If demography is destiny, the handwriting is on the wall.
Many years ago, I had an enlightening conversation with friend active in Libertarian politics. He was trying to recruit candidates who would appeal to Republicans who were becoming disenchanted with the culture warriors who had seized control of the GOP. He saw a window of opportunity for the Libertarians–if they could moderate some of their positions just a little, they could take advantage of that window and substantially increase their share of the vote. The problem was, the party’s core–the absolutists–were unwilling to move even a little toward the middle, and keeping their pro-gun, pro-gold-standard, anti-public-schools base was critical to any electoral success. So the window closed.
Today’s GOP finds itself in an analogous position. The party has come to depend upon an aging, angry base that repels not only women, immigrants and minorities, but increasingly, younger Americans. It’s caught between that same rock and hard place that has kept the Libertarians from achieving mainstream status.
The party’s establishment has now realized the problem, but solving it is going to be another thing entirely.