I did not need to write a book about it, but I’ve said it about a hundred times in this column and on radio on WLIB’s “GBE Mindflight” with Imhotep Gary Byrd over the course of this past two years or more. Now veteran GOP pollster Whit Ayres is saying exactly this, but in an entire book.
What is that, you ask? That the GOP does not have a chance in hell of winning the White House in 2016 or anytime in the foreseeable future without recognizing the other voters—you know, you and I! Well, those are really more my words.
What Ayres says in his new book, “2016 and Beyond: How Republicans Can Elect a President in the New America,” is that Republicans desperately need to attract more “minority voters” or face a downward losing streak for the White House. Ayres gets big bucks to consult for high-level Republican candidates and conservative organizations, but I’m not sure if they are willing to pay to hear this, especially because I could have told them this for free. But somehow, coming from Ayres, I guess they may pay some attention.
Here’s what he told Forbes’ Stuart Anderson last week: “The demographics in our country are changing so rapidly—with whites declining and non-whites increasing about three percentage points each presidential election—that it becomes exceedingly difficult to win a majority of the popular vote just by increasing the share of white vote going to the Republican candidate.”
And there’s more: “[Mitt] Romney won 59 percent of whites but only 17 percent of non-whites in 2012. If the 2016 Republican nominee gets no more of the non-white vote than Romney, then he will need 65 percent of the white vote to win. … It makes far more sense—in 2016 and certainly for elections after that—for Republicans to focus on dramatically increasing their share of the non-white vote, especially among Hispanics, who are the fastest growing minority group.”
Can we get an encore? “It makes far more sense … for Republicans to focus on dramatically increasing their share of the non-white vote, especially among Hispanics who are the fastest growing minority group.”
So the question for Ayres is how can the Republicans win over the Hispanic voters? Certainly not by putting up that Cuban American guy from Florida—what’s his name? Oh yes, Marco Rubio!
Ayres thankfully gets the reality.
“Tone matters, and the tone used by some Republicans on immigration since 2004 has pushed many Hispanics into the waiting arms of Democrats,” he told Anderson. Wow! I wonder if he is really telling this to his clients?
Here’s where it gets more interesting. “Harsh attacks on illegal immigrants are viewed by many Hispanics as attacks on their entire community,” added Ayres. “Once Republicans set up an ‘us versus them’ mentality, Hispanic-American citizens quite understandably believe that Republicans just do not like them.”
Ayres now needs to send a copy of his book to each of the tone-deaf GOP lawmakers in Congress who believe immigrant bashing and using lackeys such as Andrew Hanen to stop the president’s immigration order will help them. If the party does not start changing now, it will lose in 2016 and beyond.
Thanks, Whit, for supporting what I’ve been saying for years. Let’s hope the GOP listens carefully.
The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.