Some of what the Republicans said would happen actually happened. At the behest of the consultants, Romney followed the conventional wisdom, shooting for the independent vote and ignoring the blacks and Hispanics as blocs hopelessly lost to the Democrats. In the end, white Americans swung back (59 percent to John McCain’s 55), as did independents (50 percent to Mr. McCain’s 44).

But the other half of the consultants’ spell fizzled out: CNN exit polls show white turnout at 72 percent (falling two points), black turnout at 13 percent (staying even), Latino turnout at 10 percent (rising one point) and Asian turnout at 3 percent (rising one point). By party ID, Democrats fell one point, while Republicans stayed the same — hardly bridging 2008′s seven-point gap.

Here’s a terrifying idea for Republican politicians, pollsters, pundits and voters to think about: The 2012 presidential election was effectively over as quickly as it began because the Republican consulting class’ reasoning — and, thereby, entire strategy — was based on denying that 2008 ever happened.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the ethnic makeup of this land is changing, and will continue to change, just as it has since before the United States was founded. Simply put, Spanish-language ads and Facebook updates are helpful, but Republicans have a choice to either make a genuine, long-term, and concerted effort to reach out to minority voters, or to follow the consultants’ lead and find shelter in demographic delusions.

 

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