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Opinion: Morning Examiner

What if Republicans really are doomed by demographics?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mark Tapscott,Morning Examiner,Barack Obama,Republican Party,2014 Elections,2016 Elections,Mitt Romney,Demographics

Peter Wehner is a Commentary Magazine columnist, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and a former senior aide to President Ronald Reagan and to both Bush chief executives.

Earlier this week, Wehner assembled a parade of data-driven observations about the current and future state of American politics that ought to set on edge the teeth of every Republican office-holder, candidate, strategist, donor and, especially, voter.

To put it bluntly, according to Wehner, "Republicans, at least when it comes to presidential elections, have a winning message for an electorate that no longer exists."

Points to ponder

Wehner's assessment may strike readers quite differently the day after the 2016 presidential votes are counted, but for now, he puts forth a case that demands sustained, thoughtful analysis.

In that spirit then, consider these:

* "In the last two decades of Democratic dominance, 18 states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic six out of six times. These currently have 242 electoral votes, which is quite close to the 270 needed to win the presidency.

"There are 13 states that have voted Republican in every election since 1992, but they total just 102 electoral votes. (Source: Jeffrey Bell)

* "Out of the last six presidential elections, four have gone to the Democratic nominee, at an average yield of 327 electoral votes to 210 for the Republican.

"During the preceding two decades, from 1968 to 1988, Republicans won five out of six elections, averaging 417 electoral votes to the Democrats’ 113.

"In three of those contests, the Democrats failed to muster even 50 electoral votes. (Source: Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner)

* "White voters, who traditionally and reliably favor the GOP, have gone from 89 percent of the electorate in 1976 to 72 percent in 2012. (This decline is partially an artifact of a change in the way the Census Bureau classifies Hispanics, who used to be counted among whites before being placed in a separate category.)

"Mitt Romney carried the white vote by 20 points. If the country’s demographic composition were still the same in 2012 as it was in 2000, he would now be president. If it were still the same as it was in 1992, he would have won in a rout. (Source: Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner)"

Where's the flaw?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are, of course, three kinds of liars — lies, damned lies and political demographics. Wehner's analysis won't be popular with more than a few on the Right.

That said, those who disagree with Wehner must respond with facts and logic rather than emotion and cliche.

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PennAve/David M. Drucker: An interview with Sen. Tom Coburn.

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