Eric Cantor (R-VA), incoming Republican Whip, gives the same tired and canned response on why republicans are failing to reach out to minorities, becoming more and more a homogeneous group of like-minded, mainly white conservatives. Cantor says they'll reach out by appealing to economic concerns like "the diminution of their 401-K's", lowering taxes, and all the other red herrings that don't answer why people of color, and whole regions of the country are moving away from the republicans in droves. It's doubtful chanting "Tax cuts! Tax cuts! Tax cuts!" will make the Republicans a more inclusive party.
According to exit polling, these groups voted for Obama:
- 95% of African Americans
- 67% of Hispanics
- 62% of Asians
Now if population and demographics were a static thing the republicans might have a reasonable and viable strategy with this approach. McCain did win the popular vote among White people, and did really well among White people over 65 (68%). Unfortunately for them time is not on their side. Those aged 18-29 voted for Obama by over thirty points, which is itself an ominous sign for the future, if you're a republican.
Consider the Hispanic vote alone. After all the anti-immigrant vitriol of the past couple of years the Republicans are pushing away a group which should be at least somewhat inclined to vote for them. And what happened this year? As conservative columnist Linda Chavez put it, Ask the 14 out of 16 hard-line, anti-immigration Republicans who lost their seats this time around to pro-comprehensive reform Democrats how well this worked at the polls. And then consider that by 2050 Hispanics will double in their share of the U.S. population, from 15% to 30%, or in raw numbers nearly tripling from 46.7 million to 132.8 million in 2050. Overall, minorities will become the majority.
None of this can be news for Republicans so they must see the hand-writing on the wall. What is amazing is that they seem incapable or unwilling to do anything about it. Sure, we might see Michael Steele head the RNC as some kind of figurehead African American, or Louisiana Governor Piyush "Bobby" Jindal gain some level of national prominence but what does it say about a national party that has no African American members in their caucus? Or that in the largest "minority" group of them all, women, the figures of most prominence among House Republicans are the likes of a Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, Jean Schmidt, and until recently Marilyn Musgrave. And even more potently the new face of the Republican Party herself, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Or consider the regional shifts where there are now no Republican congressmen left in New England, their last holdout Chris Shays in Connecticut succumbing to the inevitable by his support of the Bush administration. In New York State there are only 3 of the 29 members.
None of this bodes well for the Republicans.