STIRRETT: Demographic Shifts Shake GOP
Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 13:11
This past week, Barack Obama became the first president since Franklin Roosevelt to be re-elected with relatively high levels of unemployment. His win and the Democrats’ resounding victories are testaments to the skill of the Obama campaign as well as some long-term chances in American demographics.
Matt Yglesias had a great blog post earlier this week on how Obama actually received a lower percentage of the white vote than Michael Dukakis when he lost horribly to George H.W. Bush in 1988. Earlier this week, BuzzFeed published maps illustrating how the Electoral College would have been decided in 2012 if only certain demographic groups could vote, illustrating the extent to which the electorate has become relatively racially polarized. Meanwhile, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly remarked that the 2012 elections illustrated that the "white establishment is now in the minority."
What is clear from the election results is that the GOP is going to have to build genuinely diverse bases of electoral support. The Conservative Party of Canada has been so successful because it has been able to build meaningful relationships with ethnic minority communities.
If the GOP is to remain a party comprised primarily of white Christians, it will continue to struggle in national contests. This recent election did in many ways come down to demographics, which are making the United States become more Democratic and less Republican.
In short, if the GOP is serious about taking back the White House, it should look north to its Canadians cousins. The GOP will only prove to be electorally competitive nationally down the road if it diversifies its base of supporters.
SCOTT STIRRETT is a senior in the School of Foreign Service.