To Avoid Another ‘Autopsy,’ GOP Must Respond to Demographic Changes

Communications Associate

April 26, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Demographics, past experience and poll results bode ill for Republicans.

An unyielding anti-immigrant narrative is at cross-purposes with demographic shifts long under way, and it will not do the GOP any favors when it comes to the general election.

“A generation ago, Latino Americans were concentrated in California, Texas, and Chicago. They are now spread nationally. In states such as Colorado, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia, non-Cuban Hispanic voters could tip a race,” writes Edward Luce in the Financial Times. “All the signs are that Hispanic groups are determined to make that a reality in 2016.”

That possibility should come as no surprise.

“[These] basic demographic facts are why the 2012 Republican autopsy recommended that the party find a way to be for some form of comprehensive immigration reform,” Chris Cillizza writes in the Washington Post. “That the party not only hasn’t done that but is well on its way to nominating a candidate who advocates building a wall across the southern border and making Mexico pay for it speaks to how damaging the 2016 campaign has been for the GOP.

“If nothing changes — in terms of the booming growth among non-white voters and the GOP’s inability to communicate with them — the 2016 election may only be the tip of the demographic iceberg for Republicans. The 2020 and 2024 presidential elections could be blowouts.”

On the polling front, a new Latino Decisions poll underscores this huge demographic split, and its potentially enormous implications.

​“It’s shocking to see candidates double down on the kind of rhetoric that doomed Mitt Romney in 2012,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “Candidates antagonize a diversifying electorate at their peril.

“You cannot downplay the importance of Latino and Asian voters. Moreover, despite the rhetoric from leading candidates, support for a better immigration conversation has persisted among conservative constituencies. But it’s becoming difficult to see how the candidates can change course.”