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Sen. Lindsey Graham: GOP Needs More Than 'Angry White Guys'

State Sen. Tom Davis, a potential rival, agrees, but would expand message even further.

The poll numbers tell a stark truth for Mitt Romney, but it’s an even starker one for the Republican Party.

Romney trails President Barack Obama by 9 points among women, by 40 percent among Latinos and by 90 percent among African-Americans. 

Based on this week’s Republican National Convention, where numerous members of the aforementioned groups spoke, the Romney campaign is putting forth significant effort into reversing those numbers.

Even if Romney should cobble together enough of a coalition to defeat Obama, the long-term trends are not good for the GOP. That’s a problem Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was addressing this week when he told The Washington Post:

“The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

Graham’s Communication’s Director Kevin Bishop told Patch: “What the Senator said is a fact. It’s not a matter of opinion,” Bishop said. “It’s something that (former Fla. Sen. Mel) Martinez, (former Fla. Gov.) Jeb Bush and (Fla. Sen.) Marco Rubio have been talking about for a while.”

Bishop pointed out that 41 percent of Latino voters supported George W. Bush in 2000 and approximately 35 percent in 2004. Support from that voting block made a difference in two very close elections. In 2008, the support fell to 32 percent and John McCain lost.*

“Latino support for the GOP has declined in important swing states like Colorado and Florida, “Bishop said. “Latino voters aren’t strictly concerned with immigration. They care about social issues and economic opportunity also and we need to speak to that.”

But talk of a racial and cultural divide was still apparent in the party.

Prior to the convention Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and talk show host Chris Matthews got into an argument about the party’s alleged use of “dog whistles.”

During the convention two delegates were sent home for making racially-insensitive remarks to an African-American employee from CNN. And one of the delegates from Puerto Rico was drowned out with chants of, “USA! USA!” that, at first glance, appeared directed at her, though they were directed at a breakaway group of Ron Paul supporters. Still, the optics were not what the GOP was hoping for during its national gathering.

Reaching out to voters outside the older, overwhelmingly white base is something that Sen. Tom Davis (R- Beaufort) has also been advocating.

“The Republican Party needs to respond to this,” Davis told Patch.

In addition to the groups already mentioned, Davis, who supported Paul during the primary season, believes the party needs to reach out to young people.

“The party keeps putting them off, but these kids are figuring out what the debt means and what is facing them,” Davis said. “A lot of them responded to Obama four years ago, but they are shopping now." 

“There is a window of opportunity for the GOP, but it’s closing,” Davis said, who is thought by many to be a possible challenger for Graham’s seat.

But Davis said the party has made progress, particularly adding a platform item that requires an audit of the Federal Reserve. Davis said he’s open to an audit of the Defense Department. “We need to look at our own sacred cows,” Davis explained. Otherwise we’re just being hypocrites if we only go after entitlements.”

This all-cards-on-the-table approach, Davis argues, is one that will appeal to voters of all backgrounds.

*Corrected with more precise figures.

Bruce September 03, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I'm an angry white guy Obama voter. Republicans pander to science deniers, religious nuts, and fat cats. I'm angry a guy making 20 million a year pays less than than half the tax rate I pay and thinks it's OK. I'm angry anyone is stupid enough to vote for a tax-evader with millions in Cayman Island accounts to avoid paying U.S. taxes. I'm angry his clueless wife says we've released "all the tax records you people need". Like it's her call to tell voters what they "need to know" (you don't tell us, the people decide what we require). Who do these arrogant, pampered, plutocrats think they are? They're attempting to buy the U.S. election with big tax cuts for and contributions from super-wealthy patrons. I'm angry Repubs want to strip health care from 40-50 million Americans. The Romneys and pals have all the health care they'll ever need so poor Americans can just eat health-care cake? Finally I'm angry about the lies Repubs are spewing about Obama and his record. How stupid do they think we are? What steps is Romney proposing, other than tax cuts for overseas job creators and reduced federal aid for U.S. college students to create more good jobs in the U.S.? I'm angry Romney's advisers are George W. Bush re-treads who got us into two ruinous wars, ran the U.S. economy into a ditch (losing 7 million jobs) and they're actually proud of the job they did. Any middle-class voter dumb enough to vote Republican will get exactly what he deserves, fewer U.S. jobs.
w. martin September 03, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Wait up,here...if I'm an angry white man...doesn't that mean I'm a KKK member and have forbidden fruit hanging around my pot plants? I think when Romney said something about Obama being angry about something the pundits translated this into where the GOP really meant they were going to repeal civil rights because describing Barry as angry meant he was an 'angry black man on welfare who likes blondes' or some crap like that..and we were going to 'get even' .
w. martin September 03, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Reaching out to voters outside the older, overwhelmingly white base...what exactly is so terribly wrong with having white voters in your party? I understand the premise of the point made, but each time white people are used as a bad thing it irks me...nobody is complaining about the overwhelmingly black base in the democratic party...when 99% of the black vote goes to the black candidate, and it's not called racist, I have a tendency to not see any of the points trying to be made by that crowd...
advocateforall September 04, 2012 at 12:49 AM
I guess I'm an angry white gentile protestant guy with middle of the road politics, voted for Obama, who is paying for wars we didn't start, thanklessly participated in our military, and politics we don't accept, and yet we are being denied equal opportunity in many positions such as our news media. How many white gentile protestant males have you seen on CNN or any other network? How many are in the US Supreme Court? We're part of a demographic group that still represents a significant percent of our population yet we are being discriminated against. We have no representation in the US Supreme Court because somehow a tiny 1% minority with a different point of view and culture than us usurps our right to representation. We're being discriminated against, and when we complain they attempt to divert attention by calling us the bigots.
johnrokkit September 04, 2012 at 09:48 AM
Eloquent and so right on. If I could say it that succinctly... I've bookmarked this page to save. I would add though that the choice we need to make is one which leads us down the same road these politicians all travel. Obama has shown himself successor to "georgie boy" bush in too many of the same exploitations of executive power. Popular on the hill too, wearing down our Fourth Amendment rights. All of the same stripe or they wouldn't have garnered what it takes to be allowed to plunder the social order at will.

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