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.