Mike Huckabee and the Minority Vote.

Mike Huckabee hasn't made up his mind about another run for president, but he is confident about his appeal to "ethnic" voters:

The real question for me is, do I get through the nomination process? I feel better about getting through the general election if I were the nominee. I think I would be one of the best at drawing real contrasts with President Obama. A lot of the polls show I do exceptionally well, far better than any Republican candidate, with my support with women. I got a significant vote from African-Americans when I was governor--I got 28 percent of the African-American vote in my state, and very few Republicans are able to do that. I'm not suggesting I could do that in a national election, especially against Obama, but I would have a much better opportunity to bring in ethnic voters than most Republicans.

I actually think this is true, for the simple reason that Huckabee knows how to talk about poverty and other issues that disproportionately affect minorities in a way that evades most Republicans. At the Values Voter Summit this year, Huckabee spoke passionately about poverty, citing recent statistics and noting that it costs more to put a person in prison for a year than it does to pay for their college education. Granted, he speaks from a conservative frame, but it resonates with a lot of people, minorities included.

I'm not sure that Huckabee could draw many African American or Latino votes from Obama, but I can easily imagine a scenario where he outperforms Republicans among minorities against a white opponent. Of course, odds are slim that he'll end up the nominee in 2012, to say nothing of the fact that he'd be facing Obama. Still, it's something to think about.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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