After two terms of Obama, you’d think the GOP would have learned a very valuable lesson in diversity: If you want to win the White House, you can’t do it without women or people of color.
In 2008, Obama won 53 percent of the vote to McCain’s 46 percent.
That difference could have been erased were it not for the massive demographic edge Obama had.
Asians were 62 percent Obama to McCain’s 35.
Hispanics were closer, Obama 37, McCain 31.
Blacks were the widest margin, 95 for Obama. McCain drew 4 percent.
Among women, Obama easily beat McCain, 56 percent to 43 percent.
Add it all up, and that should have determined the path to victory for the next GOP election.
In 2012, Obama bested Romney in a closer contest, 51 percent to 47 percent.
But the race demographics followed the same trend.
Obama got 93 percent of the Black vote to 6 percent for Romney.
Asians went Obama, 73 percent to 26 percent.
And Hispanics added more cushion, 71 percent to 27 percent.
Women? Same trend. Obama beat Romney 55 percent to 49 percent.
So given all those numbers, you would think the third time’s the charm, right?
But judging from the Fox News/Facebook debate last Thursday, the GOP seems just as lost as ever.
You don’t win the Black vote by giving Dr. Ben Carson some face time early in the debate, then not talking to him again for nearly 50 minutes.
You don’t win the Black vote by giving a token mention to “Black lives matter” by asking one question deep in the debate to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
It wasn’t a bad answer. But if you missed it, here it was:
Kelly: Governor Walker, many in the Black Lives Matter movement, and beyond, believe that overly-aggressive police officers targeting young African-Americans is the civil rights issue of our time. Do you agree? And if so, how do you plan to address it? And if not, why not?
WALKER: Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing—it’s something you’ve had a guest on who’s a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark, who’s talked to me about this many times in the past—it’s about training. It’s about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only on the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don’t, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.
MEGAN: Thank you.
And now back to the White portion of the debate.
If you were a Hispanic voter, much was said about fences and walls and tough immigration policies. Not much was said to invite Hispanic voters into the party.
I cringed every time “moderator” Chris Wallace said “illegal” as a noun. But no one bothered to correct him on his offensive diction.
Seeing a smiling Marco Rubio doesn’t make things better.
And of course, Donald Trump was the worst in oversimplifying the border situation, blaming it on corrupt Mexican officials and then failing when given the chance to offer proof for his assertions.
Trump’s most talked about exchange though was about that other hotly contested demographic—women—in this debate exchange with Fox’s Megan Kelly:
KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women.
You’ve called women you don’t like “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”
Your Twitter account…
TRUMP: Only Rosie O’Donnell.
KELLY: No, it wasn’t.
Your Twitter account…
TRUMP: Thank you.
KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell.
TRUMP: Yes, I’m sure it was.
KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?
TRUMP: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct.
Jobs? The economy? The middle class? No it’s just political correctness?
Trump is a comedian. While successful politicians use diplomacy, comedians like Trump prefer the shock value. In the end, it’s more entertaining. But it won’t garner any votes unless it comes with more substance. Or maybe he presumes he’s dealing with a brain-dead electorate that needs to be shocked.
If there was a group that got some positive feedback it was the gays and lesbians. They went for Obama by broad 70 percent to 30 percent margins in the last two elections.
So maybe that’s why we have Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who in his answer on same-sex marriage showed about all the compassion the GOP has to muster at this point:
KELLY: The subject of gay marriage and religious liberty. Governor Kasich, if you had a son or daughter who was gay or lesbian, how would you explain to them your opposition to same-sex marriage?
KASICH: Well, look, I’m an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I’ve also said the court has ruled —
KELLY: How would you — how would you explain it to a child?
KASICH: Wait, Megan, the court has ruled, and I said we’ll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn’t think the way I do, doesn’t mean that I can’t care about them or can’t love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what?
KASICH: That’s what we’re taught when we have strong faith.
KASICH: So the issues like that, issues like that are planted to divide us. I think the simple fact of the matter is, and this is where I would agree with Jeb, and I’ve been saying it all along, we need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megan. So, look, I’m going to love my daughters, I’m going to love them no matter what they do. Because, you know what, God gives me unconditional love. I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.
Let’s hope he has a lot of Blacks, Latinos and Asians around him, too. I don’t think Kasich is necessarily the guy for the top job, but the GOP should consider adopting his tone than the Donald’s blaring trumpet.
The Kasich moment was by far the most inclusive, compassionate and least alienating part of the debate.
That’s the path the GOP must take if they want to win back the White House ever again.
Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. Contact him: www.fb.com/emilguillermomedia ; www.twitter.com/emilamok