As I pointed out on TP Ideas last Thursday, the new Census voting data show that the GOP’s problem in 2012 was not “missing white voters”, but rather the ongoing march of demographic change. In fact, if we want to talk about missing voters, it makes more sense to talk about missing Latino voters.
Latino turnout lagged white turnout by a very substantial 16 points (48 percent vs. 64 percent). These missing voters are helping the GOP at this point, blunting the impact of demographic change on Republican electoral fortunes. But that might not last forever: this gap represents a potential tranche of votes which, if tapped by successful mobilization efforts, could make GOP’s situation much worse than it already is.
How much worse? Reid Wilson at National Journal did the math, using census data to show how many additional Hispanic votes would be generated by state if Hispanic turnout matched white turnout:
Of course, Obama won anyway in 2012, even with all these missing Hispanic votes. But in closer elections, they could be critical. Perhaps one day, mobilizing these Hispanic voters might play a significant role in turning Texas purple, Arizona blue and Colorado and Nevada even bluer.
Maybe instead of worrying about missing white voters, Republicans should start worrying about missing Hispanic voters. And what might happen if they started showing up.