If you can truly say "grim future" in a political context without being overtly partisan, a data-driven analysis of state-by-state voter alignment trends would be the way to do it.
The website FiveThirtyEight.com recently released a set of graphic analyses showing what would happen in the election if only certain groups voted.
The key takeaways were fascinating.
If only women voted, the Democratic party would win by 458 electoral votes to 80.
If only non-whites voted, the Democratic party would win every state in the union.
If only Millennials voted, the Democratic party would win over 400 electoral votes in a landslide.
Indeed, the only categories where Republicans posted a win were "if only men voted" and "if only whites voted" but these came with a very important caveat.
If only white Millennials voted, the Democratic party would still win the election by a comfortable margin.
So, the net-net is the data shows the Republican party is being squeezed for voters on both minority growth demographics and on the ageing of their electorate.
Beyond that analysis, however, the incremental state-by-state data paints an even grimmer picture as relates to Republicans' future in the electoral college.
That key issue is that there are certain states that the data shows are moving toward the Democratic party at a faster rate than the national trends just described, primarily for three reasons: a) they have younger voters than the national average, b) they have more minorities than the national average, and c) they have a higher percentage of college educated individuals than the national average.
If you break down each of these states, you can see these data trends more clearly:
1) Colorado was long a crucial Republican electoral bulwark; Democrats carried it only twice between 1954 and 2004. However, since 2000, Latino immigration and voter registration has expanded significantly--to 13 percent of the state electorate, eighth most among states--and the college-educated and Millennial populations have exploded. Colorado went from a bottom rung state in educational attainment to a top-10 state since 2000.
2) Virginia was long the most crucial Republican state outside the deep south. However, long-term educated immigration into the northern Virginia suburbs has rapidly changed the voting demographics of the state, and that trend continues. Within 15 years, Virginia will be as solidly blue as Maryland. Indeed, in many ways its profile matches that of Illinois: the periphery remains widely red, but the densely populated blue areas make it non-competitive in national elections.
3) Nevada has been affected far less by educational attainment than either Colorado or Virginia, however Hispanic and Asian American immigration rates are the highest in the nation. Together, those two groups will be over a third of the state's voting electorate by 2020 and they are concentrated very heavily in Clark County, which makes national election turnout operations highly effective.
And therein lies the grim data projection for Republicans: If you take just the states that have voted Democratic since 1988 and add these three states, you get a winning 279 electoral votes.
Note, this winning map does not include swing states that have been trending Democratic in recent elections--Florida and Iowa (six of the last seven elections); states that would be Republican must-wins every year but are still toss ups--Ohio and North Carolina (the latter of which follows many of the trends highlighted for Virginia very closely); and states that are still Republican but face the same rapidly changing demographics as once-solid-red Nevada--Texas, Arizona, and Georgia.
So, the data tells us, the Democrats would have to win precisely none of these seven swing states to win elections.
Unfortunately for Republicans, the Democratic map has few, if any, such vulnerabilities. While Pennsylvania is often talked about, the growth of its Democratic Philadelphia and Pittsburg suburbs has created the opposite trend. And New Hampshire, surrounded by blue states and worth only four electoral votes, makes little difference to the macro-picture.
Beyond those states, the others in the Democratic column are: California, Oregon, New Mexico, D.C., Washington, Hawaii, Maine (without the second district), Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
So, the data is clear: Republicans must pivot and warm to either younger voters by abandoning losing social issues or to minorities by abandoning nativism. They cannot keep both and hope to win elections.