Lindsay Graham Can’t Count (Or Something): Whites, Not Hispanics, Key To U.S. Electoral Future
Rubiot Senator Lindsey Graham (RINO-SC) has just claimed: “It`s impossible winning the presidency getting 27 percent of the Hispanic vote, 30 percent of the Asian vote and 7 percent of the African-American vote.” GOP Strategy for 2016 Looks Deeply Unsettled, By Charles Babington, RealClearPolitics, June 23, 2013:
This is telling . A couple months ago, renowned New York Times political statistician Nate Silver put together a vote modeling system to measure the electoral effects of the current Senate Amnesty/ Immigration Surge bill. In a widely-noted column, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York pointed out that the model showed the GOP could do better in the short term with slight improvements in the white vote than with shifts of near-impossible magnitude in the Hispanic vote.[Byron York: Winning Hispanic vote would not be enough for GOP, May 2, 2013] Of course, Steve Sailer has been making this point on VDARE.com ever since the 2000 election,
In fact, Nate Silver’s model shows that, even if non-whites do continue to vote as Lindsey Graham describes, it’s still very possible for the GOP to win the Presidency—even through 2048, the GOP could win with under 70% of the white vote. (See Steve Sailer’s estimate here).
Conversely, what percentage of the Hispanic vote would Republicans need to win in 2020, if everything else remains as it was in 2012? The answer: an astonishing 75%. Winning a mere 74% of the Hispanic vote, the GOP would fall short, with the Democrats winning the Electoral College 272-266.
But a 5 point shift in the white vote—with the GOP winning nationwide the 65% of the white vote it won in Indiana in 2012—would yield a 304-234 GOP victory.
Silver set the default year at 2028, after the “13 year path to citizenship” is complete. But in that year, a mere 6 point shift in the white vote—with the GOP winning nationwide the 66% of the white vote it got in South Dakota and Virginia in 2012—would still give the it a 304-234 Electoral College victory.
Conversely, if its white vote remains at 2012 levels, GOP would have to win 76% of the Hispanic vote.
Even in 2048, a 10 point shift in the white vote , so the GOP would win nationwide the 70% of the white vote it won in Kansas and North Carolina in 2012, would give the GOP a 310-228 Electoral College victory.
If we move the white population growth up to match the black population growth, the necessary shift in the GOP’s white share drops to 6 points. If the white population growth rate moves up to match Hispanics, the GOP could win in 2048 with 61% of the white vote, a mere one point better than they did (at least according to exit polls) in 2012. If the white population growth matches the Asian rate, the GOP could actually do a point worse and still win 283-255.
Population growth rates actually have a larger effect than whether illegal aliens are amnestied. If we reset the ‘black’ and ‘Hispanic’ growth rates to match the white growth rate, the GOP only needs to win 65% of the white vote for a 290-248 victory in 2048.
What if Silver is off in his predictions of how many amnestied illegals will join the voter pool? If we quadruple the number of amnestied illegal he predicts will join the voting pool, the GOP could still win with 66% of the white vote in 2028, although a much narrower electoral margin. Even in 2048, they would need the same amount, 70%.
This may seem paradoxical—but it’s because illegal aliens are mostly concentrated in states that are already deep blue or trending Democrat, states which already have large Hispanic populations. Very few live in northern swing states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, and New Hampshire.
Yet, even if we change the model to give the Democrats 95% of the Hispanic vote, the GOP can still win with 69% of the white vote in 2028.
In 2048, it could win if it gets 80% of the white vote. This is hardly an unconceivable number: in 2012 the GOP won more than 80% of the white vote in seven states: Utah, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Even if the GOP got precisely zero votes from nonwhites, they could still win a Presidential election in 2048, under current trends including an amnesty, by winning 88% of the white vote—a figure it exceeded in some states, for example Alabama in 2008 and Mississippi, in 2012.
And it’s very likely that Nate Silver’s model actually understates the importance of the white vote. The primary reason whites made up a smaller part of the electorate than in 2008, and smaller than GOP-leaning pollsters anticipated, was because of decline in white turnout. Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende has shown that the whites who didn’t show up to vote in 2012 were largely downscale northern rural whites, people he described as H. Ross Perot voters. The decline in turnout was concentrated in a belt stretching from Maine to Michigan and down into New Mexico, covering most of the swing states of the past couple decades.
Of course, predicting elections that far into the future is difficult—who could have predicted today’s situation in 1976? Closing the Anchor Baby loophole; a serious effort to repatriate illegal aliens; changes in the birthrate due to changes in the economy or welfare system; above all a moratorium on legal immigration—any number of things could change the electoral demographics in 2048.
But one thing is certain: any guarantee of electoral doom if Republicans fail to attract Hispanics is flat out wrong.
James Ryan (email him) is an intelligence analyst who lives and works in the Washington, D.C. metro area.