Conclusion: Arizona, Rubio, or somewhere in between?
Basically, the choice the GOP has here can be summed up as whether it wants the Arizona model, what we might call the “Rubio model,” or something in between. Arizona has recently operated as something of a poster child for everything you could possibly do wrong as a Republican-governed state bordering Mexico. George W. Bush won the state by 10 points in 2004; hometown hero John McCain won by eight in 2008.
But Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, who spearheaded the state’s controversial immigration law, won by 12 points. Romney won by almost the same margin as McCain (it was a closer race nationally, but Romney didn’t have McCain’s “home team advantage”). The Hispanic vote grew, and dropped off substantially for Brewer and Romney, but it was compensated for by a surge in white support, particularly among non-college educated whites.
A similar effect is probably occurring in Texas. Even if Republicans aren’t losing ground among Hispanics (we don’t know, because we don’t have exits for 2012), the state should still be trending blue due to demographic change. But it isn’t. Romney won it by 16 points, McCain won by 12, Bush won by 23 and 21 points. When you account for changes in the national environment and Bush being a hometown governor, that actually works out to slight movement toward Republicans.
On the other hand, the GOP could go “full Rubio”: Back immigration reform, nominate a Hispanic-friendly candidate, and see what happens if Hispanic population growth slows. This approach works pretty well, even if Republicans sacrifice some progress with white voters:
I don’t mean to leave the impression that the GOP will win no matter what it does. Tweak some of these assumptions, and you get plenty of Democratic wins too. And it may not matter what the GOP chooses. The most dispiriting possibility is that racially diverse electorates may inherently add racial cleavages to otherwise “neutral” issues, and that polarization becomes inevitable. That’s certainly the experience of Northern cities during the great immigrant wave of the early 1900s, as well as of the American South.
My point is simply that there are a slew of realistic scenarios where Republicans do very well in the future. In most of the scenarios I consider reasonable, the elections stay close enough that either party could win most any individual election for the foreseeable future.
My overall view of presidential elections is that they are like giant algebra problems that suddenly simplify down to three or four variables at the end. Both sides have reasonably good arguments and appeals, run decent campaigns, nominate competent (if not outstanding) candidates and raise enough money to be heard. This end result is that this tends to cancel out.
Things like the economy, wars and incumbent fatigue create a fairly narrow playing field. The other factors, under normal circumstances, can probably move things three or four points in either direction. The fundamentals did a pretty good job predicting 2004, 2008, and 2012, without any regard to demographic shifts. I suspect this will continue in the future.
The GOP and Democrats should pursue the policies they believe are best for the country. If they govern competently, the coalitions will take care of themselves.
Clink the link and read all 3 articles.
From 2 complete readings and a cursory review of his calculations his analysis of the political future of elections in regards to the Hispanic vote seams reasonable. But this is only considering Hispanics. This same analysis that includes women and younger folks would drastically change the conclusions.