Zakaria: The Republican Party’s demographics problem
March 20th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Zakaria: The Republican Party’s demographics problem

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

The Republicans have a powerful case to make in the general election: The economy remains bad; the recovery is weak; unemployment is very high. Republican candidates for president could make the argument that Barack Obama has been in charge of this economy for three years and that the slow economy is his responsibility.

They could also make the argument that Obama’s vision of the role of government in the economy is wrong - that their approach would be much more friendly to the private sector and to business.

These are all very plausible arguments and, as an experienced businessman, Mitt Romney is the perfect candidate to make them.

But I see a demographic problem for the Republicans. They are alienating too many large groups to be viable - at least in the long run. A recent Pew poll shows Obama with an 18-point advantage over Mitt Romney with women because of the recent discussions about contraception and abortion.  Polls show Latinos supporting President Obama 6-to-1 over Mitt Romney. African Americans poll something like 9-to-1 in Obama’s favor.

So if you lose blacks, women, Latinos (and Republicans have probably already lost Arab and Muslim Americas), what are you left with? You can’t win a general election with the angry, white, male vote.  That’s clearly a core vote for the Republican Party but it’s not going to be enough.

Serious people within the Republican Party like Jeb Bush have made this point repeatedly. Yet the dynamics of the Republican Party are driving it in that direction.

Part of the reason for this is that the party is increasingly a Southern party reflecting the region’s concerns and passions. It is also, increasingly, a party run by the grassroots and not by the establishment.  So maybe this is an unstoppable phenomenon, but when you look at long-term demographics, it’s tough to see how you construct a majority adopting this policy.

soundoff (520 Responses)
  1. jay brown

    Read through some of the posts, scrolled through some. Most seem extreme to one side or the other. The real problem is that almost everyone is to worried about their issues and screw everyone else. Why don't we talk about career politicians, or people voting by way of what there told by someone else, instead of for their own research. I don't really care what news they watch, or who's books they read, or can't read, what color, what they wear, what body parts they have, or don't have. If people voted with their brains, rather than their emotions things would be way better. It would also help if we could vote for someone with good points instead of the lesser of two evils. In reality being the president has to be one of the worse jobs in the world. Heres a news flash, anyone who wants the job might just be on a power trip. Hmmm? Theres a thought for you. Think hard.

    March 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  2. Megan Grawe

    Obama is the most devicive president in U.S. history and is solely responsible for creating the TEA party, by addind more than 1/2 to our national debt! He has literally polarized ever cocievable political group on the left, right and in the middle! He can't win on the issues and people like Zakaria are looking more and more desperate as the perilous November election looms closer for the Democrats demise! The Democrats produced the 2 most expensive governments in the history of humanity which are the 110th and 111th all Democratic controlled congresses and have no excuses that they can offer to a beleagured middle-class they are destroyiong in response! ...there days are numbered!

    March 22, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
    • blucorsair

      You have made some great points! Obama has devalued the dollar and for the first time in many years Canadian dollars are now worth more than U.S. dollars. Currently there is a glut or over abundance of oil on the market, but prices continue to skyrocket! Canada and Mexico and not the middle-east, are our largest suppliers of imported oil and we're seeing these price increases at the pump and in the grocery store due to this devaluation and bond down-grades. Obama is definitely destroying the middle class by spending us out of existence! You can't expect to add as you put it, 1/2 or $5 trillion to the national deficit in less than 3 years and expect everything to be okay! are also correct that Obama created the TEA party with the most expensive government in creation simply, because he and the 111th congress are the only ones that you can blame! ...OMG! (Obama Must Go!)

      March 22, 2012 at 2:07 am | Reply
  3. David Marriott

    That's funny! I guess it's fair to say that if it wasn't for our "spend thrift" president , the TEA party would not have been created. The Democrats will despise Obama for destroying their party for generations, because of what he has done. Nobody forced Obama to open "pandora's box" ($5 trillion to the deficit), he did that all by his little lonesome! ...OMG!=OBAMA MUST GO!!!!!!

    March 22, 2012 at 3:42 am | Reply
  4. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    Yes. The GOP have their heads up their asses.

    March 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  5. Alex

    If Republicans have a demographic problem, then explain the following:
    1) Republicans hold more House seats (242) than they have ever had since the 1940s.
    2) Republicans control 30 of the 50 governorships.
    3) Republicans control nearly 60% of the state legislative bodies (57 R to 39 D). 1952 was the last time Republicans had this much control over state legislatures.
    4) There are more individual Republican state legislators now than at any point since the 1928 election.

    Republicans control a higher percentage of the House membership, state legislatures, and governships than Obama won as a percentage of the popular vote.

    Some positive signs for the Republican party are their strong vote among the elderly who represent a growing contingent of the American public as the baby boomer generation retires and lives longer. The white vote, which will remain the largest voting group for a long time, is becoming increasingly Republican. Around 60% of seniors and whites voted for a Republican House member.

    Demographics can change, but political parties adapt to the times as well. That's how the Democrats won elections in 2006 and 2008 and Republicans won in 2010. Being out of power makes political parties focus on winning back the voter. Having power makes the party in power arrogant and less responsive to voters.

    March 23, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply
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  7. newshead12

    Hispanics and Blacks are actually socially conservative. But the GOP immigration and healthcare policies have turned them off.

    April 15, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  8. Mystery

    The Republican Party is the party of white old farts.

    September 2, 2012 at 2:13 am | Reply
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