In the ’64 presidential campaign, Goldwater carried Alabama by 77 percent of the white vote and swept the white vote in the rest of the Deep South by a similar landslide, 71 percent.The hinges of history are hung backward in the Deep South. The doors opened inward to Goldwater in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, welcoming him into the Balkans of America with its never-forgotten history and prejudices.Almost 50 years later, a solid base of support among Southern whites is one of the Republican Party's most reliable voting blocs.
As Republicans are feeling pressure to support immigration reform as a way to expand their base, a fresh analysis is arguing differently. It goes something like this: Republicans need to gain more white voters, not adapt in ways that will appeal to voters who aren't white
Writing for the New Republic, Nate Cohn adds his analysis to that conclusion.
There is indeed room for the GOP to improve among white voters, but there’s no reason to think it won’t be painful, too. If Republicans don’t want to compromise on immigration reform, they will probably need to do something else to make up ground. It could be moderating on social issues or economics—or a little bit of both. Either way, the GOP will have to pick its poison.