The Demographic Excuse

… Reliable Republican constituencies — whites, married couples and churchgoers — are shrinking as a share of the electorate. Democratic-leaning constituencies — minorities, recent immigrants, the unmarried and unchurched — are growing, and voting in larger numbers than in the past.

But Republicans are also losing because today’s economic landscape is very different than in the days of Ronald Reagan’s landslides. The problems that middle-class Americans faced in the late 1970s are not the problems of today. …

Both shifts, demographic and economic, must be addressed if Republicans are to find a way back to the majority. But the temptation for the party’s elites will be to fasten on the demographic explanation, because playing identity politics seems far less painful than overhauling the Republican economic message. [cont.]

Ross Douthat, New York Times