It's not my job or interest tell the Republican (or Democratic) Party how to win elections. I'm not an analyst. But I'll make an exception and give the GOP the most amazing gift it'll ever receive, one small piece of data culled from exit polls over the past 40 years that will tell it how to beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, how to keep control of the Texas state government for the next decade, even as Hispanics become a majority, and how to keep Arizona from becoming the next Nevada or Florida.
Here is the margin of victory for the Democratic candidate with Hispanics in the last 11 presidential elections:
1976: no data
Any guesses about what happened in 2004? The title of this post was a clue: George W. Bush embraced a path to citizenship as a key component of comprehensive immigration reform. Bush got more votes in the 2004 election than any other Republican in history, about 62 million.
Some of that has to do with the country always having a larger population for each successive election, but no Republican has matched that feat sense. John McCain got about 59 million votes, and Mitt Romney about 60 million.
In light of all of this, the most damage the GOP did to itself in 2012 was probably the competition going on during the primary to see which candidate would be the best deporter-in-chief. The reflexive "minorities are all lazy non-Americans who just want free stuff" response to losing the election probably didn't help.