Storm Clouds Ahead for Democrats This Year?

2016 primary picWhat 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.

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Jack Fitz
Jack Fitz

Short answer to the title question is NO. 2008 was an actual race between Obama and Clinton whereas this year is Clinton’s to lose, barring an indictment. (Gotta love America) Also, I wouldn’t read the tea leaves too much from primary results. Many states, including ours, are open or semi-open primaries. As someone who plans on voting Democratic in November, I voted for Kasich on Tuesday because he’s level headed and the Republican party needs that. My bleeding heart sister-in-law who lives in Tennessee voted for Rubio on Tuesday, not as an endorsement as so much a vote against Trump.… Read more »

FreeDuck
FreeDuck

I did the same.

Another way to look at it is that Democrats would be content with either candidate and so don’t have a need to run to the primary polls. Republicans remain the party with the smallest voter identification nationwide. http://www.people-press.org/interactives/party-id-trend/

All that said though, a really strong third party candidate who entered around May could win, IMO. And that would make me happy.

Dave Bearse
Dave Bearse

Me three.

CoastalCat
CoastalCat

Ed, the reason the Dems didn’t run to the polls is that we have our candidate and she will win in November.

Only the GOP is thinning out their clown car bit by painful bit.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

I don’t know how much crossover voting is really a cause. The numbers are down in closed primaries as well. I agree with the idea that the seeming inevitability of Clinton’s candidacy has suppressed turnout. 2008 was a much more competitive race in the early primary states with Obama, Clinton, and, for a while, Edwards all seeming like viable candidates. 2008 is also an unfair year for comparison because of how good Obama’s turnout machine was, particularly with engaging and driving turnout from younger voters. Sanders and Clinton just cannot come close to that and I think it will be… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Be honest, Sanders is the one, driving any new voters to the Dems. On a macro the numbers are in the toilet. Young Dems are not feeling fired up it all for Hillary, as well blue collar white Dems. Saturday night Live did a great skit about the lack of love for her.

SNL‘s Hillary Clinton Sings ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’

John Konop
John Konop

I saw on TV today the following numbers to back up Rep Lindsey’s point. In 2008 to this point when Obama won. Dems had about 8mm votes in the primary Gop had about 5mm votes…. In this election with Trump winning: GOP has about 8.5mm Dems about 5.3mm The irony Trump would help the GOP down ticket like Obama did with all the new voters. Than math is the math….Fox, CNN, MSNBC all have had analysis say Trump like Obama did, is driving the numbers. If Trump gets run out the GOP they will take a beating in NOV. If… Read more »

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

John, You’re assuming that the “new” voters are constituencies that weren’t already in the GOP tent to begin with. The only groups that Trump seems to be appealing to that weren’t already Republican are white nationalists, anti-government folks who haven’t voted before, and imbeciles. As I mentioned yesterday, you can’t really widen the tent with more white men. The GOP already has them on lockdown. At this stage, I fail to see how he has any appeal to minority voters or women. In addition, the media attention in this campaign season has been largely centered on the Republicans. Part of… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

You are saying 20% of the Dems are “white nationalist” HUH???? Multiple polls, and results show that Trump is winning Reagan Dems, Independents and new voters across the country, adding on to traditional GOP vote. Our country has less than 1 percent of people in “white nationalist” type parties and or organizations. Your math does not add up! I was clear I am a Kasich supporter, but I am a realistic as well. I laugh because I feel like Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe on this blog, it is not, that I am endorsing or even supporting Trump, but it… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Andrew,

The blue collar Dems feel like they got left behind with trade and immigration policy ie Reagan Dems…..

…….. #1 Monday Feb 22 These Blue Collar Working Class Democrats will Vote for Donald Trump, But, Not for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz who have both said they will Cut Social Security…..

Donald Trump has said several times that he will Protect Social Security and strengthen it……

You can see how this has shown up in many polls as well as results.

http://www.topix.com/forum/city/orlando-fl/T0NPNKJJSNIV5392S

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

I’m not saying that 20% of Dems are white nationalists and I’m not quite sure how you could read my earlier statement and draw that conclusion. Trump is winning these mythical Trump-Democrats in a primary. Its no guarantee that they will support him in a general election. From what I’ve seen and observed, Trump has no cachet with center-right or centrist voters, two groups he’ll need if he wants to win a general election. As for the poll cited by the Hill, I would note it was conducted in early January, online, with no cross tabs available, and posited a… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

….. It’s bad polling all the way down the line. I’m sure I could have conducted the same poll and returned results saying 20% of Republicans would defect for Sanders… You could, but the votes would not add up. It is clear Trump is driving Obama like numbers in the primary. The Dems overall voter turnout is down, like the issue the GOP had in 08 against Obama. You could argue that Trump may not get GOP establishment vote in a general, creating a win for Hillary. But it is obvious his issue is not with voters outside of the… Read more »

chefdavid
chefdavid

So what you are saying is that in Georgia if the 329,000 democrats that wised up and voted republican stayed and voted democrat then Clinton would have lost the primary? feel the bern…. And then Trump and Rubio would be about out of it by now?

David C
David C

Comparing Dem turnout to 2008 is generally a bad idea because 2008 was an absurd outlier in terms of turnout. Current Dem turnout is above 2004, 2000, etc. In general two things drive Presidential primary turnout: Being out of power and a competitive race, and right now the Democrats have neither. The best analogue is 1988. That year there were 12 million Republican primary voters and 23 and a half million Democrats. Bush still stomped Dukakis by a landslide that fall: Why? Because Republicans were happy with Reagan and happy with Bush, while Democrats were starved for power and fighting… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Huh, I guess Bernie Sanders race with Hillary is not happening? I guess the low trust numbers for Hillary are just made up? And the low approval numbers for Obama are just made up? The working class Democrtas are happy thier manufacturing jobs got traded away? College are students are happy with thier massive student loans?

David C
David C

There were some Dole and Pat Robertson supporters in ’88 too. Dole won a few states. The presence of a race doesn’t necessarily mean broad dissatisfaction. But you look at the polls, President Obama’s approval with Democrats is 94%, HRC’s is about 84% (in the heat of a primary, no less, that will go up as the party rallies together as you head towards November). Beyond the white heat of Twitter, Democratic voters in exit poll after exit poll have favorable opinions of both candidates.

John Konop
John Konop

Not buying the Bernie crowd will come out, and vote for Hillary who represents the establishment on the DEM side.

John Konop
John Konop

From the left, making my same point.

……Don’t Assume Bernie Sanders Supporters Will Back Hillary Clinton If She’s The Nominee
Some of the Vermont senator’s fans would rather not vote — or even vote for Donald Trump — than vote for Hillary……….

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/bernie-sanders-supporters-wont-vote-hillary_us_56d7571ae4b0871f60edb9fe

Will Durant
Will Durant

I think Mr. Lindsey is whistling through the graveyard with this one. The Dems may not be too enthused at this point but many in the GOP are damn depressed at this point.