The Corner

More Fun with Demographics

Fred Barnes writes:

Another question: Do Republicans need at least 40 percent of the growing Hispanic vote to win the presidency next year? I think the answer is yes, as a study by Latino Decisions, a Hispanic polling group, found. That’s also the view of pollster Whit Ayres, author of 2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America. It’s “new” because non-whites make up a bigger share of the electorate than ever.

Ayres has also said that Republicans need to get around 30 percent of the total nonwhite vote. I agree with Barnes, Ayres, et al that Republicans should strive to get more nonwhite votes (as I said here yesterday). Naturally, on being reminded of this 40 percent target, I immediately went to the Trende/Byler demographic model for the 2016 election and started applying my history-major math.

It looks to me like getting 30 percent of the nonwhite vote would require more than just increasing Republicans’ share of the Hispanic vote to 40 or even 43 percent. They’d also have to roughly double their share of the black vote and increase their share of the Asian/other vote roughly as much as they did their share of the Hispanic vote–and they’d still need black turnout to fall a bit from 2012. Under those circumstances, though, it’s true that Republicans would win the Electoral College.

But it does not seem at all likely that Republicans will do that much better among all minorities while not doing any better among whites. (If they do better among whites, obviously, they can afford to do worse among nonwhites.) And if you’re a Republican who thinks the party has maxed out among whites and still wants to win, you should be talking about blacks and Asians at least as much as Hispanics.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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