A Daunting Demographic Challenge for the GOP in 2016
Whit Ayres | Wall Street Journal | March 5, 2015
Republicans stand a slim chance of winning the presidency in 2016—unless they nominate a transformational candidate who can dramatically broaden the GOP’s appeal. That assertion may seem incongruous in light of stunning Republican triumphs in the past two midterm elections. But success in 2014 no more indicates the outcome of the 2016 presidential election than victory in 2010 foretold the presidential winner in 2012.
The continuing problem for the Republican Party is the country’s changing demographics. GOP congressional candidates won 60% of white voters in 2010 and 2014, producing landslide victories. The calculation works differently in presidential elections, however, when turnout is higher, particularly among minorities. In 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won 59% of white voters, the highest percentage of any Republican challenging an incumbent president in the history of exit polling. He won every significant white subgroup—men and women; young and old; Protestants and Catholics—often by overwhelming margins. Yet Mr. Romney still lost the election by five million votes.
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