Byron York

The bottom line is that even if Romney had made historic gains among Hispanic voters, he still would have lost the election. That means Romney underperformed among more than just Hispanic voters. And that means winning more Hispanic votes is far from the GOP's only challenge.

Then there is the question of what motivates Hispanic voters. “They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example),”columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote Nov. 8. “The principal reason they go Democratic is the issue of illegal immigrants.” Krauthammer urged Republicans to accept amnesty for illegals, accompanied by a completed border fence.

Some other conservatives echoed Krauthammer's sentiments. But social scientist Charles Murray looked across a broad range of data and found little to support the notion that Hispanics are natural Republicans. Hispanics “aren't more religious than everyone else ... aren't married more than everyone else ... aren't more conservative than everyone else,” Murray wrote. In addition, Hispanics don't work harder than other groups and are only slightly more pro-life than the rest of the population.

The available data, Murray concluded, “paint a portrait that gives no reason to think that Republicans have an untapped pool of social conservatives to help them win elections.”

In addition, exit poll information suggests Hispanics voted on a number of issues beyond illegal immigration -- and those issues favored Democrats. A majority of Hispanics who voted Nov. 6 favored keeping Obamacare. A majority favored higher taxes for higher earners. A majority -- two-thirds, in fact -- said abortion should be legal.

None of this is to say the GOP shouldn't seek more Hispanic votes. There are opportunities; for example, Romney made significant inroads among Hispanic voters with college degrees. But the fact is, Republicans had a serious problem with lots of voters, as well as potential voters who didn't go to the polls. The Hispanic vote was just part of it.

Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner