Elections are still about the broad middle class, by @DavidOAtkins

Elections are still about the broad middle class

by David Atkins

I'm not usually in the habit of highlighting articles written by conservatives in the Examiner--particularly ones designed to steel racist anti-Latino tendencies in the GOP--but Byron York nevertheless makes a point that is worth noting. Mitt Romney could have garnered 70% of the Latino vote in 2012 and still lost the election:

But what if Romney had been able to reach a mind-blowing 70 percent of the Hispanic vote? 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; he could have racked up huge numbers of Hispanic votes in California, New York and Texas, for example, and not changed the results in those states.)

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.
York does concede the obvious point that as the Latino population grows, things will only become even more problematic for the GOP. But he also notes that Romney's problem wasn't so much weakness with minority groups as weakness with the broad spectrum of middle class households among all races:

But here is the real solution. Romney lost because he did not appeal to the millions of Americans who have seen their standard of living decline over the past decades. They're nervous about the future. When Romney did not address their concerns, they either voted for Obama or didn't vote at all. If the next Republican candidate can address their concerns effectively, he will win. And, amazingly enough, he'll win a lot more Hispanic votes in the process. A lot from other groups, too.
York is doing a little whistling past the graveyard here, of course, and in the service of a terrible and bigoted cause. If Republicans fail to move forward with immigration reform, there's no chance that Latino voters will be swayed to the Republican side by other policies and arguments. Perhaps more importantly, it's not as if the ever-rightward tilt of a Republican Party that is celebrating the death of the welfare state because families will have to take care of their own is about to make any serious inroads with persuadable middle-class voters.

That said, Democrats have to be careful not to count their demographic chickens before they're hatched. If Democrats don't start doing a better job of address middle-class economic concerns instead of the deficit hysterics of the wealthy, all it will take is one charismatic Republican to erase that demographic advantage and take the presidency in 2016 and beyond.