"That's a wonderful example of how we can delude ourselves into thinking that nothing really has to change," Ayres recently told CNN's "Party People" podcast hosts Kevin Madden and Mary Katherine Ham.
The North Star Opinion Research political consultant pointed to an estimated 4.2 million white voters who participated in the 2008 elections but did not vote in 2012, when the GOP nominee lost by 5 million votes nationally.
"So if every single one of them had turned out and voted for Mitt Romney, he still would have lost. Moreover, most of those white voters who didn't turn out were in deep red states -- places like West Virginia and Arkansas and Oklahoma -- where the presidential campaign was never competitive and they saw no reason to go and vote."
"You don't get bonus Electoral College points for that," Ham added.
Ayres, who worked with Sens. Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham as well as Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, warned that Republicans are working with a "worn-out business model."
"We need to adapt to the new America -- not by changing our principles -- but by applying those principles to a new kind of voter," Ayres said.
He suggested the party can broaden their electorate by targeting Hispanic voters, citing the last Republican president as a role model.
"George W. Bush set a great example for Republican candidates, as do many Republicans in Texas who seem far more comfortable with Hispanic voters and Hispanic culture," Ayres said, adding, "George Bush spoke a version of Spanish, kind of like he spoke a version of English."
Ayres said the Bush campaign "reached out aggressively," making sure his operation advertised in Spanish-language media.
"Despite what some Republicans say, a Republican candidate can do very well -- but you've got to try," Ayres said. "Just like any other group, you've got to reach out. You've got to go after them aggressively, and you've got to ask for their votes, and Republican candidates with conservative principles can do very well in the Hispanic community."
To hear what Ayres thinks GOP Senate candidates are doing right in distancing themselves from Trump and what he thinks will happen in Monday's debate, listen to CNN's "Party People," a new podcast from CNN where a pair of conservative CNN contributors talk to influential voices about the future of conservative politics and the Republican party.
Get CNN's "Party People" podcast at CNN