In the aftermath of the presidential election, so much has been written about how Republican Mitt Romney alienated Latino voters with his conservative anti-immigrant stance that it is just assumed all he had to do was embrace comprehensive immigration reform to have won.
Romney himself made it seem like a certain conclusion that he would have won with the Latino vote with comments like the private one he made to wealthy contributors—and which later was made public—that he’d have an easier road to being elected president if only he were Hispanic.
And, of course, Romney’s lousy showing among Latinos at the polls would seem proof that the Hispanic vote had cost him the election. President Barack Obama carried the Latino vote by an unprecedented 44 percent over Romney.
Then there have been all those Republicans running as fast as they could from Romney himself, including many who have said that the GOP needs to become more inclusive—needs to soften its immigration stance and open its arms to Hispanics.
But it’s sobering what we start seeing as even a small amount of time passes and with the new realization that sets in when voting numbers are examined without the intoxication of emotion.
At the Harvard Institute or Politics, a dissection of the presidential race made public this week provided new insight into a number of things, not the least of them being the role of the Latino vote in the making of the president.
In some places votes are still being counted, of course, but it appears that Obama’s margin is going to be around 50.9 percent to Romney’s 47.3 percent.
Mitt Romney needed 4.5 million more Latino votes
According to the number crunchers at the Harvard forum, for Romney to have overtaken Obama in the popular vote through the Hispanic vote alone, the former Massachusetts governor would have had to carry 4.5 million more Latino votes over what he actually got.
If Romney had done that, it would have given him 7.9 million Hispanic votes out of the 12 million plus Latino votes cast—or 63 percent of the country’s Hispanic vote.
That 63 percent Is 36 points above the Hispanic share of the vote Romney received, and it would have been something not even George W. Bush achieved in winning what is generally believed to be the biggest bundle of Latino votes ever by a Republican presidential nominee.
The figures coming out of Harvard also suggest it wouldn’t be any easier for the Hispanic vote to have made a difference in the all-important Electoral College. In a state like California, with the largest number or Hispanics, the state is so one-sided Democratic that the Latino vote alone wouldn’t have been able to shift the tide.
The second largest number of Hispanics are in Texas, which Romney carried. In swing states with a growing number of Latinos, their share is so small that even an unrealistic 90 percent going for Romney might not have made a difference.
In a way, this is even worse news for Republicans than thinking that the Latino vote cost them the election. The youth vote was just as one-sided in voting for Obama, as were women, African Americans and Asian Americans.
Hispanics were simply leading the parade.