Let’s say the Republican Party was a company.
Four years ago, the leaders huddled in their boardroom and asked the question: How can we win back market share? Rather than push into new markets, Republican Inc. decided to shrink its appeal by making its product unattractive to women and Hispanics.
Decades ago, companies like Ford Motor Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. figured out the link between revenue growth and demographics. They asked questions like: Who is in the next big wave of household formation?
The companies are keen students of data like this: Of the 47 million new workers entering the labor force between 2010 and 2050, a projected 37.6 million, or 80 percent, will be Hispanic, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report in October. The Latino share of the workforce will grow to 18.6 percent by 2020 and to 30 percent in 2050, doubling from 15 percent in 2010, according to the BLS.
Verizon and Ford have a marketing strategy for Latinos, and it’s working. Ford’s light-duty vehicle sales volume to Hispanics rose about 25 percent this year through June, compared with a 9.7 percent increase in total sales, according to Polk, a Southfield, Michigan, auto-marketing research company. About 11 percent of Verizon’s workforce is Hispanic. It trains its installation and in-store teams to work with Latinos, and it markets to them in English and Spanish with people like Jennifer Lopez.
American companies also asked: Who are the new decision makers when it comes to consumption?
Again, the data show rising labor force participation and educational attainment by women over the last several decades. Some 52 percent of all persons employed in management, professional and related occupations were women in 2010, according to the BLS, higher than their 47 percent share of total employment.
Elections work on two levels, says Andrew Laperriere, an analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group in Washington. Members of Congress can take extreme positions that matter to their local constituents. But it is up to the presidential candidate to re-brand the party toward a broader public, he said. That didn’t happen in the most recent election, in which extreme views coming from local races seemed to position the entire Republican Party as against women and immigrants.
“The next Republican presidential candidate will have to redefine the party on issues that matter to Latinos” and minority women, Laperriere said.