Minority voter turnout cannot be taken for granted either as we learned in 2014 when Charlie Crist did not win the Governorship thanks in large measure to President Obama punting on immigration reform. That decision done in accord with the Democratic establishment’s desire to placate the conservative electorate in Louisiana, Alaska and Arkansas was major factor in why Hispanics in 2014 were only 13% of the Florida electorate as compared to 17% in 2012. The Democrats lost all three Senate seats the immigration punt was designed to save AND got beat here in Florida, a state which would likely have been won without it. This demonstrated that sacrificing minority votes for whiter more conservative ones does not work either.
In 2008, Republicans did cast more ballots in their PPP than Democrats – but just 200,000 more and the GOP Primary was a binding contest awarding delegates (half as many as 2012 and 2016 it should be noted though due to a violation of RNC rules) unlike the Democrats where a prohibition on campaigning in Florida was instituted and delegates were not counted based on the primary, thus creating a disincentive for voter turnout. So this election cycle the GOP more than tripled the advantage in ballots cast vs the Democrats in a contest that WAS binding unlike 2008. That’s a stunning statistic that I would love to hear Florida’s Democrats try and spin.
Democrats have an enthusiasm problem and turnout problem on the left. Hillary Clinton whether he die-hard backers want to believe it or not generates little excitement among the types of people that have been needed to turn out to win Democrats elections in this millennium. Bill Clinton when he was elected benefited in many ways from a depressed turnout and an electorate that was sick of the GOP – first for controlling the White House for too long and second for the perceived excesses after the Congressional takeover of 1994. While Donald Trump’s polarizing language might provide the impetus for fear-based turnout in 2016, it cannot be counted on. Chances are quite good that Clinton as a nominee will not stimulate the type of excitement President Obama did, and given the massive dropoff in Democratic Primary turnout relative to GOP turnout in the Florida PPP we have empirical evidence now that enthusiasm is lower among Democrats than among Republicans.
A state of denial exists in some quarters about this obvious reality. The country has moved left on economic issues over the course of the last decade, but the Democratic Party instead of embracing the themes of the Sanders insurgency has opted to try and script the process and play business as usual. Voters are showing their dissatisfaction with the Democrats by not turning out and even if Clinton wins because of a weak GOP nominee the current malaise WILL impact down ballot races. It is worth reminding our readers at this point that the Democrats hold a smaller percentage of state legislative seats nationally today than any time since the 1920’s.
Below in the comment section, I would love to hear from our readers and others active on the left as to what needs to be done to create excitement and turnout for 2016 other than simply demonizing Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. We’re all ears!