The Republican Party is in a "deep racial and political hole" due to its positions on immigration and attitudes about impeachment of President Barack Obama, and addressing the party's "crisis on race" now is necessary for the party's long-term survival, said Juan Williams.
In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal,
the political analyst for Fox News compared the challenges for today's Republican Party to the Democrats' internal party struggle in the 1960s when civil rights activists sought representation at party conventions in the face of opposition by white Southerners from their own party.
"Today the GOP has become a nearly all-white party as the white share of the vote is declining. In 2012, the white share of the total vote was just 72 percent, the lowest in U.S. history. That trend is making the GOP's prospects in national and even statewide elections increasingly bleak."
He noted that in the aftermath of Mitt Romney's defeat, the GOP vowed to analyze its losses in the context of demographics, but the party has since alienated Latino voters with its position on immigration.
Williams acknowledged a recent study
that suggested that race is not a short-term problem for the GOP's electoral prospects because whites are increasingly loyal to the Republican Party, but he contends that the party must begin to appeal to minorities now if it is to survive over the longer term.
"Long term, as the minority population continues to increase, the GOP risks becoming a political afterthought in elections unless it can improve its appeal to minority voters. Romney won 59 percent of the white vote, close to the high of 63 percent set by Ronald Reagan in 1984, but lost the election," Williams wrote.
"This year Republicans hope higher voter intensity among their white supporters will lead to an overall turnout advantage and compensate for their poor performance with minority voters. But at some point soon the GOP is going to face a version of the 1964 crisis that forced Democrats to become more racially diverse."
He concluded by saying, "The sooner the GOP understands this and adjusts accordingly, the sooner it will be seen as a party of the future and not a party of the past."
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