Conservatives who predicted that Mitt Romney would win the 2012 presidential race by a landslide are not only stunned that Barack Obama won re-election but also by how the president managed to pull off the feat. For his triumph, Obama can not only thank his campaign team but the young adults, single women and minority voters who supported him in droves at the ballot box in 2012. Without winning the overwhelming majority of votes from blacks, Latinos and Asian Americans, it's unlikely that Obama would've nearly swept every swing state and won a second term in office.
Some conservatives have taken Obama's win to mean that the GOP needs to double down on its outreach to voters of color, but others say this turn of events means that whites no longer run the show. This isn't an admission that makes them particularly happy either. Take Rush Limbaugh. "I went to bed last night thinking we are outnumbered," he remarked after the election. "I went to bed last night thinking we've lost the country. I don't know how else you look at this." Limbaugh's far from the only conservative to make such statements. Ann Coulter remarked that Romney's defeat signaled that "the tipping point has been reached." And Fox News contributor Dick Morris said of the election, "What this is saying is this is the new America. This isn't your father's America."
I'm not sure why it just dawned on these conservatives that the United States is an incredibly diverse place. Each of the past few censuses has indicated that the country is growing increasingly multiracial. Four states--Texas, New Mexico, Hawaii and California--are majority minority now. Before the election I even covered a report the Pew Research Center released about the GOP. It found that the party has grown significantly older and whiter than the Democratic Party. I wrote that if the Republican Party didn't begin to reach out to voters of color, its future would be bleak.
There's simply no way a major political party can ignore people of color and expect to be successful at the polls. Complaining that they've "lost the country" isn't exactly a good way for conservatives to go about it, however. It stresses an "us vs. them" mentality that will only deepen racial divides. It also isn't a very original complaint. In the early 20th century, eugenicists were concerned that Eastern European immigrants were outpacing Anglo women in childbirth rates. Because of this they too feared that they were losing America. They ultimately survived the influx of Slavs and Poles and other "undesirable" immigrants just as the GOP will survive the rising numbers of blacks, Asians and Latinos in the electorate. The nation may have a black president and voters of color may now wield more influence at the polls than ever before, but the power structure in this country overall remains largely white. Until that changes, Rush Limbaugh & Co. don't have as much to worry about as they think.