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Why demographic shifts spell doom for the GOP (unless it changes)

Populations changes don’t have to be disastrous for Republicans, if they can increase their appeal to nonwhite voters. But at the moment, that isn’t happening. 

If demography is destiny then the Republican Party, as currently constituted, faces doom or, as Chris Cillizza puts it in a strong post for the Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog, disaster.

You’ve heard these basic facts before. Republicans do well, generally, among white voters, but badly among blacks, Latinos and Asians. White voters make up a majority of the electorate but it is a shrinking majority that is headed for minority status in the future America that will be “majority minority,” or to put it a little more clearly, a future America in which whites will still be the largest racial group in the country but no longer a majority in the mix with blacks, Latinos, Asians and other smaller racial/ethnic groups.

Cillizza’s post includes a breakdown of the four main racial groups, broken down by age. Whites still make up a majority of the two oldest age groups, baby boomers (now aged 50-68) and the “greatest” generation, now 69 and older. But in all the younger age groups, nonwhites are a growing majority and all those nonwhite groups are overwhelmingly Democratic in their voting behavior. 

Cillizza’s Post post (I did that on purpose) is headlined “The coming Republican disaster in one stunning chart,” and, as you might surmise, a chart is included that breaks down the four major population groups by age.

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This doesn’t have to spell doom for Republicans, if they can increase their appeal to nonwhite voters. No duh. But at the moment, that isn’t happening. After winning among white voters but losing (among all voters) the last two presidential elections, and recognizing the trends, the Republican grand poohbahs developed a plan to make their party friendlier to at least the fast-growing Latino population. But, in case you hadn’t noticed, that plan isn’t going well, at least so far this year.

By the way, when the politics of the three biggest nonwhite racial ethnic groups are discussed, the Asian-American vote usually gets the least attention but it has undergone the biggest shift in the recent past. As reflected by a powerful graphic in this analysis, as recently as the 1992 presidential election, the Republican ticket crushed the Democratic ticket, and Republican won the Asian vote in 1996, but by a smaller margin. Starting in 2000, Democrats started carrying this demographic and by wider margins every cycle. In 2012, the margin was Dem 73 percent, Repub 26. This reflects not only the growing surge of the Democratic dominance among nonwhite voters, but also how fast things have been changing.