In 2013, after all the votes had been counted, I was able to perform a more thorough analysis. It became apparent to me that these voters were blue-collar, rural and lived in areas with strong showings for Ross Perot. This reinforced my view that if Republicans softened their economic libertarianism and nominated the right candidate, this bloc might turn out and help the party win with only modest improvements among nonwhites.

This provoked great controversy. To this day I am a bit perplexed, as I was effectively saying to Democrats, “You were correct, the GOP has to make some changes to its approach in order to win.” Part of the backlash was plainly inspired by people who did not read the article. More importantly, my observation was expressly limited to the idea that missing whites could help the GOP win. People interpreted this as advocating for a “whites-only” GOP, which I expressly disclaimed, both in that article and in a subsequent piece.

It is far too early to say for certain, but what happened Tuesday certainly looks consistent with the missing-whites thesis.