What if Romney had won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, the high-water mark for Republicans achieved by George W. Bush in 2004? As it turns out, if Romney had hit that Bush mark, he still would have lost, with 240 electoral votes to 298 for Obama.

But what if Romney had been able to make history and attract 50 percent of Hispanic voters? What then? He still would have been beaten, 283 electoral votes to 255.

What if Romney had been able to do something absolutely astonishing for a Republican and win 60 percent of the Hispanic vote? He would have lost by the same margin, 283 electoral votes to 255.

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.)