How Can The GOP Win Again?

Responding to critics, Sean Trende writes that his thesis “has never been, as some have suggested, that the GOP should ‘double down’ on white voters while writing off non-whites”:

Far from encouraging the GOP to select a particular path, the series simply lays out multiple options for the GOP. Each of them contemplates some improvement with at least one minority group, as well as some shift of the GOP agenda. The best scenario, described in part three, actually involves modest outreach to all groups, majority and minority alike.

From his conclusion:

Whites have become more prosperous over the past 50 years, and income still correlates with Republican voting habits (for Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites and, to a lesser extent, African Americans).

Moreover, Democrats’ decision to embrace policies aimed at their “coalition of the ascendant” cannot be viewed in a vacuum. A case in point is Arizona, a state where Mitt Romney ran about as well as George W. Bush, despite a less favorable national environment. The Hispanic vote there has grown and, given a state GOP that stands as a poster child for how not to attract Hispanic voters, has moved sharply toward Democrats. But the Democrats’ stance on immigration isn’t particularly popular among whites, and whites, especially whites without college degrees, have shifted toward Republicans, resulting in no net change.

The bottom line is that political scientists have been reasonably successful at predicting elections based on a few basic factors. None of them, to my knowledge, includes a demographic variable. If the only relevant demographic change were the growth in the non-white vote, we’d expect these models to take on a pro-Republican bias over time, as a pro-Democratic variable that the models fail to account takes on increased salience.

Nate Cohn goes another round:

Yes, the GOP is making gains with whites and there are missing white voters. But no, the GOP can’t count on current trends or a pool of missing white voters to hand them the presidency. To win, they’ll need to boost turnout, make heretofore unrealized gains among whites in the non-Southern, “blue wall” battleground states, and, yes, they really could use some gains among Hispanics—especially in Florida. If the economic fundamentals are consistent with another competitive presidential election, Republicans might need to make some painful changes to broaden their appeal by so much.