Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Turnout in the dumps"

We, the Dems (and the Netroots), are not getting the registered voters activated. From Kos:
One of the reasons, I am pessimistic about November is that I don't see Democrats turning out in huge numbers in the contests we've had so far. Democrats are so afraid to lead and inspire, that rank and file Democrats are unmotivated to turn out.

And it won't matter how poorly Republicans do, and how many Republicans tune out of the electoral process, if we can't get our own people to vote.

The Republicans are making a mess of things. Democrats don't seem to be learning their lessons. So why should they get vested in the elections and participate? So they can get their hearts broken in yet another November? It was a sentiment I saw a great deal of while traveling the country in my book tour, and it shook me greatly.

My suspicions have been born out.
Halfway through this year's primary season, voters are showing little interest in picking candidates for the Nov. 7 elections that will determine control of Congress and elect more than one-third of the nation's governors.

Twenty-five states held primaries through June 27. Sixteen of the 22 states that have certified figures or provided estimates to USA TODAY recorded voter turnout lower than 2002, the last national election that wasn't in a presidential year [...]

Turnout hasn't cracked 40% in any state. In most, primary participation was in the 20%-30% range. Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia posted their lowest primary turnouts in at least eight years.

So far, the year's rock-bottom has come in Virginia, which did not have a 2002 primary. The June 13 Democratic Senate primary drew national attention and was open to all Virginians, regardless of their party. Fewer than 4% of more than 4.5 million eligible voters showed up to nominate former Navy secretary Jim Webb to face Sen. George Allen in November.

It's not too late to motivate and inspire Democrats, and there's evidence that national Democrats have gotten the memo and have ratched up the rhetoric. The Republicans will do whatever it takes to motivate its base to vote -- flag burning, abortion, hatin' on gays, and even Bush's first-ever veto of life-saving stem cell research. If their base votes and ours sits November out, we'll have completely missed a huge opportunity.

Chris Bowers, commenting on this story, notes that while overall turnout might be lower, that it has grown amongst two key demographics -- students and immigrants.


Reality-Based Educator said...

Wow - it would be really depressing if the Repubs maintain control of one or both chambers of Congress given all the evil and bullshit they've done these past six years.

I love how Bush vetoed the stem cell bill today while House Repubs voted to "protect" the Pledge of Allegiance from activist judges. Geez, I can't take another two years of that.

Howard Martin said...

r-b educator:

There is still time, but not much.

Phil said...

I was kind of afraid, after the 2004 election, that this (Democratic voter ennui) might happen. We mobilized a ton of first-time and non-traditional voters (like our son) with the hope of getting Bush out of office. When it didn't happen, you could almost hear many of them shrug and go back to thinking that caring and voting made no difference.