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GOP's next dilemma: retrench or reach out

Mitt Romney’s biggest problem was staring him right in the face all along: the overwhelmingly white crowds that greeted him at parks, manufacturing plants, airport hangars and other stops on the campaign trail.

While the Republican nominee campaigned almost exclusively among white voters — whose share of the electorate has been shrinking for decades — President Barack Obama was rebuilding a dynamic coalition of young voters, women, African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics, the country’s fastest growing demographic.

Obama captured 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, helping him lock down key swing states like Colorado, Nevada and Florida. Less noticed was the 73 percent support Obama drew from Asian-Americans, an emerging force in states such as Virginia, an 11 percent improvement from 2008.

Romney got the largest share of the white vote for a Republican since Ronald Reagan in 1984 and still lost.

The 2012 election has forced the GOP to the edge of a demographic cliff. Unless something is done to effectively end the decades-old Southern Strategy of appealing mainly to white voters, Republicans face an uncertain future.

“We have to accept America as it is today and not America as Ward Cleaver saw it,” said GOP strategist John Weaver. “We’re two or three elections away from Texas becoming a swing state,” he added, referring to the reliably Republican state’s rapidly growing Hispanic population. More from Alex Leary here.

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