The Republican Party as a whole has a demographic problem. In the 2012 election, the only demographic that the party was able to secure by huge margins in the general election was older, white, male voters. African Americans, women, Hispanics, and voters under the age of 30 all flocked to the Democratic Party.
A few weeks ago, Politico published a story explaining that the base of the Republican Party is literally dying off in droves. This is something that analysts had been predicting for a very long time, as everyone except the Republicans could clearly see that you can’t sustain a Party if most of voters are in their golden years. And now, those predictions are becoming a reality, and the Republican Party is panicking.
So the big question here is ‘what will they do?’
Luckily, the GOP has a hilarious answer to that question. According to The Hill, Republicans honestly believe that they will be able to win back African American voters once President Obama leaves office. What the Party fails to realize is that it wasn’t just President Obama that won the majority of black voters – John Kerry won by large margins, as did Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Michael Dukakis, and Walter Mondale and so on. Not since Gerald Ford ran in 1976 have the Republicans won more than 15% of the African American vote. The problem isn’t that they like seeing an African American in the White House; the problem is that the GOP has a reputation for being against any kind of racial equality.
For example, the Party has been gerrymandering African Americans out of existence in states all over the country, helping their votes to be watered-down by a flurry of Republican voters. And that’s if they are even allowed to vote. The Republican Party has been actively working to institute voter ID laws in swing states, which studies show will disproportionately disenfranchise black voters. On top of that, Republican governors in states like Florida and Ohio have purged eligible voters off their voting roles illegally, making it even harder for African Americans to cast a ballot.
Then you have the issue of racial profiling, racist drug laws, and a Republican-controlled news outlet in Fox News that praises violent police officers when they murder unarmed black citizens.
But this isn’t exactly news to the Republican Party leadership. They’ve known about their problems for years. Immediately following the 2012 elections, they conducted a study to find out why they can’t win over minority voters, and the answers were obvious: The overall perception of the party, particularly among minority voters, is that they simply don’t care about people. And that’s the absolute truth.
Armed with this knowledge, it would have made sense for the Party to adopt a new platform that would attract a wide assortment of voters. Instead, they decided to double-down on voter suppression techniques, increased their gerrymandering, and they even managed to get Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court. If the Party was hoping that these efforts would win them a few extra minority voters, then they failed miserably.
The bottom line is this: A zebra can’t change its stripes. The reason that the GOP is perceived as racist is because it has used racial overtones in its campaigns for decades, and now they are feeling the sting of that racism. And if history is any indicator, things are only going to get worse for the GOP.