The Five People Who Won the Election for Obama
Many, many people deserve to be singled out by President Obama for their role in his re-election. Dogged fundraisers, the legion who mobilized his voters on Election Day, countless brave souls who held their own in barroom debates, late-night dorm room arguments, and dinner-table squabbles all over America.
But my list is a little different. Today, I salute the true drivers of opinion, men and women who deserve a shout out for driving people to the polls—and driving them away, that is, from the scarier aspects of the GOP platform.
1. Sherriff Joe:
Topping this list—first among equals, really—is Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Sadly, the “Adios Arpaio” movement led by the county’s Latino population failed. So Arpaio rides again, having been re-elected along with Obama on Tuesday night.
If I were Obama, I would be tempted to send some of the proceeds of my best-selling biography to help fund Arpaio’s re-election victory party. (He’d have to send it, of course, because a personal visit by an African-American to them parts is liable to end in a justified search and seizure and Obama in the hoosegow.)
Obama and other Democrats know that the longer Sheriff Joe remains a national figure, and the more his actions jibe with the anti-Hispanic stance of the national Republican Party, the more secure the near lock Democrats have established on the growing Hispanic vote.
As my colleague Matt Yglesias noted Wednesday, this goes deeper than immigration policy. The lack of rapport between Republicans and this country’s most important ethnic bloc is stunning in its depth, and the party’s efforts to address it only made things worse. It’s going to take more than flying into Miami and saying, “Look, I’m having cocktails with a handsome, wealthy right-wing Cuban who may someday be a vice presidential candidate!”