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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Sotomayor Pick May Seal FL for Obama in ’12

Turns out that President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to be the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice could be a stroke of political genius — because there is a good chance it may end the GOP’s hopes of winning Florida’s electoral votes in 2012.
So writes Bill Pascoe in his CQPolitics article “Did Obama Just Use the Sotomayor Nomination To Lock in Florida?” As Pascoe says,

In the 15 presidential elections going back to 1952 — of which Republicans have won nine, and Democrats six — Florida was part of the winning GOP coalition in each of the party’s nine national victories…In fact, one has to go all the way back to 1924 to find the last time the GOP won the presidency without winning Florida.

Even more interesting, it’s not all about Cuban-Americans being sympathetic to an Hispanic nominee:

…While everyone knows of Florida’s huge Cuban-American population, how many outside of Florida know of the massive influx of Puerto Ricans that has taken place over the last decade and a half?…According to the 1990 census, Florida was home to 241,000 Puerto Ricans. A decade later, that number had swelled to 482,000. And by 2007, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund estimated that 650,000 of them lived in Florida — most of them in central Florida, along the I-4 Corridor that is the political fault line in statewide contests.
According to that same Pew Hispanic Center study, 393,000 of them were registered to vote….The ongoing Puerto Rican migration to Florida is so huge that it may well be the case that by the time of the next presidential election in 2012, Puerto Ricans make up the largest Hispanic voting segment in Florida.

And if Obama needs a good surrogate to remind Hispanic Floridians of the Sotomayor nomination when 2012 rolls around, her mother, Celina Sotomayor, who lives in Margate just north of Miami, would do nicely.

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