The media’s postelection narrative is that Democrats won because of a demographic shift. There is some truth to that, but a more accurate description is that Democrats won in a smaller turnout by getting out more of their vote.

Turnout dropped by 7.9 million voters, falling to 123.6 million this year from 131.5 million in 2008. This is the first decline in a presidential election in 16 years. Only 51.3% of the voting-age population went to the polls. …

Strategically, Republicans will need to frame economic issues to better resonate with middle-class families. Mr. Romney had solid views on jobs, spending, deficits, health care and energy. But even among the 59% of voters for whom the economy was their top concern, he prevailed by only four points (51% to 47%). …

The GOP must reduce the destructiveness of the presidential primaries. In the first place, activists can withhold support from candidates who make reckless assaults on competitors, which happened too often this time. Also, the Republican National Committee should limit the number of debates and, by showing wisdom in picking debate moderators, limit the media’s ability to depict the party as a fringe group.