Conditions were ripe for Republicans to retake
the White House: high unemployment, slow growth, economic insecurity.
Yet Mitt Romney's bid to win the White House fell spectacularly short of its goal.
One day after President Barack Obama was re-elected, Republicans were evaluating their failure. Among the most serious challenges are demographic changes that pose an ever greater challenge.
The Republican could only take back two states that had gone for Obama in 2008 and failed to win any of the most widely contested swing states.
On the morning after election day, the Republican Party was under "a cloud of gloom," The Wall Street Journal noted Wednesday.
The party's base may blame Romney for not being conservative enough, while moderates say he tacked too far to the right during the party primaries.
Romney was not an ideal candidate, and his campaign was even more flawed, but the deeper problem was profound change among the electorate, amid the country's inexorably shifting demographics.
Washington inside website Politico asked: Is the Republican Party "too old, too white, too male"?
In 1992, US voters were 87 per cent white. Today the majority race is just 72 per cent - as the country's Latinos and Asians become a larger share of the electorate, alongside the established African-American minority, which has turned out in larger numbers since the 2008 campaign that made Obama the first black president.
Romney was able to win 52 per cent of white voters, but it was not enough as Obama racked up huge margins among minorities. He won 69 per cent of the Latino vote, 74 per cent of Asians and 93 per cent of African-Americans.
"It's a group of people that frankly should be with us based on the real policy of conservatism," commentator Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and one-time Republican presidential hopeful, told Fox News. "But Republicans have acted as if they can't get the vote, so they don't try. And the result is they don't get the vote."
The Republicans suffered weakness among women, even as they did especially well among white men and older voters. Some 55 per cent of women supported Obama to 43 per cent for Romney.
All was not lost for the party, which held onto a majority in the lower House of Representatives and retains the potential to block Obama's initiatives.
Speaker of the House John Boehner said Wednesday that his party was ready to work with Obama to solve the country's fiscal woes, but emphasized that president must take serious steps to cut spending and address expensive social entitlements for the Republicans to consider expanding revenue streams through tax code reforms.
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