Allan Lichtman: Diverse
Coalition Helped Obama Win Election
November 09, 2012
President Barack Obama won a second four-year term in office this past
week thanks in large part to a strong voter turnout from the same
Democratic coalition that helped first elect him four years ago --
women, minorities and young people.
The diverse and youthful voting coalition behind President Obama was on
full display at an election night watch party at a nearby bistro.
Historian Allan Lichtman says the president benefited from a strong
turnout among women, African Americans, Hispanics and younger voters.
“Women and minorities put Barack Obama over the top, and there should be
a big, huge red-letter warning sign for Republicans that they can’t win
just with their white Protestant base," notes Lichtman. "We are
increasingly becoming a non-white nation.”
The crowd at the Romney election party in Washington was predominantly
white and universally disappointed.
While Romney won a majority of white voters in the election, he had less
success in winning over women, younger people and minority voters.
Republican strategist Ford O’Connell says that will have to change.
“I think the Republicans have to recognize that they have to get beyond
their echo chamber and actually help make inroads with other groups,"
O'Connell says, "because there are a lot of pre-conceived notions about
Republicans that some minority groups harbor, and it’s up to Republicans
to reach out and sort of change that perception.”
When Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980, white voters made up 85
percent of the electorate. This year they only made up 72 percent.
addition to minority voters, Republicans face a major challenge in
drawing more support from younger voters, pollster Scott Rasmussen says.
“There is a huge generation gap in American politics. People over the
age of 40 strongly prefer Governor Romney. People under 40 strongly
prefer President Obama,” Rasmussen explains.
Republicans must either adapt to the changing U.S. demographics or brace
for more defeats, says analyst Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution.
“And the so-called youth vote that was going to fall off was actually,
according to initial estimates, a higher percentage of the electorate
than in 2008, and African Americans stayed where they were at 13
percent," Mann says. "It is a long-term losing strategy, so
conversations are going to be taking place.”
Unless the Republican Party can broaden its appeal beyond older white
voters, diverse Democratic celebrations like this one could become