What a difference nine months makes. After November's decisive electoral verdict, Republican leaders vowed to make the party more popular among minorities. Listen to some of the GOP's top thinkers now, however, and you're as likely to hear talk about "missing" white voters as efforts to court other groups. Rather than making inroads among minorities, the party is plotting to win more blue-collar whites, as House Republicans have come to view immigration reform — once regarded as the centerpiece of the GOP's renewed pitch to Latinos — as a political loser. The chatter amounts to an unofficial announcement that, despite the postelection hand-wringing, the GOP isn't staying awake at night worrying about its lack of diversity.
"Democrats liked to mock the GOP as the "˜Party of White People' after the 2012 elections," wrote political analyst Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics, in a widely read argument about why immigration reform wasn't politically essential for the GOP. "But from a purely electoral perspective, that's not a terrible thing to be. Even with present population projections, there are likely to be a lot of non-Hispanic whites in this country for a very long time."
But if the GOP determines that its future lies with an all-out pursuit of whites, it might find an unwanted surprise. Some white voters, particularly young ones, won't align themselves with a party that can't attract support from Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asians. To attract more white voters, the GOP, ironically, might first need to attract more minorities.