As I explained 16 years ago during the Florida recount after the 2000 election, the reason George W. Bush was desperately hoping to win the Electoral College 271–267 was not that he had lost the nonwhite vote 77–21, but that he had won the white vote merely 54–42.
If Bush had earned 57 percent of whites, he would have captured the Electoral College 371–167.
But what if adding three more points among whites had cost Bush, say, eight points among nonwhites? Bush still would have won 310–228.
I asked in 2000:
So where could Bush have picked up an additional 3 percent of the white vote? The most obvious source: white union families.
Immigration should be the perfect issue for the GOP to use to split the rank and file from their Democratic bosses. Since union efforts cost Bush Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (at a minimum), you’d think that the GOP would be hot to win back the Reagan Democrats. Don’t count on it, though. It’s just so much more fashionable to continue to chase futilely after Hispanics.