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Implications of Shifting Demographics

Changing electoral demographics will have noticeable effects on the 2016 elections, writes author Patrick Oakford.

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idea_bulbIn the wake of the 2012 presidential election, Republican elected officials and conservative political pundits publicly bemoaned the party’s failure to connect with and win over voters of color. Furthermore, they conceded that a failure to fare better with this demographic in future elections would carry dire electoral consequences and doom the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House. Some may view the Republicans’ wide-spread success in the 2014 midterms as an indication that the GOP’s concerns immediately following the 2012 presidential election are no longer applicable. However, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that midterm elections have historically had low voter turnout rates, and ultimately, the voter makeup of the electorate in midterm years has been very different than in a presidential election. Therefore, the upcoming 2016 election provides the first test case of the Republicans’ post-2012 election predictions.

Since 2012, these demographic challenges have only grown more acute. As people of color become an ever larger share of states’ electorates, the political implications for both parties comes into even sharper focus: In 2016, to win the presidency—as well as many U.S. Senate races—candidates will need to secure substantial support from voters of color.

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