This will probably sound a little odd if you were watching TV on election night 2012. Romney won 59% of the white vote in exit polls, better than President Bush’s 58% in 2004. Unfortunately for Romney, the white share of the electorate declined from 79.2% to 73.7 % over the same period. The result: Obama won by an even bigger margin than Bush did thanks to blowout margins with minorities.
But conservative commentators are convincing themselves they can find a few million more whites tucked between the couch cushions–at least enough for one more election. Two columnists have been particularly influential in this regard. Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics has argued that census data shows about 5 million mostly poor and rural white voters were “projected” to vote in 2012 based on population growth and past turnout but didn’t show up to the polls. Byron York, a columnist at the Washington Examiner, published a related piece noting that Romney would have lost even if he had racked up a majority of Latino voters.
“Recent reports suggest as many as 5 million white voters simply stayed home on Election Day,” York wrote in May. “If they had voted at the same rate they did in 2004, even with the demographic changes since then, Romney would have won.”
The problem is there’s no way Romney would have won all 5 million of those whites, so Obama’s lead would have held. But if Obama had failed to replicate his 2008 performance with minority voters and Romney had matched Bush’s 2004 performance with whites, the GOP could have narrowly prevailed. This was the exact scenario Romney was shooting for.
So yes, expect Republicans to be even more racists towards minorities over the next 41 months.