Saturday, January 10, 2009

Demography as destiny for the GOP

The National Journal asks what if the 2008 campaign had occurred under 1992 demographics? And what if it were run under 2020's projected demographics? The results confirm what many have long said, the GOP must broaden its appeal or it will cease to be relevant.

To grasp how powerfully demographic change is reshaping the political landscape try this thought experiment about the 2008 election.

Start by considering the electorate's six broadest demographic groups -- white voters with at least a four-year college degree; white voters without a college degree; African-Americans; Hispanics; Asians; and other minorities.

Now posit that each of those groups voted for Barack Obama or John McCain in exactly the same proportions as it actually did. Then imagine that each group represented the share of the electorate that it did in 1992. If each of these groups voted as it did in 2008 but constituted the same share of the electorate as in 1992, McCain would have won. Comfortably...

[P]itch the thought experiment forward 12 years. Imagine that the major demographic groups voted as they did in 2008, but cast a share of the vote equal to their expected share of the population in 2020. (For argument's sake, let's divide whites among college and noncollege voters in the same proportions as today.) In that scenario, Obama beats McCain by nearly 14 points -- almost twice as much as in 2008. Demography will indeed be destiny if Republicans can't broaden their reach.

Increasingly old white men are losing their electoral relevancy. Not to say that old white men don't still control most of the levers of power currently but with their relevancy slipping that too will change.

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