David Frum

05.06.13

Immigration Reform: Not a Magic Cure for the GOP

The most important article of the weekend was Byron York's astute analysis of election results to debunk the promise that immigration reform will save the Republican party. Read the article in full to absorb the news in all its starkness:

In 2012, President Obama famously won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote to Mitt Romney's 27 percent. If all other factors remained the same, how large a percentage of the Hispanic vote would Romney have had to win to capture the White House? …

According to the Times' calculator, Romney would have had to win 73 percent of the Hispanic vote to prevail in 2012. Which suggests that Romney, and Republicans, had bigger problems than Hispanic voters.

The most serious of those problems was that Romney was not able to connect with white voters who were so turned off by the campaign that they abandoned the GOP and in many cases stayed away from the polls altogether. Recent reports suggest as many as 5 million white voters simply stayed home on Election Day. If they had voted at the same rate they did in 2004, even with the demographic changes since then, Romney would have won. Likewise, the white vote is so large that an improvement of 4 points -- going from 60 percent to 64 percent of those whites who did vote -- would have won the race for Romney.