“It comes down to swing states and small margins. Hispanic voters are going to be swing voters in these very important states,” including Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and North Carolina, she said.
Those are the very places some party strategists, activists and immigration experts argue Republicans will have the biggest challenge.
With regard to North Carolina, this is something we normally hear from the Democratic side, so it's interesting to hear it from a Republican. I've written before about how the Latino electorate in North Carolina is currently tiny, and the real key for Democrats in this swing state with small margins is to get African Americans to come out rather than stay home.
However, the future Latino vote will definitely matter a lot. For the GOP it actually makes political sense to campaign now as if it represented a swing vote. Heated talk of immigration will hurt him and the Republican Party, but will help him relatively little.
Why? Because the 2012 presidential election will be won or lost largely on the economy. Assuming Mitt Romney is the candidate, then President Obama will definitely go after him on immigration--he also wants to make sure Latinos don't just stay home--but that's not the heart of either campaign.
Romney, though, has only a short time horizon, and doesn't care about 2016 or 2020. The question will be whether he does believe that Latinos might represent a swing vote in North Carolina now. We'll have to wait and see what tone he brings.