GOP’s political strategy of relying almost exclusively on white (racist) voters has reached a dead end.
Tuesday’s results made it blindingly obvious that the GOP’s political strategy of relying almost exclusively on white voters already has reached a dead end. As expected, white turnout was 72%, according to exit polls, two points down from 2008, and is projected to be two points lower in 2016. The GOP’s bet on a kind of white identity politics — which dates back to Ronald Reagan’s successful 1966 run for governor in California and was ruthlessly perfected by Richard Nixon in 1972 — is played out.
Meanwhile, what the National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein calls the Democrats’ “coalition of the ascendant” is growing by about the same amount every four years. This coalition includes minorities, young voters and women (especially single women), along with highly educated white professionals.
As they pore over election returns, expect GOP strategists to look especially ruefully at Latino voters. Obama won them by 71% to 27%, according to exit polls, improving on his 2008 performance. Assuming that Latinos would focus mainly on their economic struggles and ignore the GOP’s harshly anti-immigrant stance, proved to be a major miscalculation.
A conservative governing philosophy centered on exploiting white voters’ sense of cultural dispossession is a formula for political marginalization, if not demographic suicide. Any honest post-mortem of the 2012 election should lead Republican strategists to this inescapable conclusion: It’s the ideology, stupid.