What is happening to the Democratic Party this year? The attention being given on cable television to the raucous Republican campaign masks deep problems for Democrats’ prospects. Two different articles online in the AJC and New York Times today should be sending progressives to the pharmacy for antacids.
Here are the Georgia numbers. The overall voter turnout in our state in the 2008 and 2016 Presidential Primaries was comparable – 2.02 million in 2008 and 2.053 million in 2016 – a mere 51 thousand voter increase in a state that witnessed an estimated population surge, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2010 and 2015 of over 600,000 people.
The difference between 2008 and 2016 was the dramatic shift as to which party voters chose to cast their ballots in the presidential primary. In 2008, The Obama wave brought out 1.060 million Democratic voters compared to only 963 thousand Republican voters. This year, Democratic turnout dropped significantly to only 761 thousand voters compared to 1.292 million Republican voters.
Georgia is not an anomaly. The New York Times article points out that this same phenomenon is occurring in other primaries where Democratic turnout has dropped from a quarter to half from 2008 levels.
Donald Trump and the tone of Republican race may have its critics – count me as one of them – but there is no question that the excitement and enthusiasm this year is on the Republican side. The American voters want change and not a third Obama term that Hillary Clinton is promising. The question now is whether the GOP presidential race disintegrates into a fractured blood bath that allows it to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Stay tuned.