Experts say changing geographic and demographic trends are further endangering an already-beleaguered Republican party.
There has been much chatter about who now speaks for the Republican Party, and whether the GOP has a message or an agenda to combat President Barack Obama's popularity. Those questions are important to the party's future, but the most serious problem remains the deeper demographic and political forces at work in the country.
For the past few months, political analysts and demographers have been poring over the results of the 2008 election and comparing them with presidential results from the past two decades. From whatever angle of their approach - age, race, economic status, geography - they have come to a remarkably similar conclusion. Almost all indicators are pressing the Republicans into minority status.
Republicans are still capable of winning individual elections, but until they find a way to reverse, or at least minimize, these broader changes in the country, their chances of returning to majority status will be severely reduced.
The American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution convened a stellar cast Friday to review what has been learned since November. The panel included Robert Lang of Virginia Tech; Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress; William Frey of the Brookings Institution; Bill Bishop, a Texas writer and author of "The Big Sort"; Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center; and Ronald Brownstein of Atlantic Media. They presented a wealth of data about what happened in 2008 and offered conclusions that would alarm any Republican hopeful of a quick turnaround in the party's fortunes.
Page 1 of 4