I was reminded of that phrase again this week when I read a Washington Post op-ed by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in which he declared that the GOP had to embrace the “demographic future of our country.”
That’s not to say that Trump doesn’t have a point—the GOP has long been a party of demographic demagoguery—but he was describing the GOP’s response to its own problems.
King, who had previously been a vocal critic of the GOP and its policies, was writing to fellow Republicans to tell them they had to address the demographic crisis facing the party as it tries to win back the House and Senate in 2018.
It’s a position that’s been reinforced by the GOP leadership, who have already taken a series of votes to restrict access to birth control and abortion services and, in the process, shifted some voters away from the party and toward Democrats.
In King’s view, the GOP has become the party of ethnic demagogues who are too focused on appealing to the white working class and minorities, who the GOP can’t appeal to.
He wrote that the party’s response must be to embrace that future and move away from “the toxic politics of racial politics and racial resentment.”
That means embracing the fact that the demographic future of the United States is going to be white, Christian and male, rather than the other way around.
That’s a tall order, but one that Republicans can’t ignore.
They also can’t forget that they are beholden to a coalition of white men and women who overwhelmingly support the party.
It seems likely that Trump will find plenty of ways to cast himself as a savior for white voters, who overwhelmingly voted for him in 2016.
But he’s also been a master at making the GOP look bad.
The party has been on the defensive for the last several years, trying to prove that it can’t be blamed for a wide range of ills.
And that, in turn, has been a huge problem for Trump.
His first campaign ad, in 2015, portrayed the GOP as a party that was on the side of the working class, and he has made no secret of his admiration for billionaire Steve Forbes and his network of billionaires.
He even claimed to have received more money from them than any other Republican.
In that ad, the party portrayed itself as a champion of middle class people, and Trump was accused of being the party that gave away too much money.
The ad, of course, was quickly and easily debunked by the Trump campaign and the conservative media.
Trump has since been more careful with his attacks, but he’s still very much playing the race card.
He has repeatedly made racially charged statements, including suggesting that President Barack Obama was not born in the United Sates.
In the past few months, Trump has taken a much tougher line on immigration, pushing for a border wall and pushing for the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Republican Party is also taking the threat of the 2020 election very seriously.
The GOP is actively working to recruit new members to its base, including the party establishment.
As recently as this month, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, told the Washington Post that the Republican party had “a very, very serious problem” with Trump and that the national party was “in dire straits.”
In the end, however, the real test for the party will be whether it can take seriously the concerns of white Americans who overwhelmingly backed Trump.
It could very well be that this is just the beginning of a more difficult road for the Republican leadership as it seeks to reverse the demographic shift.
The question is whether the party is willing to make the hard choices that it will face down.
The best hope for the GOP, then, is to continue to push forward, embracing the demographic and cultural changes that are coming and trying to adapt to them.
That might mean keeping an open mind and working with other parties and minority groups, even if those efforts might not always be politically effective.
This post was originally published on October 1, 2018 at 10:08 a.m. PT.