Pundits of every stripe last night were discussing the
massive turnout of Latinos and the undisputed view that these voters made the
difference for the President. About 10% of the electorate was Latino, compared
to 9% in 2008, a difference of about 1.3 million people. And the support for
the President was up 4% from 2008, so that meant another 500,000 or so votes
for Obama. That's just under the current popular vote margin the President has
over Mitt Romney.


It's hard to see how a Republican will ever win the White
House again unless Latinos or other minorities are brought in to the GOP tent.
White voters constituted the smallest percentage of the electorate - just 72% -
ever recorded in a presidential race. If the GOP can't win in a bad economy,
and with general agreement that the white population's percentage of the
general electorate shrinking, it is hard to see this problem getting better on
its own.


That's why many believe the GOP has no choice but to support
an immigration reform package. Some key quotes compiled by America's Voice:


David Gergen on CNN: I am quite optimistic whoever wins will
get immigration reform. The Democrats want it and the Republicans now need it."


Chuck Todd on NBC: "The story of this election is
demographics. The Republican Party have not kept up with the changing face of
America...The Republican Party has serious soul-searching to do." He also said on
MSNBC: There are some things where it's the Party's fault, not Romney's fault,
but in the case Romney said 'no, no, no, I'm going to make my conservative
stand on immigration."


Fox's Brit Hume: "The Republican party's going to have to
ask itself if the hardline position that Mitt Romney assuredly took during the
primary season to try to win this election -- he took a hardline position on
immigration -- is in the long run a winning position for them.  Karl Rove and George H.W. Bush never thought
so, and others don't think so, as well. And so when they're saying 'Well, Mitt
Romney wasn't conservative enough' as some certainly will say, you have to
point to that issue as one that might be a short-term and a long-term loser for
them, politically."


Fox's BrianKilmeade: "The problem is for Republicans, less
and less white voters every year...we have got to talk about what the next four
years will look like. And I think immigration reform will be front and center."


David Gregory tweeted: "Romney personally appealed to Senate
leaders to pass immigration reform a year before he began his campaign. Demo
probs not new."


Paul Begala tweeted: "& 2014 &nd 2016
&...MT@feldmike Hispanic voters will play a decisive roll in election 2012.
Demographic trends undeniable."


Ari Fleischer said on CNN: "The big issue Republicans are
going to have to wrestle with is the Hispanic issue...with immigration, the
Republicans are going to have to figure out a different way forward."


And the Wall Street Journal editorial page: "Perhaps most
damaging, Mr. Romney failed to appeal more creatively to minority voters,
especially Hispanics. His single worst decision may have been to challenge
Texas Governor Rick Perry in the primaries by running to his right on
immigration. Mr. Romney didn't need to do this given that Mr. Perry was clearly
unprepared for a national campaign, and given the weakness of the other GOP
candidates. (Tim Pawlenty had dropped out.) 
Mr. Romney missed later chances to move to the middle on immigration
reform, especially Senator Marco Rubio's compromise on the Dream Act for young
immigrants brought here by their parents. This created the opening for Mr.
Obama to implement the core of the Dream Act by executive order, however
illegally, and boost his image with Hispanic voters.  The exit polls show that Mr. Romney did even
worse among Hispanics than John McCain in 2008, and we may learn in coming days
that this was the margin in some swing states. The GOP needs to leave its
anti-immigration absolutists behind."


Former GOP Party Chair Michael Steele on MSNBC: "For the
Republican Party, you know what our new reality is? Every month, 50,000
Hispanics turn 18 years old. That's 600,000 Hispanic youth every year. Do you
really think this party wants to spend the rest of the next 15, 20, 50 years in
the political desert? If not, then you have to get with the new reality."


There has been some disagreement over what voters generally
want to see happen. The question of immigration was raised in the major exit
poll conducted by the networks. 28% of respondents were in favor of a tough
immigration policy emphasizing deportation of illegally present immigrants. But
nearly two thirds favored offering such immigrants a path to a legal status in
the US.  Of course, the anti-immigrant
Federation for American Immigration Reform produced its own exit poll claiming
just the opposite - that 52% of respondents want tougher immigration laws
compared to 31% favoring a legalization policy. Judge for yourself. But I'd put
this up there in the same level of reliability as all of those internal polls
that said Mitt Romney would win in a landslide.