Yet particularly on immigration reform, Texas has emerged as one potent example of how Republican ideologies can not only coexist, but thrive in a diverse population, including huge numbers of legal and illegal Hispanics.
One major example: Mr. Perry won reelection in 2010 in part by winning 38 percent of the Hispanic vote, at a time when Perry – who in most ways is more conservative than Romney – had thrown his lot in with the tea party.
The Texas example shows that "it's possible to conceive of a Republican party that includes conservatives but doesn't pander to nativists," writes Texas Monthly's Erica Grieger, the author of the upcoming book "Big, Hot, Cheap and Right: What America can learn from the strange genius of Texas."
"Republicans don't need to win the Hispanic vote to win an election, even in a majority-minority state like Texas,” she writes. “They just need to stop losing it so aggressively."
Of course it's easy for Texas Republicans to ballyhoo their inroads with the Hispanic voting demographic. After all, the state was carved out of Mexico, and Anglo and Hispanic cultures are culturally, economically and socially intertwined, much more so than in states that have seen more recent migrations of undocumented immigrants like Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
But in modern times, politicians like former Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Mr. Perry have supported pro-immigration legislation, including, in Perry's case, a DREAM Act that helped illegal immigrant kids go to college. Texas Republicans have also been careful to use inclusive language, as in the case of Bush, spoken in Spanish.