Most everybody knows that President Obama got reelected by running up the score with minorities while losing white voters by 20 points. That's great, but the Republicans (at least, the few who still reside in the real world) are now thinking they need to seriously compete for minority votes (Hispanics in particular) if they want to win elections in the future.
Probably true. And I've seen some concern trolling from Democrats about what will happen if the GOP does start winning Hispanic votes.
But... Here's what people on the left (and right) aren't thinking about. This all could just be a zero-sum game for the GOP.
The assumption seems to be that the GOP can just broaden its appeal to Hispanic voters while continuing to run up the score with white voters. Yet anecdotal evidence suggests that that might not be the case. Here in Texas, the Republicans ran a Hispanic candidate for the Senate. (Ted Cruz. You might have heard of him.) There are no exit polls available, but we do know that in heavily Hispanic counties, Cruz did perform marginally better than Romney. And that was with a Hispanic candidate who repeated the standard fare, race-baiting GOP immigration talking points -- imagine how he would have done if he actually made an effort to win Hispanic votes!
Yet, in the end, Cruz ran even with Romney in the entire state. The obvious implication is that whatever extra support Cruz got with Hispanic voters was cancelled out among white voters. (Though, an equally plausible explanation is that Democratic candidate Paul Sadler had more appeal to white Texans than Barack Obama.)
And that's the problem that the GOP has going forward. What the concern trolls ignore is how much of the GOP's dominance with white voters is directly tied into race-baiting, immigrant bashing, and dog whistles that have been standard fare since at least Reagan. The GOP can't embrace diversity to win Hispanic votes while bashing it to win white votes.
The GOP has backed itself into a corner here. We know what the white vote looks like when their choice is between a GOP that's hostile to diversity and a Democratic Party that embraces it. But what does it look like when the GOP embraces it, too?
And this is the case with other issues as well. Some GOP commentators have suggested that abortion is now an albatross for the GOP. But how do the pro-lifers vote if the GOP is also a pro-choice party? How do the homophobes vote if the GOP embraces marriage equality?
That's what the concern trolls seem to forget: if the GOP wants to broaden its appeal, they may not be able to count on the loyalty of their current voters when they do.