as Romney has stayed stagnant.  While many analysts may have missed it at the beginning more are starting to come to a simple realization.  If Romney wins the GOP nomination, and if needs to be stressed, it will not be a clean, short win.  It will be a long slog. 

Romney’s strategy up to the start of December was to not compete in IA, finish in second or third in name ID, win New Hampshire, compete a bit in South Carolina, finishing second or third.  Then he would hit Florida and Nevada hard, cruise into Michigan after two wins and then win Super Tuesday.  Well apparently his campaign has finally caught onto the simple truth that this is no longer a viable strategy.  Romney’s campaign has started to compete and invest heavily in IA.  This appears to be out of simple necessity.  Of the first three candidates to rise (Bachmann, Perry, Cain) none was able to dent Romney’s big lead in NH.  But Gingrich, in a slate of recent polls, has threatened Romney’s lead.  This means Romney would not be able to waltz into SC after a 30 point win in New Hampshire.  And worse for Romney is even as he has invested in Iowa he is now either in third or fourth in Iowa (barely beating Perry).

All these things point to Romney being forced to win in a dragged out primary.  But there are several other reasons why.  In early 2011 the RNC decided to change the way it allots delegates.  Long story short they implemented rules changes that incentivized (in truth forced) many caucus and primary states before April to adopt proportional allotment of their delegates.  The big Northeastern states that gave John McCain the nomination in 2008 on Super Tuesday will now not be winner-take-all.  Instead what is likely to come out of Super-Tuesday is a close delegate count between the last two remaining challengers (most likely Romney, Perry or Gingrich).  This change was designed to encourage a longer primary so that infrastructure could be built up in key swing states.

Republicans simply do not like Romney.  On a personal level they appreciate Romney is a businessman and is sounding conservative but in terms of core convictions they have always had doubts.  This is evidenced by the fact that never once in the last three months has Romney ever led among self-identified Tea Partiers in any national survey and many state surveys. (he has led among them in NH).  Republicans are rightly weary of the many positions Romney has taken in the past that are not even close to being conservative.  His running as a progressive Republican in 94 against Teddy Kennedy (pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, against the Contract with America), his record as Governor of MA in 2002 (most notably passing Romneycare), and mainly just changing his stances time and time again.  It would be one thing if Romney did it over 20 years.  But Romney did it in the span of 2 years from 2006-2008 so he could run for president as a Republican.  If any Republican did this it would be questionable.

There know also appear to be growing doubts among Republicans about his general election viability.  Romney’s policy flips have always made his path to the nomination difficult but among some establishment Republicans it has made them back away from him.  Romney and Gingrich in several polls are running well with Obama (though Romney runs stronger in more surveys).  But when voters are asked in these surveys about which candidate they trust more on a whole host of issues Romney falls short on trust and authenticity in one survey.  This points to Romney struggling to get out conservatives in the general.  Sure, Romney may win a few more moderate independent votes in the suburbs than Gingrich or Perry might but Romney is also more likely to lower turnout in core conservative areas across the country he needs.  This factor has made even some of his solid moderate support consider another candidate over Romney.

Lastly, the primary calendar comes into play here.  Many of the key states that vote before Super Tuesday are not friendly to Romney.  Iowa, South Carolina and Florida being notable examples.  And with the new RNC rules allotting delegates on a proportional basis and not winner-take-all basis Romney’s wins could be limited (through the number of delegates he gets).  Of the twenty or so states that vote on Super Tuesday about half seem friendly to Romney and half not.  As the primary shakes out right before Iowa more states may appear to favor or oppose Romney.  After Super Tuesday is when many more favorable Romney states start voting.  This is bared out by recent Gallup data on ideology in all 50 states and when those states are scheduled to vote in the GOP primary.  Many of the states after Super Tuesday have a higher proportion of moderates then the before Super Tuesday voting states.  And considering Romney has played best among moderates against whoever he faces after Super Tuesday he could be best positioned to pull it off.

Romney’s base of support is the deepest of any candidate (short of Paul).  And he is not lacking for cash (from K Street) and infrastructure. But Romney’s path to the nomination has always been complicated and based on a lot of ifs.  With the nomination now coming into focus it appears that Romneys best path lies with winning a long-drawn out process and using the early state rule of proportional delegate allocation to his advantage then win states after Super Tuesday (with higher numbers of moderates, a key block of support for Romney).  The media and many analysts finally seem to have caught onto this reality.  About time.  And for Romney and his staff it means you better keep plugging all the way to the Convention in August.

The end of the GDP Dividend

The American public is anything but happy.  Congressional approval is at all-time lows, the president’s approval ratings are mired in the low to mid-40s and the only public institution that seems to attract any significant support is the military.  So what explains this?  Why does the public feel so disenfranchised and powerful?  Furthermore how did it happen?

To answer these two questions we have to look at what government has been up to in the last sixty years.  More specifically, the programs that have been created and the economic growth their action (or inaction) has fostered.  Consider the following.  From 1953 when President Eisenhower first took office to the end of 2007 (and the start of the recession) the US has added “An interstate highway system, two massive expansions of Social Security, the beginnings of federal aid to education, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Head Start, volunteer programs, SCHIP (the State Children’s Health Insurance Program), No Child Left Behind, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. We fought hot wars in Vietnam, twice in the Persian Gulf, in Afghanistan, as well as a cold war that lasted for 40 of those years.”

Also consider this.  Even as the US was adding all these goodies and fighting all these hot and cold conflicts federal spending never topped 23% of GDP (in fact it sat between 17%-23%).  The top marginal tax rates were reduced to 35% before being bumped back up by then-President Clinton in the 90s.  It is absolutely remarkable this occurred. 

How this occurred was pointed out by political analyst Sean Trende at Realclearpolitics “From 1953 through 2007, there were only 10 quarters (out of 220) where per capita GDP was less than it had been three years earlier — clustered in the late 1950s and 1980s. And when GDP fell beneath the overall trend line, there was usually a spurt in growth that brought us back to the trend line.”  What this means is that as federal spending grew the economy grew in equal proportions.  Tax revenue went up which meant being able to add and pay for new programs to woo voters.

But now fast-forward to today and that is rapidly becoming a historical reality.  Politicians always seem to be the last to notice things and this is one of the things they seem to have missed.  As Trende points out the new reality is the “Elimination of what we might call Congress’ “GDP Dividend.”

It is worth nothing that every president up to Barack Obama has run on a platform promising some sort of spending cuts, tax increases or revenue increases.  Politicians of both political parties have been all but to willing to exploit the GDP Dividend and divvy up pieces the ever-expanding pie.  That is until 2007.  Now that pie is not just growing but seems to be shrinking.  Of our two political parties Democrats are almost completely united behind not just divvying up the pie even more but expanding it through future borrowing to expand the pie.  In lamens terms that translates to the federal government spending more and more of GDP.  Republicans on the other hand seem divided.  One the one hand some of their membership seem to favor the status quo and try to target the small part of the pie known as discretionary spending.  On the other you have many freshman and senior Republicans fighting to actually cut spending and start shrinking the pie, making everybody feel some of the pain (including the 47% who do not pay federal income taxes). 

The scramble for who gets what out of the pie, whether to expand it or not, how, etc. has helped make Americans feel disenfranchised from the system.  And the resulting political turmoil and erratic voting habits it has created has only further exacerbated the problem.  Many moderate incumbents being knocked out of both parties due to corruption or a bad economy, fights over spending bills and looming government shutdowns, and a general distrust of DC in general has all been fed by the end of the GDP Dividend.  A solid majority of Americans ( currently fear big-government intrusion.  For a public that has always been relatively independent and distrustful of the political class the end of the GDP Dividend has only made this worse.

The American public has watched as DC has devolved into nothing more than shouting matches to determine who gets what out of a shrinking pie.  One party stands almost in total lockstep about rejecting the truth and the other party is torn between preserving the status quo and cutting spending heavily across the board.  Economic growth is sluggish, signs of a permanent underemployment class are being seen everyday and the US is facing more issues than ever.  Americans who feel disenfranchised from the political system and wonder how it happened perhaps can look here and gain a better understanding and perhaps change this dynamic.  One can hope anyways.

Special thanks goes out to Realclearpolitics writer Sean Trende for giving me the idea and info for this piece.

Is good ole Gingrich learning discipline?

Newt Gingrich has vaulted to the top of the polls and what is the one thing analysts are saying could be his downfall?  Not that he is not conservative enough, not his infidelity but rather his lack of discipline.  For those who need to be refreshed of some of Gingrich’s top lack of discipline moments here is a short list.

1. The entire impeachment process of Bill Clinton

2. Sitting on a park-bench with Nancy Pelosi preaching the dangers of climate change in 2009.

3. The roll-out of Gingrich’s presidential campaign.  Letting his entire staff leave for Rick Perry and allowing his wife to go shopping and spend hundreds of thousands on a cruise.

4. Calling Paul Ryan’s Balanced Budget Plan and reforms for Medicare “Right-wing social engineering,” on national TV.

5. Finally, participating in more debates than can be counted and increasing exponentially the chances of making a colossal blunder.

These are but a few of many examples, but I digress.  Gingrich’s rise in the polls has been nothing short of stunning.  As GOP alternative to Romney has fallen one after the other Gingrich has been lurking, always pulling somewhere around 5-10% support.  As Cain’s support collapsed Gingrich made his move and rose to the top of the polls on his strong debate performances and oratorical skill.  And with Cain’s exit from the race it appears many of his former supporters have moved to Gingrich (a few to Perry).  What is noticeable since Gingrich’s disastrous rollout has been, dare it be said, discipline.  Gingrich has avoided from making any big mistakes.  Instead, it appears his staff and him took the tactic of letting all the “Not-Romney” candidates fall flat and then rise with his strong debate performances.

But can it last?  Afterall, keep in mind this is the guy who has let it be known since 2009 he wanted to run for president and then sat on a bench with Nancy Pelosi preaching climate change.  If Gingrich can avoid any big gaffes in the final weeks leading up to the Iowa Caucuses I would say yes.  But keep in mind it is not necessarily just that Gingrich has to have discipline, his staff needs a lot to.  Gingrich’s campaign infrastructure is extremely underdeveloped compared to Perry’s or Romney’s.  In retail states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina that is extremely important.  Many voters in these states are drawn to vote for a candidate on a life story, a simple message, religious or ideological beliefs, and not just debate performances.

One thing does seem clear however.  Gingrich has learned discipline and short of any major disasters he is best positioned to win the GOP nomination in August.

Demographics does not equal destiny

If there is one thing that is true in American politics it is that demography does not equal destiny.  If that were true then the Reagan Revolution of 1980, fueled on the backs of an influx of conservative, European and Catholic white voters, would have never ended.  Ditto with the 94 GOP Revolution, fueled on the backs of working class whites and evangelical christians.  The 2008 coalition that elected Obama, full of moderate college voters and historic turnout among minorities would also have never ended.  But they all have.  American politics is cyclical and so is demographics.

A lot has been made recently about demographics from Republican and Democratic pollsters.  Multiple prominent Democratic pollsters, including James Carville, Mark Halperin, Ruy Teixiera and Mark Mellman, see a demographic shift occurring that will benefit Democrats in the coming decades.  But Republicans and strategists are quick to point the problems with this assumption.  So what exactly are Democratic pollsters arguing is and will happen exactly?  And what are the flaws Republicans and conservative strategists see in their theory.

Democratic pollsters Ruy Teixiera and Mark Halperin have since 2006 argued that a demographic shift in the US is underway.  This demographic shift is turning the US from being majority white to majority-minority white.  And in that they see a massive advantage for Democrats.  Hispanics went 68% for the president in 2008 and blacks went with him by 97%.  More than that, in 2008 both Hispanics and blacks grew their total share of the electorate by a significant margin.  Teixiera and Halperin hypothesize that in 2012 the non-white vote share of the electorate will grow by 2% and equal 26% of the total electorate.  This will mainly be due to growth in the Hispanic population.  And in later elections this cycle is only going to accelerate.

Republicans and conservative strategists however have ready counter-arguments for the short-term and long-term.  First in the short-term conservative strategists point out that the majority of minority turnout in 2008 was due to growth in the African-American vote.  According to 2008 exit polls 13% of the electorate was black.  That compares with the 2010 census data that finds they only make up 11-12% of the total populace.  For blacks to turn out in such massive numbers for the president again (after the glow of electing a minority president has faded), after economic conditions have gotten even worse,  is a stretch.  Second, a growth in the Hispanic population nationwide does not correlate with an automatic growth in the share of the voting public.  In 1992 the Hispanic share of the electorate actually shrunk from 1988.  And while the Hispanic share of the vote increased 4% in 2004 from 2000 for most of the decade the Hispanic share of the vote has been stagnant.  In 2006 it shrunk to 7.94% of the voting electorate and in 08 was a mere 8.38% (.14% over 2004).  Yet in 2010 they were around 8%.  So the Hispanic vote has not increased in relation to their population growth.  So this means that an increase in the non-white share of the vote is by no means a sure thing.  Third, Democrats are consistently losing the white working class vote, and badly.  In 2004 Bush won 58% of this voting bloc (Kerry 41%) and even when Republicans were getting drubbed in 2006 and 2008 they still managed to carry this voting bloc.  In 2010 they won this group by a massive 30% (even Reagan did not do as well as this).  So while the president can sacrifice some of these voters to pursue minorities he cannot suffer a 30% loss among them.  And that brings us to the last short-term argument against Texiera’s and Halperin’s theme.  The interests of working class and upscale whites and minorities are widely divergent.  That means in essence the president could be pursuing a zero-sum game.  For every minority vote he gets he could turn off white and upscale white voters.  All these short-term arguments have factual grounding and are quite valid.

In the long-term GOP strategists point to the fact the Hispanic share of the vote is not a lock for Democrats.  Hispanics could fit into the GOP’s emphasis on family and tradition even if they lean-to the left economically.  The GOP’s emphasis on law and order could also play well with them.  Second, a continuous growth in the Hispanic share of the populace (it is unsure if it will ever correlate with a growth in their share of the electorate) is not assured.  As many illegals that are coming into the US many are also returning to Mexico.  Th weakness of the US economy, its current political climate and Mexico’s modernizing economy are influencing this somewhat.  Finally, Republicans point out that demographics is not destiny.  There are many more numerous examples of demographic hopes failing to materialize for permanent political majorities.  Probably the closest to a political majority the US will ever see would be the Democratic controlled House from 54-94.  But even that fell apart.

While Democratic strategists see a trend line in demographics that favor their party Republicans and conservatives see more question marks then answers.  Both in the short and long-term.  And in truth, Republicans are probably right.  Southern whites use to be consistently Democratic until 1968.  Now they are consistently Republican.  Urban and suburban Northeasterners used to be solid moderate Republicans.  Now many are stalwart liberals.  And this is just among the white demographic.  Just as the white demographic is not monolithic neither is the Hispanic vote.  Hispanics in different areas of the country do and will likely place different levels of emphasis on issues.  As their vote share increases in proportion to the overall electorate they will also likely start looking at individual issues differently then they do today. 

So while it sounds good for Democratic strategists to argue that demographics equals destiny and favors their party the truth is somewhere in the middle.  Hispanics will likely lean Democratic for some time to come.  But as Democrats court them white working class and upscale voters are even more  likely to find a permanent home in the GOP.  Also,  how much or if Hispanic vote share increases consistently is also an open question.  Furthermore, if their vote share increases will they look at local, state and federal issues in the same light.  Or like many white American voters will they take slightly more nuanced views over time?  And the best answer to all these questions is that American politics is cyclical. Majorites come and go as do political leaders.  But the volatile and swing nature of the American electorate always remains.