Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raging Against Voters Who Won't Vote

You know me.  One of the big drums I beat about politics is the need for voter turnout.  My whole belief system in our republican democracy is that we need more people showing up, not less.

And still... and still... outside of the Big One - the Presidential tournament we run every four years - voter turnout in this nation is atrocious.  In a place where freedom of choice is touted, the biggest choice seems to be refusing to show up.

It's worse when I am angling so much to one side - higher Democratic turnout, because I am firmly convinced the modern GOP is too Far Right - only to see that even in the midterm (or special) election cycle where massive Democratic turnout would be key to winning House seats the turnout remains dismal.

One argument being given in the Washington Post:

Plouffe, who was Obama’s campaign manager in 2008 and oversaw the reelection bid as White House senior adviser, put the onus back on the Democrats. Democrats didn’t lose the special election because the Republicans had an insurmountable advantage in the district. They lost because they couldn’t get enough voters — the ones who backed Obama in 2012 — to the polls. Plouffe called the loss a “screaming siren” for the fall. As he put it, “We have a turnout issue.”
...Districts like Florida’s 13th may look more Republican in off-year elections than in presidential years, but as Plouffe pointed out, that’s because Democrats have a turnout problem in those midterm elections. The Democrats’ coalition includes groups of voters who are simply less likely to show up in midterm elections. Younger voters turn out at lower rates in midterm elections than older voters. Single women are less likely to vote than married women...
...A companion problem is confronting Democrats this year: dissatisfaction in their ranks. Obama has disappointed many of his followers, and his overall approval ratings are low enough to give the party real concern. The lack of enthusiasm for the president could easily lead to demoralization and too many stay-at-home voters in November...

This is a bit off of that posting but it's a feeling I'm getting from reviewing the hand-wringing about the poor turnout: Democrats are not as united as the bloggers hope. Whereas the Republicans are fracturing between Far Right factions fighting between themselves over who's the most hardcore wingnuts, the Democrats have remained fractured since the 1990s between the moderate/Centrist types - represented by the Clinton political machine - and the Far Left types who want their elected officials ideologically pure.  Bipartisanship is a dirty word among the tree-hugging hippie libruls too.

But where the Far Right faction(s) used party purging to drive out their moderate leaderships to make the Republicans more wingnut, the Far Left decided to take their ball and go home to sulk and wait for their ideal "pure" liberal candidates to emerge.  This explains a little bit why candidates like Alex Sink - this was her second time failing to win by a meager margin - are having trouble getting the vote out: Sink is not viewed as politically "pure" on topics, and her background in banking doesn't help.  Simply put: the candidates the state party here in Florida is putting up for election in some of the battleground districts don't inspire the base the way the GOP's candidates inspire the base.  And Florida's not the only state with that problem...

I'm a bit worried right now for Charlie Crist.  Currently the state-wide favorite to beat Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott (Crist leads in the polls over Scott 52-40), Crist could win the primary nomination - he's well ahead of other Democratic candidates like Nan Rich and Pam Iorio (and even Sink is back on the list) - but the Far Left voters might refuse to turn out yet again for a candidate they'll view as a turncoat ex-Republican.  Failure to turn out for him - as well as failing to turn out for all the other Democratic challengers in contestable state and congressional districts - is gonna get us stuck with four more years of an openly failing, corrupt, incompetent Scott.

Someone needs to get out there and get the Democrats motivated to vote.  These midterms are as important as always, especially against a Republican Party convinced their ObamaCare opposition will win them votes (and even the US Senate).  Obama needs to step up: most Presidents don't seem to put themselves out there for midterms, letting the state parties founder without them, but dammit Obama has the social skills and charisma to inspire the voters to show up this year.

As for me, here I am still shouting GET THE DAMN VOTE OUT PEOPLE.

1 comment:

Betty Cracker said...

I may completely lose hope for this state if Voldemort is reelected! Pam Iorio just took the Big Bros - Big Sisters gig, so she's not running. I think Crist wins the primary in a walk. But you're right about turnout being a major concern. I'm thinking Scott's horrible performance and voter suppression antics will be enough to inspire Dems, but we shall see....