By Markos Moulitsas - 11/11/08 05:04 PM EST
As bad as election night was for Republicans, the post-mortems have been far worse. Analysis of exit poll data reveals that the Grand Old Party is old indeed, and is completely out of touch with the country’s future.
It’s not just the age of their 2008 nominee. Fact is, Barack Obama represented, in a very real way, the future of our nation — young and multicultural. And the exit polling suggests that Republicans are headed for some rough waters ahead if they don’t recognize this.
John McCain was competitive with voters 30 and above. He lost the 30-44 cohort by just six points, the 45-64 crowd by just one, and won those 65 and older 53-45. But among voters aged 18-29, Obama won by a crushing 66-32. Kerry won that group 54-45 in 2004, suggesting that the GOP’s problem with young voters is rapidly worsening.
In fact, if 18- to 29-year-olds had decided the 2008 election, Obama would’ve won 475-57, with McCain picking up just Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming. Arkansas would’ve been tied. In 2004, Kerry would’ve won 375-163 among the same age cohort.
Many of the 18-29 crowd will be graduating to older age groups in the coming cycles, while new youths will continue joining the voter rolls every day. By contrast, the GOP’s best age group — those 65 and older — face ... actuarial challenges.
In 2004, 77 percent of the voter pool was non-Hispanic white. That was whittled down to 74 percent in 2008, and that number will continue shrinking. The Census Bureau estimates that while 69.4 percent of the nation was non-Hispanic white in 2000, that number is projected to steadily decline: 65.1 percent in 2010, 61.3 in 2020, and 57.5 percent in 2030. By the 2052 election, the U.S. will be “majority-minority.”
The balance of our nation’s population will be picked up by growth among blacks and Asians, but especially Hispanics, who are expected to constitute 24.4 percent of the population by 2050 — including pluralities or majorities in key emerging battleground states like Arizona and Texas.
While the African-American vote has been reliably Democratic for some time, other ethnic and racial groups have at times been less loyal. Kerry won the Latino vote in 2004 by just single digits — 53-44 — and the Asian vote 56-44. In 2008, however, Latinos voted Democratic 67-31, and Asians 62-35.
The white vote kept McCain peripherally competitive — he won them 55-43. But Republicans are tentatively holding onto a shrinking portion of the electorate, while Democrats enjoy massive advantages with the fastest-growing demographics.
“The fact of the matter is that Hispanics are going to be a more and more vibrant part of the electorate, and the Republican Party had better figure out how to talk to them,” said Republican Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida on “Meet the Press.” “[John McCain] fought for immigration reform, but there were voices within our party, frankly, which if they continue with that kind of rhetoric, anti-Hispanic rhetoric, that so much of it was heard, we’re going to be relegated to minority status.”
Too late. Barack Hussein Obama crushed McCain in the Electoral College. The Democratic edge in the House has surpassed 80 seats. And ongoing vote counts in Minnesota and Alaska could push Democratic gains in the Senate to 59 (and that doesn’t include Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., even as he desperately beseeches the Democratic Conference to let him keep his committee chairmanship).
The issue isn’t whether Republicans will be relegated to minority status, but whether they can break out of that vicious cycle.
Moulitsas is founder and publisher of Daily Kos .