It's January and it's an election year, so it's time to get to it – serious political prognosticating. As an appetizer to this week's Washington Auto Show (because Joe Biden showed us that cool cars and politics definitely do mix) Cook Political Report guru Charlie Cook looked ahead to Election Day 2014 and gave a taste of 2016, too.
Demographically speaking, Republicans need some help.
"My gosh, if the Republican Party were a commercial enterprise you'd say they have an unsustainable business model," Cook said. "The long haul doesn't look good for them and they've got to address that."
As an example, Cook used a group that rarely gets mentioned in American politics: the Asian vote.
"Now it's only three percentage points, but it's the fastest growing ethnic group in the country," he said. Cook noted Asian-Americans' tendency to have a higher household income and lower unemployment rate than their white fellow citizens. He called them hard working and entrepreneurial.
"You look at all these attributes and say, 'Gosh they ought to vote Republican,' [but] Romney lost the Asian vote by a 47 percent margin, three points more than he lost the Latino vote," Cook said. "Fairly or unfairly, they look at Republicans and say, 'They don't seem to like anybody that doesn't look just like them,'" Cook said.
Age is another area where Republicans will need help. Cook explained that the current electoral split is at about age 45 -- with younger voters trending Democratic and older folks voting Republican. Additionally, the very oldest vote the most Republican, while the very youngest vote the most Democratic.
"The way I look at it -- I just turned 60 back in November, so I can get away with saying this -- when I look at voters under 45, they're the future," Cook explained. "When I look at voters 50, 60 or older we're kind of pre-dead. Republicans are doing really well with the pre-dead and not so well with the future."
Even though he may have coined a new term, "pre-dead," Cook didn't have much use for the demographic terms of elections past, like soccer moms and office park dads. ("I don't even know what that is," he said of the latter.)
Cook even thought the term "tea party" was a little outdated.
"It's been awhile since I've seen people with three corner hats or the snake flag and stuff running around," he said. "A lot of these labels, to a certain extent there may be some accuracy early on, but as time goes on they kind of fade and become less descriptive."
"Those are called Republicans now," Cook said. "And my favorite one -- NASCAR dads -- you show me a white NASCAR fan, I'll show you somebody who hasn't voted Democratic in awhile. It's called the Republican base."