Ross Douthat actually seems to understand that efforts to suppress the black vote in 2012 backfired and caused higher black turnout. He also understands that future efforts to suppress black turnout will fail to fix the Republicans’ structural problems. I don’t think he is justified in arguing that the Democrats got a “gift” from the Supreme Court when they gutted the Voting Rights Act, however. All that ruling does is make it easier to do voter suppression efforts. In most cases, such efforts can now only be combatted after the fact. Suppressing votes is suppressing votes, even if the overall effect is to increase black turnout and make it more uniformly supportive of the Democratic Party.
What Douthat’s argument amounts to is a concession that Republicans will not be able to help themselves from pursuing Jim Crow policies, but that their efforts will do more harm to their long-term prospects than actually trying to vie for minority votes would do. I can’t argue with that.