Jonathan Martin, POLITICO
President Barack Obama's thrashing of Mitt Romney exposed glaring structural weaknesses in the GOP that will shut the Republicans out of the White House until they find a way to appeal to a rapidly changing America.
Battling a wheezing economy and a deeply motivated opposition, Obama still managed to retain much of his 2008 map because of the GOP's deficiencies with the voters who are changing the political face of once conservative-leaning Virginia, Florida, Colorado and Nevada.
Republicans face a crisis: The country is growing less white, and their coalition has become more white in recent years.
In 2004, George W. Bush won 44 percent of Hispanics. Four years later, John McCain, the author of an immigration reform bill, took 31 percent of Hispanics. And this year, Romney captured only 27 percent of Hispanics.
"The conservative movement should have particular appeal to people in minority and immigrant communities who are trying to make it, and Republicans need to work harder than ever to communicate our beliefs to them," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who will immediately be looked to as a potential 2016 presidential candidate.
But the GOP's problem is more fundamental than one bloc of voters. For the second consecutive presidential election, the Republican got thumped among women and young voters in the states that decided the election.
"Our party 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," said Al Cardenas, the head of the American Conservative Union and a longtime GOP leader. "Our party needs a lot of work to do if we expect to be competitive in the near future."
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