Friday, March 04, 2016

March 4, 2016--Voting With Their Feet

I have a smart friend who follows elections carefully. She is a Democrat and quite worried.

Before Super Tuesday she told me that the way she was going to think about the results was not so much following who-won-which-states and by what percentages--the usual way of keeping track of winners and losers--but rather by monitoring how many raw votes in the aggregate would be cast for both Democratic candidates versus how many in total would be cast for all the Republicans.

In that way, she said, she would see which party was winning the turnout race and, when comparing that to equivalent results from 2008 and 20012, she would get a sense of which party was generating the most excitement among voters.

She is even unhappier now than she was a week ago before Super Tuesday's votes were tallied.

Here's why--

Compared to 2008--the last time there was a contested Democratic primary--the number voting this year is down 32 percent.

And on the other side, the totals have skyrocketed--total GOP votes are up 61 percent compared to 2008 and a whopping 73 percent compared to four years ago.

Then, when comparing the total Republican vote to all who voted Democratic, the GOP candidates have garnered 2.8 million more votes than both Democratic candidates combined. In fact, GOP numbers are at all time highs. By more than a million vote.

What to make of this?

On the Democratic side an historic primary is underway with Hillary Clinton, the first woman likely to be nominated by a major party matched up against an exciting, voter-mobilizing Independent-Socialist contender, Bernie Sanders. One would think that they would turn out at least as many voters as Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their other rivals attracted eight years ago.

The Republicans, on the other hand, who began with a lackluster mob of 17 or so candidates with little cub appeal ranging from Scott Walker to George Pataki to the relatively uninspiring and robotic Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

This leaves us with one obvious explanation--Donald Trump.

Love him, hate him (and we know now who is doing the loving and hating) he is a vote machine. He might still be stopped--he is capable of shooting himself in the foot without warning--but at the moment he's setting all-time records.

My friend, as I said, is not happy. She's right not to be.

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