2) There is a trade-off here. Fifteen electoral votes could still be crucial in a close election. But here’s the rub: The analyses that focus only on the potential effect among Latino voters miss half of the equation: The potential effect among white voters.
I’ve made this point before, but consider the case of Arizona. For many liberal commentators, the silver lining to the state’s immigration bill was that it presaged the eventual death of the state’s Republican Party. By alienating Latino voters, Republicans would soon find it impossible to forge winning coalitions in the state.
To be sure, Latino voters were alienated. In 2004, George W. Bush won 43 percent of that group in Arizona. Four years later, John McCain won 41 percent. In 2010, Jan Brewer pulled in a paltry 28 percent.
Yet Brewer ran ahead of both McCain and Bush overall. The key is that her policies played well with white voters. In particular, McCain captured 60 percent of whites without college degrees and 58 percent of whites with college degrees.