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Published: Friday, 12/21/2012

GOP, Michigan, and race

There's a reason the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections: America is getting steadily more diverse, but Republicans either haven’t a clue or aren’t willing to reach out to people of color.

A case in point: remarks made by Ron Weiser, the former head of the Michigan GOP. Last August, he told a Tea Party gathering that Mitt Romney could win Michigan because there was no longer an effective political organization to get Detroiters to the polls.

To quote him exactly: “There’s no machine to go to the pool halls and the barbershops and put these people on buses and then bus them from precinct to precinct where they vote multiple times. And there’s no machine to get them to stop playing pool and drinking beer.”

When a video of his remarks went viral last week, Mr. Weiser, now the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman, said he hadn’t meant to offend anyone. Right.

Republicans also thought black and Hispanic voters wouldn’t vote this year in the numbers they did four years ago. On Election Night, the looks on their faces showed how wrong they were. (Memo to Mr. Weiser: Mr. Romney would have lost Michigan even if every Detroiter had not bothered to vote.)

Four years from now, the electorate will be even more diverse. If Republicans continue to think in stereotypes, they are apt to be on the outside looking in, for a long time to come.

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