Now, Byron York in the Washington Examiner: “After six months of mulling over November’s election results, many Republicans remain convinced that the party’s only path to future victory is to improve the GOP’s appeal to Hispanic voters. But how many Hispanic voters do Republicans need to attract before the party can again win the White House? A lot. Start with the 2012 exit polls.
“The New York Times’ Nate Silver has created an interactive tool in which one can look at the presidential election results and calculate what would have happened if the racial and ethnic mix of voters had been different. The tool also allows one to project future results based on any number of scenarios in which the country’s demographic profile and voting patterns change. In 2012, President Obama famously won 71% of the Hispanic vote to Mitt Romney’s 27%.”
However, the Hispanic vote was 7% of the electorate. This is not talked about much, but I think it’s kind of important. Obama and Romney split 7% of the electorate. Obama got 71% of it; Romney got 27% of it. “If all other factors remained the same, how large percentage of the Hispanic vote would Romney have had to win to capture the White House? What if Romney had won 44% of the Hispanic vote, the high-water mark for Republicans achieved by George W. Bush in 2004?”
No Republican has ever, in a presidential race, gotten more. So plug that number in. What if Romney gets 44% of the Hispanic vote — which, again, is 7% of the electorate. “As it turns out, if Romney had hit that Bush mark, he still would have lost, with 240 electoral votes to 298 for Obama. But what if Romney had been able to make history and attract 50% of Hispanic voters? What then? He still would have been beaten, 283 electoral votes to 255.” Okay, so let’s get really big here.
“What if Romney had been able to do something absolutely astonishing for a Republican and win 60% of the Hispanic vote? He would have lost by the same margin, 283 electoral votes to 255.” Okay, so let’s go all-in! Let’s give Romney 70% of the Hispanic vote. It’ll never happen. That’s what Obama got. Let’s give Romney the Obama percentage of the Hispanic vote. Let’s give Romney 70%. “Surely that would have meant victory, right? No, it wouldn’t. Romney still would have lost, although by the narrowest of electoral margins: 270 to 268.
“(Under that scenario, Romney would have won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College…) According to the Times’ calculator, Romney would have had to win 73% of the Hispanic vote to prevail in 2012.” What does this tell you? It tells me that the Hispanic vote’s not the problem, and I never have thought it’s the problem. You and I know what the Republican problem was in 2012. We just heard it late last week. It was a Pew Center poll. If the “white vote” had shown up in the same percentage and voted for Romney in 2012 as it voted for McCain in 2008, Romney would have won.
Obama got many fewer votes in 2012 than he got in 2008.
The difference-maker was, a lot of white voters stayed home.
Well, I’ll tell you.
A lot of Republicans think that white voters stayed home because conservative talk radio during the primary season demanded that Romney be a rigid, card-carrying conservative. And because the right-wing conservative talk radio host demanded that Romney be something that he wasn’t, it turned off a bunch of moderate Republicans.
That’s not what happened. What happened was — well, who can know for certain. My best guess at what happened was, why the white vote stayed home, they didn’t think the Republican Party was conservative enough, but there was also a disgust, who are these people? They’re the bitter clingers. It’s one thing to hear Obama denouncing ’em. It’s another thing to hear Republican Party going after everybody but them.
They’re listening to both candidates’ campaign, making appeals here and appeals there, making a generic economic appeal. And I think there was just a general sense of disgust or resignation, just throw their hands up in resignation. None of this relates to me, but the point is the Republicans are now accepting what the Democrats and the media are telling them, that they lost because the Hispanics don’t like ’em. The Hispanics think that you Republicans want them to go away. The Hispanics think that you Republicans want them to self-deport. And if you don’t self-deport, they think you want to kick ’em out of the country. So you Republicans, you better get with it, and you better make the Hispanics understand that you like ’em.
So the party’s doing that. They’ve got this new pathway to citizenship immigration bill. They’re saying all the right things. But, again, remember, the percentage of the electorate that was Hispanic in 2012 was 7%. Obama got 71% of it; Romney got 27%. And if you reverse that, Romney gets 70%, he still loses. The highest percentage of the Hispanic vote any Republican president’s ever got was Bush at 44. So the point of saying that even if Romney gets 70% he would still lose, it tells you that the Republican Party’s problem is not the Hispanic vote.
It goes far deeper or is far more diversified than that. No doubt about it. How else would you read this? If you give Romney 70% of the Hispanic vote and he still loses, with everything else in 2012 being the same, then what are they doing? They’re following the advice of their consultant class. They’re following what the media’s telling them.
They’re following what the Democrats are telling them, what the conventional wisdom inside the Beltway is. I found it fascinating.