Well, This is Terrifying…

According to a study of voter participation in primaries thus far, Republicans are turning out in unusually high numbers, even for them.

And worse, Democrats aren’t. (Despite all the hype about “feeling the Bern,” turnout isn’t reflecting a groundswell for Bernie Sanders, and Hillary is widely considered competent but uninspiring.)

Turnout has long been the GOP’s ace-in-the-hole. According to both voter registration rolls and polling results, Democrats outnumber Republicans nationally by a comfortable margin. Granted, both gerrymandering and what has been called “residential sorting”–the fact that Democrats tend to cluster in urban areas while Republicans are more numerous in rural and suburban precincts–operate to favor Republicans. Republicans have also been much better at voter suppression tactics like Voter ID.

But Republicans’ real advantage has been turnout. For whatever reason, the party has been able to get more of its voters to the polls than the Democrats.

Scholars at the Brookings Institution have suggested that McConnell’s Supreme Court obstruction is largely about turnout.

This approach [total obstruction].. breathes fresh life and fresh fight into the conservative base and serves as a potentially unifying issue after a divisive Republican presidential primary season.

In other words, obstruction and partisanship motivate the base.

This year, if Republicans once again turn out in greater numbers than Democrats, the disparity could give us the unthinkable—President Trump.


  1. I listened to Sen Sanders speak in Michigan last night. How wonderful to hear what he has to say and see people respond to it. When I see that, I have some hope for us.

  2. “Despite all the hype about “feeling the Bern,” turnout isn’t reflecting a groundswell for Bernie Sanders, and Hillary is widely considered competent but uninspiring.”

    My view of this problem is the type of voter that is a Democrat. Bernie’s supporters are young and they just don’t vote. Hillary’s supporters vote, but they may not be the type to get others to support their candidate. Many of my fellow die-hard Democrats tell me it doesn’t matter who wins, they will vote for the Democrat. And that, I think does not inspire people to go out and vote.

  3. I am not excited about anyone running for POTUS this year, and Donald Trump in the lead concerns me deeply! For the life of me, I do not understand why there is not equal (or greater) concern about the Democrat front runner!

  4. Teresa Kendall says: “Bernie’s supporters are young and they just don’t vote.”

    Sadly, one of these days they may not be able to. We’re headed that way because of voter IDs now. Today it’s only a few old WWII veterans. Tomorrow, a few young Iraq veterans?

  5. I was always surprised when I would hear and read about people saying the Republican Party is just the party of old white men. It is still Lilly White but as anyone can see from the voter rallies the Republican Candidates draw on a cross section of age in the Republican Party.
    I have the felt the Bern, and I am surprised that so many Democrats just expected the Coronation of Hillary. The McMega-Media and the Corporate Pundits have endlessly sold this Coronation. The Democrats are not comparison shopping, instead they seem to be reaching for the familiar but IMHO the flawed Clinton Brand.

    There are huge differences between Hillary and Bernie.

  6. I know a few that won’t vote in the primary because you have to declare your party. I always hated that because I was taught that voting was anonymous so the proof of that is, that it isn’t unless you live in a state with open primaries.

    Another reason is that the over 50 crowd watch MSM tv news that give the impression that the top runners have already been decided. Millennials get their news on-line so the talking points are much more honest and accurate because they are already on the internet and can google the results without listening to the MSM (which is owned by 6 Corporations making the decisions for us).

    Need Proof? Just look at the delegate totals they give Hillary vs Bernie even though those ‘reserved’ super delegate counts are given to Hillary but the popular vote can override those reserved super delegates at the convention! And this morning I proved to my spouse that they don’t do that for the republicans! Truth in delegate counts can sway people’s motivation! Maybe the Professor can tell me why they do that for the Dems but not the Reps?

    The other item working against primaries is that California is the last to vote on June 7th. Those residents are really upset that their voices haven’t been heard at all and I’ve seen several threads about their disgust that those running haven’t even gotten out west yet.

    I say we should have 50 state primaries just like the general and have it on the same day as the rest of the country. We could have round one in March, round two in August and the general in November. That way, everyone votes on the same day so that all voters get a chance to vote before their prospective nominee drops out when they don’t have the delegate count they need. Hopefully, that will shorten the cycle and everyone will get a chance to vote in the primary and in the general. Maybe then, the turnout at the polls will even out. (?)

  7. In addition to gerrymandering, voter ID laws and residential sorting I believe the Republicans use FEAR as one of their strongest tools to get people out to vote. They focus on instilling fear into their voters and the Democrats do not speak about fear. The fear tactic has served the Republican party very well.

    Democrat party members seem to be more focused on what is good for the nation and everyone, rather than overpowering certain segments of society. Republican party members tend to create anger and hatred of the less fortunate in our society by claiming that they are sponging off of those with jobs. This hatred of so-called lazy people is the main complaint I hear from Republicans in my area. The people that they have been trained to despise may be working two or more part time jobs or one part time job or are unable to find any job at all, but that doesn’t matter. If people can’t financially support themselves then they are considered to be worthless people in the local Republican minds. They seem completely oblivious to how many former middle class members of society in this area are now just barely scraping by at best- through no fault of their own.

    On a positive note – after the most recent debate I hear many Republicans state how disgusted they are with their candidates and are saying that they will not be voting. That is good to hear.

  8. Louie – the media has been putting Hillary in the lead simply by keeping her in the news and very rarely putting Bernie in the spotlight. They have ignored him or purposely kept him out of the news.

  9. “This year, IF Republicans once again turn out in greater numbers than Democrats, the disparity SHOULD give us the unthinkable—President Trump.”

    I believe a more beneficial statement would be: “This year, Republicans will once again turn out in greater numbers than Democrats (just like they did to ensure George Bush #2 would be reelected in 2004) the disparity will give us the unthinkable —President Trump.”

    It’s hard for me to forget evangelist Billy Graham, speaking two days before the 2004 Presidential election on the Florida News Network and thus to its radio affiliates all over the state endorsing George Bush #2 for President. That is why Bush won Florida and thus the Presidency.

    They aren’t stupid, we are.

    Doris Lessing, the Nobel author and activist, wasn’t being stupid when she made the political observation, “Human beings don’t take pre-emptive action.”

    We better prove her wrong before it’s too late.

  10. AgingLGrl – I so agree with you that all primaries should be on the same day. It sure would be nice to not have to endure the endless political ads and news coverage. It would also put an end to mega-media having so much influence over the voters.

  11. My impression is that the voter turn out is mainly due to the choices, nothing more.

    On the Democratic side most assume Hillary will win so there is not strong motivation to vote.

    On the Republican side there are ideological differences which are motivating the various segments of the party to vote as well as others. The Evangelical Christians/Conservatives-Cruz, Non-religious/Conservatives-Rubio, Moderates-Kassich,Non-establishment-Trump.

  12. I’ve been taking a very informal, low-key, poll of my friends and colleagues regarding the election. As you would likely expect, some are Republicans, some are Democrats, and others are Independents and Libertarians. Of these there’s a mix of conservatives, liberals and progressives. The vast majority of them are just disgusted with politics and their reaction to that disgust is to tune it out and more than likely stay at home on election day.

    I can’t believe that these folks are much different than any other group of folks in the country where some of them follow this stuff intently as I do , some pay attention to it via headlines, and where some don’t at all but the central thread is, again, disgust and also disillusionment. If this is indicative of the country as a whole we could end up like you’ve said Sheila with Donald Trump in the White House by default or where we could also end up with someone that could be far worse than that if that can be imagined and that’s having Ted Cruz in the White House.

    You, yourself Sheila, had a post maybe a week ago now where you quoted someone as saying that “the Republicans are crazy and the Democrats are worthless”. This is how most people look at this regardless of their political affiliation and yet they stand willing to elect these same crazy and worthless people to represent them again. There is no autopilot to any of this to take care of things while people figuratively stick their heads in the sand like so many ostriches and tune out once again. While many indeed act like ostriches those that don’t, particularly those that aren’t interested in governing but instead only want to rule, will thoroughly clean our clocks. The seemingly new national past time, setting in motion what we’re trying to prevent, wins out once again and this time the results won’t be in Iraq or somewhere else thousands of miles away. Nope, those disastrous results will be right here in the good old U.S.A.

    We’re all in very deep trouble here folks. We need to wake up to the risks arrayed against us and do so now.

  13. Here it comes again just like in 2004:

    “For months, volunteers have been planning the Greater Jacksonville Festival of Hope, a three-day evangelistic gathering (it includes the City of Jacksonville, the Duval County School System, and the African-American community) in LATE MAY sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Society.”

    The Republicans did the same thing in 2004 before the Presidential Election. Billy Graham reserved Alltel Stadium here in Jacksonville the week before the Presidential Election. He filled the stadium to capacity every day. They were coming from all over the state. The Democratic Party knew this was coming for over a year and did absolutely nothing to prevent the effect it would have on the Presidential election. By November, Donald Trump will be a “born again Christian.”

    The Democratic Party will be silent again. Mark my words. They’re led and ADVISED by a bunch of POLITICAL COWARDS.

  14. For those who believe that main stream media is locking Bernie out, please check his Sunday morning guest spots against Hillary’s. You’ll see he has been given an advantage there.

    I’d like to speak up for Hillary, if I may. For the past 20 years, she has been the subject of investigation after investigation by Republicans in Congress. Each investigation has cost millions of dollars and produced no indictment. The Republicans don’t care that their investigations go nowhere, as long as they taint Hillary’s name.

    There has been much made about her Wall Street connections. She took a lot of money to give speeches. Frankly, if anyone offered me a $100K payday for a speech, I’d take it in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t you? BTW, I’m a lot funnier than Hillary and my speeches are more entertaining, if you’re looking for a keynoter for your next event.

    Hillary has been giving us policy positions that are workable. Everybody loves to hear about pie in the sky, but it just doesn’t happen overnight. Pin your hopes and dreams on “Feeling the Bern” and watch over time as the sky comes tumbling down. Remember that Hillary worked on a single payer plan in the 90s. She got blasted out of that dream rather overwhelmingly. It took 20 years to get ACA after that. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing. As a government insider, I can tell you that’s just the way it is.

  15. There is not “equal concern about the Democratic front runner” because she isn’t a f#*@*’g maniac! Holy false equivalency, Batman!!!

  16. Peggy,

    “Pin your hopes on “Feeling the Bern” and watch over time as the sky comes tumbling down.”

    You’re absolutely right. The more we hang onto Bernie Sanders, the more difficult it’s going to be to defeat Donald Trump with the only possible Democratic Party candidate: Hillary Clinton.

  17. Kevin,

    Thanks. I might add: $-? to the maniac, who I suggest is a SOCIOPATH as distinguished from a psychopath. I believe I’ve mentioned it before that my specialty as an attorney in Dallas was the use of the insanity defense. More specifically: The diagnosis of Early Onset Schizophrenia which generally leads to sociopathic conduct.

    Maybe I should interview for a place on the Donald Trump campaign. I think he might need me, hopefully, much sooner than later.

  18. HRC is the poster child for (R)egistering the team. They cannot wait to come and vote against her and she drives their enthusiasm. Whoever said there was an enthusiasm gap has not considered that there most certainly isn’t – its just for the wrong side. She can’t beat the freak show that is Trump and she cannot convince the (D) party that she is not (R) lite. The only glimmer of hope is that she has forgotten how many super delegates swooped off her train and shifted for PBO. After last night, there is a very real possibility that Sanders winning MI could change the entire story, and hundreds of thousands of energetic, committed voters are hoping for just that. There is no need to take pictures of that crowd with a fish-eye lens, they’re there and ready to turn out the vote for Sanders.

  19. One thing that may explain some of this is the difference between a primary and a general election.

    I think that most Democrats are somewhat ambivalent about the primary which is a good thing. Two equally qualified and constructive but otherwise different candidates in style.

    On the Republican side there is much at stake about who would be the most destructive candidate among Trump and Cruz and Rubio. For those who feel entitled to extraordinary control of others the methodology employed by Trump and the others is huge and Cruz and Rubio though equally subservient to those who want to take over the country have completely different appeals.

    Those circumstances to me are consistent with low Democratic primary turnout and high Republican primary turnout.

    But look at the motivation in a general election between potentially president Trump and potentially president Hillary. I think that turnout will be record on both sides of the aisle.

    And that favors all Democrat candidates.

    Get prepared to work hard in the Democrat general campaign.

  20. Pete,

    “I think that turnout will be record on both sides of the aisle. And that favors all Democrat candidates. Get prepared to work hard in the Democrat general campaign.”

    Terrific prediction. I wonder what the odds are, right now, on that scenario in Las Vegas? We need to place our bets and make sure we win. Great opportunity for us. We might not have one like this again. We control the outcome. You can’t do that in a “real” horse race unless you want to go to Jail.



  22. Gwen,

    Bernie Sanders has done a lot of good. No doubt about it. But his victories in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine are for the most part anomalies because of the small number of African-Americans in those states. African-Americans are voting for Hillary Clinton. Louis Farrakhan has been speaking favorably about Donald Trump. So has the KKK. The last thing we need now is a war between African-Americans and Jews in the Democratic Party which was exactly the Republican plan for George Bush’s re-election in 1990.

    The Republican strategy always includes divide and conquer. In 1990, It blew up in their face in Dallas over the battle for one man, one vote.

    To be real honest, I was the culprit in that one. And Bill Clinton eventually was elected. We might not be that lucky this time.

    Did you ever wonder why Bernie Sanders is not attacked ferociously like Hillary Clinton? It’s because the Republicans need him for their “final solution.” A UNITED Republican Party and a DIVIDED Democratic Party.


  23. In the grand scheme of things each of us have very little control over anything. We live our lives in a soup of physical reality over which we have no control and as one of 7B humans the overwhelming majority of which don’t know that we even exist. In truth the choices are only between accepting that truth or revolting ineffectively against it.

    Fortunately where any of us choose to position ourselves on the spectrum between the illusion of control and the reality of acceptance comes with a political worldview.

    Those who elect the illusion of control find those around them on the spectrum are largely conservatives. Those who position themselves closer to realistic find liberals around them. In all cases the culture of the neighbors tends to fix our position wherever it is.

    Liberals favor solutions to the problems that emerge from the chaos and conservatives favor focusing on the little over which some control is possible and ignoring the much over which progress is the best that we can do – the only control available to us.

    Trump promises to control the chaos so that only problems we can handle emerge. Bernie and Hillary promise to meet problems that emerge head on and realistically and make progress towards a better world.

    Ladies and gentlemen, where on the spectrum are you positioned?

    Many who good fortune has smiled on elect conservative because they assume that they personally managed the chaos that favored them. Many less fortunate assume that they have no control. The truth of course is in between. We don’t control chaos but it could still reward us as the lottery might for being in the right place and time. It’s equally likely though for any of us to be in the wrong place or time.

    Political promises assume chaos can be controlled. It can’t. Political skill promises to address what emerges and find favorable solutions that adapt our lives to the reality that surrounds us.

    Accepting reality or the illusion of control. Take your pick.

  24. Conservatives wish for a reality that says they can raise expenses in the biggest part of the budget, defense, while cutting smallest part, social services, and save money. They believe we can raise expenses and cut revenue and not create debt. They believe that us militarily imposing what’s best for us on the rest of the world will lead to peace. They believe that those who collect killing machines for a hobby don’t threaten the nearly 100 friends and family who die every day from those collections but prevent crime. They believe that if there is a God He’s Christian. They believe mankind came from magic not evolution. They believe that we can just shoo away the consequences of burning fossil fuels by wishing the weren’t. They believe that freedom does not come from democracy.

    The list goes on and on.

  25. Pete,

    “The list goes on and on.”

    Let me add to the list if you don’t mind. They believe truth is fiction. Sanity is a hallucination. I was with a few of these so called conservatives a few hours ago at my friends bookstore. I discussed things like we do on the Blog. I was accused of hallucinating and did I consider checking into a mental hospital.

    This guy wasn’t trying to be a “smart ass.” He was serious. He’s been BRAIN WASHED. We all need to watch the movie: The Manchurian Candidate (I believe that was the title) again to really understand what has happened to America.

    Wow! Are we ever in a mess.

  26. The Republicans have also self-sorted authoritarians into their party. These are folks who will listen to their community leaders and do fall in line more readily. One word of advice to Centrist Liberals and Leftist. Stop using language like “terrifying” when describing a potential Trump Presidency. That just emboldens the culture warriors on the Right. They enjoy that type of language because to them that means we are quaking in our boots. We are so polarized that that alone motivates many of his voters.

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