If President Barack Obama wants to thank one group of voters for holding the line -- especially in the critical battleground states of Colorado, Florida and Nevada -- he should say "muchas gracias."
According to exit polls, Obama won an impressive 71% of the Latino vote. In many states, the percentage was higher.
Romney couldn't keep up. Having joked at a campaign fundraiser that he should have been born Latino so he'd have a smoother path to the White House, even that kind of transformation might not have been enough done the trick.
Now Latinos have a marker. And Latino activists were quick to make clear how they expect to have it paid. They want Obama to do what he didn't try very hard to do in his first term: deliver immigration reform.
Eliseo Medina, a Latino union leader, cut to the chase. "As we congratulate President Obama for winning re-election," Medina said in a statement, "we also send him and the new Congress a message: 'We expect passage of comprehensive immigration reform next year. We don't want promises; we don't want debates. We expect action.'"
Good luck with that.
The presidency didn't change hands in this election. Nor was there any change in the political reality that has kept immigration reform on the back burner all these years.
Latinos need to keep the heat on and demand what they have coming.
Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.
LZ Granderson: Romney, in the end, had no anchor
Some Republicans are going to try to sum up President Barack Obama's re-election this way: black people. Mitt Romney lost because all of the black people voted for Obama. I heard it in 2008 and heard it repeatedly this year. I sum up the president's victory this way: Michigan, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Just as I felt Al Gore was undone by not winning his home state of Tennessee, Romney was defeated because the man didn't win three states he is supposedly connected to. Not the state where he was born and raised. Not the state where he's lived and served as governor. Not even the state where he kicked off his campaign.
There is something to be said about a politician who has no place to call his political home, no core constituency. And when you think about it, Romney being defeated in this fashion makes all the sense in the world. With his cynically shifting positions, he'd been accused of having no moral anchor, and he lost every state that was supposed to be his physical anchor. Adding insult to injury, his running mate, Paul Ryan, didn't win his home state either.
Republicans of the bitter variety -- the kind who like to deface Obama campaign signs with racial epithets -- can say Romney lost because of blacks. But the truth is, when the voters who know you best don't support you, it should come as no surprise when strangers don't either.
LZ Granderson, who writes a weekly column for CNN.com, was named journalist of the year by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and is a 2011 Online Journalism Award finalist for commentary. He is a senior writer and columnist for ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter: @locs_n_laughs
Maria Cardona: GOP must turn attention to Latinos
America makes history yet again by re-electing the first African-American president after a hard-fought and often nasty campaign. So much will be debated from here on out about what happened to Mitt Romney, where he went wrong, and where he goes from here. Now will be a time for soul-searching for my Republican friends about the direction of their party and how they talk to women, young people and minorities. Especially Latinos. And for President Barack Obama, it will be a time to map a path to deliver on the promises he made to the coalition of voters who gave him a second term. Especially Latinos.
I have written many times about the power of the Latino vote and how it would be decisive in this election. And the question I would always get is: Will they come out to vote? They did. In fact, I suspect that the Latino demographic will be central in many Republican conversations about where they are going wrong as a party.
It is not as though Mitt Romney didn't know the challenge that faced him with Latinos: Some very smart people in his own party continually said that the GOP and Romney needed to take a different path when it came to Latinos. Romney showed no interest in doing so, and it seemed clear that he had written off the Latino vote early on. Instead, this would have been the time and place to employ his shape-shifting ways to woo them.
The numbers don't lie. Neither do demographics. The country has changed, and the GOP had better change with it or risk being in the minority for their own lack of minorities.
Obama, for his part, will need to work with and for the coalition of Latinos, women, young people and African-Americans that held together for him. He must deliver on the issues they care about, which are the issues he has talked about throughout the campaign and that will be a big part of his second term.
He will also need to find willing Republicans interested in working with him to solve the nation's greatest problems, among them, the need for comprehensive immigration reform. This moment of necessary GOP introspection and attention from Obama to solve the immigration issue may present the perfect storm needed to actually get something done.
Maria Cardona is a Democratic strategist, a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton and former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.