'Obama needs cojones to confront Washington gridlock'

With Obama winning a second term, he has nothing to lose now that he’s not fighting for reelection. He must have the courage to pass progressive legislation in America, Asia Times Roving correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT.

But the animosity and the bitterness between both parties is absolutely astonishing. Ten administrations in a row couldn’t solve this riddle, Escobar said.

Still, 71 percent of Latino voters felt that Obama was the best man for the job. And those votes played a crucial role in his reelection, Escobar explained.

Escobar spoke to RT about the importance of the Latino vote in US politics and his expectations for Obama’s second term.

RT: What do you think played the crucial role for Obama to secure a second term?

Pepe Escobar: I’ll give you one word: Latinos. For the past three or four weeks, I’ve been in the southwestern US. I’ve driven more than 6,000 miles over six states. Obama won four of these states – California, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. Arizona is going to soon be a blue state. So Romney won in Arizona and Utah. In most of these states, the Latino vote is absolutely crucial. I talked to Latinos from welders of vintage cars to Rockabilly tattoo guys, to businessmen to entrepreneurs and art gallery owners in Santa Fe and everybody was telling me the same thing – the way the Republicans tried so hard to disenfranchise poor voters, black voters, student voters and Hispanic voters most of all.

The Latino community in all of these states and all across the US took it really hard. They were not understood as essential to the progress and for the wellbeing of the future of America. So 71 percent of Latinos all over the US voted Democratic and voted Obama. This was the key to the victory from the beginning. And the Republicans never saw it coming because they never knew how to address the burgeoning Latino population all across the US.

RT: There was a lot of negativity during the campaign. Do you think the Democratic President will be able to work effectively with the Republicans? Or are we in for further deadlock over new legislation?

I watched Obama’s acceptance speech. Those beautiful words and that golden rhetoric of 2008 came back all over again – equal opportunity for all, the aspirations of hope. But the gridlock in Washington is so entrenched. And the animosity and the bitterness between both parties is absolutely astonishing. Not even ten administrations in a row will be able to get this riddle solved. I think it’s very, very difficult. He’s going to try to go for it now because it’s his second term. He has nothing to lose. He’s not fighting for reelection…Cojones means ‘balls’ in Spanish. Obama must have the balls to confront the gridlock in Washington and pass progressive legislation in America.

RT: If the third-party candidates were given access to the media to present their ideas, do you think we'd still see the same results as we do today?

These were two billion-dollar campaigns fighting each other. And a lot of people that I talked to all across the southwest told me the same thing – and I talked to a lot of non-voters. Part of that army of 90 million Americans who did not vote. And they said the same thing – this is a one-party system. Alternative views are simply not accepted. Independent party candidates don’t stand a chance against a billion-dollar machine.