Former President Bill Clinton suggested on Saturday that the fall in Hispanic turnout for Democrats in 2014 was partly due to President Barack Obama’s decision to not issue an executive order on immigration.
At a Politico event with Mike Allen in Little Rock, Clinton and his former aides reminisced about the past but with a clear eye on how their decisions in the 1990s could be implemented in the future.
Clinton also handicapped the disastrous midterms for Democrats.
“There was a collapse of the youth vote, the African-American vote held fairly steady,” Clinton said. “We had a little bit of a loss of the Hispanic vote, perhaps because the President didn’t issue the immigration order. But it was a tough call for him because had he done so, a lot of others would have lost by even more. It was a difficult call.”
In September, Obama decided to postpone issuing an executive action on immigration until after November’s elections because it would be “more sustainable” then.
Clinton said the biggest problem for Democrats, who lost their majority in the Senate and fell deeper into the minority in the House, was that “the people who were against us felt more strongly than the people for us.”
The former president also suggested that a national advertising campaign that Democrats “didn’t have,” on an economic message and other issues could have “made all the difference in a couple of close races.”
Clinton’s recollections came during a celebration around the 10th anniversary of the Clinton Presidential Center. A steady stream of former campaign and administration aides were in town for a weekend that has seemed part reunion, part party and part pep rally for the future.
For the Clinton confidants in Little Rock this weekend, that future, while not expressly addressed, is Hillary Clinton’s all-but-certain presidential run in 2016.
Hillary Clinton spoke earlier in the day at an event for the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings” initiative. Unlike other events during the week that looked back at the Clinton administration, the former first lady’s event was forward looking on how to increase women’s participation in the workforce.
At the Politico event, Bill Clinton looked to the future while talking about the past by arguing that his administration “showed the importance of policy.”
“We can do this again,” he said to a room full of Hillary Clinton fans.