Imagine African-Americans, who voted 88% Democratic in 2004, voting 95% for Obama in November. Imagine Hispanics, of whom 60% voted for John Kerry in 2004, voting more than 80% Democratic in 2008. Further imagine Asians, 65% Democratic in 2004, also voting more than 80% for Obama.
It looks like it could happen, especially if the racist attacks continue.
Robert Novak, in yesterday's Washington Post said this of Colin Powel:
His tenuous 13-year relationship with the Republican Party, following his retirement from the Army, has ended. The national security adviser for Ronald Reagan left the present administration bitter about being ushered out of the State Department a year earlier than he wanted. As an African American, friends say, Powell is sensitive to racial attacks on Obama and especially on Obama's wife, Michelle.
Polls show that among Hispanics, traditionally wary of African-Americans and being too closely aligned with the Democratic Party, Obama leads McCain by more than 20 points. Geraldine Ferraro's comments about the advantages Obama enjoyed by being a minority particularly galvanized Latinos, who saw that same line of attack working equally well against a Hispanic candidate. This is a typical reaction to Ferraro's comments on a Latino blog:
…the whole implication that Obama is the front runner because he's not white really gets to the essence of her racism and stupidity. I don't think that Obama is the token minority candidate. He could not be leading in the delegate count and popular vote if he were such. And doesn't Ferraro remember Alan Keys? He's black, and he has run for president a couple times. The country wasn't caught up in "the concept" of Alan Keys. And what's with this whole "concept"? Can we not fathom having a president who isn't a WASP?
I wonder if she would have said something similar if Bill Richardson had achieved the success that Barack Obama is having. You could just as easily swap out Obama's name for Bill Richardson's in the above statement and have something as equally offensive
McCain's options for reaching out to minorities to counter these trends are limited by his need to try to hold onto the Republican party base which is already very wary of him and noticeably non-energized about his candidacy.
Remember that in 2000 and 2004 the country was pretty evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Think what taking 10% or 15% of the minority vote away from the Republicans and giving it to the Democrats does to that balance.