But a white-voter-focused GOP has another big problem on its hands. Turns out, the kinds of white people Republicans attract are shrinking as a percentage of the electorate.
- Republicans do worse among college educated whites. In 1984, 62 percent of white voters didn't have a college degree. In 2012, the number of college-educated whites equaled that of those without a degree.
- Republicans do worse among white women than men. In 1984, white men and women were an equal percentage of the vote. In 2012, white men lagged white women by four points (38 versus 34) of the total sex by race vote.
- Put it all together?
In 1984, those blue-collar men cast nearly three times as many votes as the white-collar women; in 2012, for the first time, the college women (at 19 percent) outvoted the noncollege men (at 17 percent). Given that the share of white adults with at least a four-year degree has increased in every year since 1981 except two, and that women are garnering nearly three-fifths of those degrees, this gap is likely to widen.
- Republicans do better among married voters than single ones. In 1984, married couples were 70 percent of all white voters. In 2012, it was 65 percent.
- Republicans do better among religious voters. In 2007, 15 percent of white voters were secular. In 2012, it was 20 percent.
- Republicans do better among whites in states ignored by Democratic presidential campaigns. Here's an amazing stat: "Obama equaled or exceeded his national share of the vote among noncollege whites in 22 of the 31 states in which exit polls were conducted last year—and won each of them except Indiana."
- Republicans do better among older whites. During the 1980s, Democrats averaged 36 percent among white voters under the age of 30. Since 2000, Democrats have averaged 45 percent.
On the Republican side, the decline of labor households has given them a boost among working-class non-college educated whites. But the broader trends are not favorable to them. And unless the GOP does an about-face on social issues like gay marriage, for starters, its slide into electoral irrelevance will continue.
And you know they won't. Not without suffering additional electoral pain.