Though much has been made of the generational gap, it’s really hard to separate that from the racial dynamics. Romney won the white 18-29 vote. I need to look further into it, but I think the larger issue could be the different composition of that age group.
This has ramifications for the gender gap as well. Though women vote more than men among all races, the difference is more pronounced among minority groups. And the difference between minority men and minority women in voting patters exceeds that of white men and white women (9-10% for minorities, 6% for whites). So the race problem is a women problem and vice-versa.
Speaking of which, it speaks volumes that at a time when anti-abortion sympathies have never been higher, and that the Democrats are pushing the envelope to the left, the Republicans still lost the issue in the overall.
A lot of the advice the GOP is getting is bunk. Especially by people with no vested interest in the GOP’s fortunes who would mostly like the GOP to nominate better candidates for them to vote against. The party would be wise to ignore a lot of it. I do hope that conservatives resist the urge to ignore all of it.
I agree with Elias on his closing point about the GOP’s situation not being too dire, but I also disagree with it. On the one hand, a 52/48 nation isn’t the worst place to start from. I also think that at least a part of the significant shift of Hispanics and Asian-Americans to Obama might be not unrelated to the man as much as anything. It remains very uncertain as to whether their next nominee will be able to pull it off. On the other hand, the Republicans simply can’t go forward with the assumption that will happen. Also, the dynamic of people getting more conservative as they age is about to get tested for a variety of reasons.
Because, in addition to the other demographic challenges the GOP is looking at, that fewer people are getting married and having children is yet another. It’s a little too convenient for me (a proponent of SSM) to believe that gay marriage and gay adoption may tighten the wide gap in the gay vote, but I’ll choose to believe it anyway.
With the exception of the introductory conversation, I tried to keep my part of the conversation forward-looking rather than gripey. If I’d been more gripey, I’d have gone to the bat more for Chris Christie and have said that the GOP response to him post-election is a part of the problem.
I didn’t spend as much time as I might have liked talking about regionality and such, but one of the reasons that Chris Christie is important even though he’ll never be a national player is that the party needs regional ambassadors and needs people who are uncomfortable with the party’s core to be able to say “I’m a [Chris Christie/Tom Campbell/etc.] Republican” and feel that they have a place in the party.
One of the more interesting aspects of the “Republicans Got It Wrong” aspect is that one of those Republicans was Karl Rove. Rove, whatever you think of the man’s moral compass, was exactly the sort of coalition-minded person that while he was in the game rather than announcing it would have been keeping an eye on a lot of the numbers that the Republicans (including Rove) missed. He would have been the one to say “Mr. Governor, you’re going to lose tomorrow.” I remember back in 2000-04 it was Rove and the RNC that was ramping up its numbers base. They do need that back, in whatever form.
One of my bigger fears is that the Republican Party will determine that the easiest path to victory is with a marginal increase in the white vote. I don’t think it would work, and I’d hope it doesn’t work, but I can’t say that it wouldn’t. A softening of their views on economic issues could yield dividends in the midwest that will keep the GOP competitive for as long as it takes for its architects to cash out at least. There are reasons this might work, though it’d ultimately be disastrous for the country.
George W. Bush did reasonably well among Hispanics and Asian-Americans. A lot of conservatives looked at this and said “See, despite all he did, he still didn’t win them” and determined they’ll never vote Republican and that they shouldn’t bother trying (the above Sailer strategy, with less sharp edges). If nothing else, this election should demonstrate that even if you can’t win them, it’s not unimportant to mitigate the losses. The alternative is minorities that are not only voting against you, but are fired up.
Having said all that, I can’t fully disagree with those (Tim? Tom?) who talked about how the GOP shouldn’t overreact to this loss. They do need to stop digging, but they have four years until the next presidential election and a lot of time to test various ideas.
One thing I would have liked to talk about more is candidate recruitment. It’s hard to say what the party can and should do here at least at the state level. I mean, they didn’t choose Akin and they didn’t choose Mourdock. It’s easy to talk about how they should take more control over the process, but if they had been successful Rand Paul and Marco Rubio wouldn’t be senators. A whole lot of the candidate backlash is due to the fact that the establishment was choosing lousy candidates. So I suppose that would be a good place to start.
I say all of this with, perhaps, a foot out the door. I’m really not sure what the future holds for me as a voter. But I have, over the years, actually invested more time in the Republican Party than a lot of people who would call me a traitor or a RINO. If I ever officially cast my lot with the other side, it will have been as a last resort.
The issues with conservative media are so immense that I would have to save that for another post, if I want to breach that egg at all.