How Far Will The GOP Go To Broaden The Tent?
The post-game analysis over November's election continues, but as Republicans reflect on their electoral losses, a common consensus has emerged on the right: the GOP, if it is to stay relevant and competitive in the coming years, has to broaden its demographic appeal.
In the the days following the election, as strategists unpacked the cause of Mitt Romney's presidential demise, exit poll data offered some early insight into what went wrong: Romney, despite winning among white voters in all age groups, had dismal showings in almost every minority group. He lost the Latino vote to Obama 71 percent to 27 percent. His numbers were worse among Asian-Americans, who voted for the president 73 percent to 26 percent. And, as the GOP had anticipated, it was no contest among African-Americans, 93 percent of whom voted to re-elect Mr. Obama.
On the morning of November 7, Republicans were already calling for change: Al Cardenas, the head of the American Conservative Union, told Politico that the GOP "needs to realize that it's too old and too white and too male and it needs to figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the country before it's too late."
More recently, Republican pollster Whit Ayres released a memo warning the GOP that it had "run out of persuadable white voters," and that "To be competitive nationally in the future, Republicans must do better among non-white Americans."
"There are a whole lot of smart Republicans who realize we've got to go in a new direction," Ayres told CBSNews.com.
Even as they tout newfound resolve to overhaul their outreach methodology and appeal to new voters, however, some question whether the party is willing to embrace the substantive change necessary to bring their goals to fruition.
A new direction?
In light of the party's recent losses -- Republicans lost seats in the House and Senate as well as in the presidency -- the GOP says it's committed to learning from the mistakes of the last cycle. The RNC recently launched a five-person committee aimed at evaluating the committee's work leading up to the 2012 election, and RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer insisted the committee is committed to taking actionable steps that will help reverse some of the recent demographic trends.
"We're looking at everything," Spicer told CBSNews.com. He says each member of the five-person team - which comprises RNC committee member Henry Barbour, Jeb Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall - will take the lead on a certain issue and do extensive outreach to discern how to be more effective in the future. They'll look primarily at how to attract new voters going forward, and related questions of messaging, mechanics, get out the vote efforts, via conference calls, one-on-one discussion, and formal meetings.
"The goal obviously is to grow the party and win elections," Spicer said.