Sean Trende, in addition to having an almost perfect surname for a political prognosticator, is Senior Elections Analyst for RealClearPolitics. In this column, the first of two, he looks at voter turnout in 2012 and concludes that a major reason for Romney's loss to Obama is that a group of six million "downscale, rural, Northern whites" stayed home, didn't vote.
Trende characterizes these non-voters as Ross Perot's backers, as populists. Toward the article's end he poses this dilemma for the GOP, it can pursue this group of whites who stayed home, or pursue Hispanics plus upscale whites with a more relaxed stance on social issues. The tricky thing is to do both, which he believes several successful Republican candidates - Nixon, Reagan, and Bush 43 - have been able to accomplish.
We look forward to the second Trende column, explaining why it is not absolutely necessary for the GOP to sign on to immigration reform for it to succeed at the presidential level.