November Danger Signal

There is nothing that makes my heart drop down to my knees more quickly than a headline that reads “Trump Gets Some Good Election News.” But that was a Politico headline a week or so ago, and it was and is very troubling.

Late last month, the Democratic data firm TargetSmart found that while new voter registrations had plummeted amid the coronavirus pandemic, those who were registering in competitive states tended to be whiter, older and less Democratic than before.

When he saw the numbers, Ben Wessel, executive director of NextGen America, said he “got nervous,” and other Democratic-leaning groups felt the same.

The report seemed to confirm what state elections officials and voter registration groups had been seeing in the field for weeks: Neither Democrats nor Republicans had been registering many voters during the pandemic. But Democrats were suffering disproportionately from the slowdown.

Unlike countries like Australia, America doesn’t have mandatory voting. If U.S. voters want to ignore the political process, if we want to leave the outcome up to those most passionate about it, if we just don’t care and want to stay home, we can. One of the reasons polls can so often be misleading is that pollsters have to make educated guesses about who will actually show up on election day.

Unlike a lot of countries, America doesn’t have a national agency that administers federal elections, either. Election day isn’t a national holiday–it isn’t even on a weekend–and very few states have made it easier, rather than harder, to register and vote. Add to that the GOP’s determination to use every suppression method it can muster–including some recent “enthusiastic” purges of the voter registration rolls– and the fact that a substantial majority of Americans want Donald Trump and the GOP defeated becomes irrelevant.

As one political observer puts it, “The electoral dynamics have already hardened. Donald Trump will lose if everyone who wants to vote can. His remaining hope is to choose his own electorate.”

In our system, what matters isn’t what a majority of Americans think or want. What matters is who shows up.  

November has always been about turnout. Democrats need to turn out a blue wave–a blue tsunami–if voters are going to decisively defeat Trumpism. Whatever happens in the wake of such a defeat–further erosion and ultimate disappearance of the cult that was once the GOP, or a thorough housecleaning by the sane remnant–is less important than the decisiveness with which we defeat the corrupt and traitorous cabal that currently controls the White House and the Senate.

That tsunami cannot happen if Democratic registrations lag.

We know that Trump’s cult will show up at the polls. If rational Americans don’t register and vote in numbers sufficient to overwhelm them, we can kiss America goodby.

As Politico concluded:

The months-long lull in registration, at a minimum, has added an additional measure of uncertainty to the fall campaign, muddying the likely composition of the electorate. In some areas of the country, a swing of even several hundred voters could tilt the registration balance on Election Day.

Ask everyone you know whether they are registered. If they aren’t–or don’t know–get them registered. In Indiana, you–and they–can check whether they are registered by going here.

We can’t afford to let the polls lull us into false complacency. Again.


  1. Be careful what you ask for. You may get it. Remember that civil rights laws, at the federal level, passed, when they did, ONLY with Republican votes. This was the result of organized minorities, over time, getting what THEY wanted. Trump voters are only following precedent. Again, be careful what you ask for.

  2. I belong to a voter outreach entity that directly contacts would-be voters and instructs them how to register ON-LINE. Trump is defeating himself daily with his blatant madness. But, the bottom line to Sheila’s essay today is completely correct. We progressives in Colorado also want Cory Gardner to go back to the western slope and chase his goats.

  3. Vernon; Trump is only a distraction at this time, the election is being bought and paid for with the mega-millions in his campaign chest at the state level to assure Electoral College members will AGAIN appoint him to the presidency.

    Trump is in his glory as he moves into Idi Amin territory of terrorism and idiocy.

  4. I would first like to note with sadness the passing of John Lewis, civil rights icon, statesman, and champion of voting by every eligible voter in America. I never felt like a hypocrite addressing letters to The Honorable John Lewis.

    We need an awakening of the American public to the damage being done by the current President. One of the most horrifying is the use of Homeland Security Troops in uniforms that say only “Police”, without an agency designation, on the streets of Portland, Oregon. “Winter of the World” comes to life before our eyes as they take peaceful protesters into custody, without charges and whisk them away in unmarked vans. Both the mayor of Portland and the Governor of Oregon have asked that they be removed. Time to cut Homeland Security’s budget.

  5. JoAnn,

    You’d better be mistaken. In any case, we should be glad we’re old.

  6. ive spent many a hour discussing the voter suppression issue with like workers,many do not,understand how, or..well of course im talking mainly with white,blue collar,working class who of course dont read any news and get their head,lines from bubba down at the dew drop inn on sat nite..(maskless of course).. they havent a clue,and welcome the suppression to keep covid 45 on his padded throne. i do however get to discuss it with a few minorities. being from a diverse neighborhood, and mingling with said people where i see them up here in blood red trumpville, anyone who hasnt voted,some proding is needed,and, mentoring..theres nothing wrong with holding someones hand to discuss why we have a democracy,and who,voted for it. its obvious we have a paramilitary like push to restrict the process. we read of places to vote are rare, long lines, and obvious two tongue where to sign up and precents….in NoDak we can register while looking at the voting line..all and every state should be this way..we, all here, know and why, but it will make some sense to find how to register,what is needed, go to the sites,and look over them,again.ask intelligent questions,and help someone register,or, get a mail in. do the app yourself,(just to see the results,but dont press the finish button unless you need one)and then,hold that hand,in proxy. ive read the articles how, voter registration is down,way down. somewhere in the sub floor of a parking garage. we all have the democratic backbone in us, we understand how we got here,and who, the decisive asswipe(s)who promotes their own agenda,(wall streets)over the needs of others. when election day arrives, bring a chair for some one to sit while waiting. those, like many of us, are of advanced age,and that may help them,withstand the game of discrimination. just a helping hand like this would encourage others to stand and make that decisions to change this mistake. we need to bring a together now..not in a few weeks. discussion is fine, find some with a little more on the level of the people you are in discussion with. i come to this site to get more info,and the discussion of the days topic. i am not educated like you are, i am however a reader,and undersand what you have to say. my come backs at times are crude,and often above the topics.i have a place in society,its in a working world that sees little sunshine at times and has plenty of fog. i relate many of the topics here to others. your input allows me to take my language to others in the same socioeco, genre and discuss the issues,in our own ways. we all respect those who have been educated and shown a sense of being there when the shit hits the fan. thanks, your words and past education has made the lot of you a enjoyment to have. i recognize where many of ypu have been,and where you take your past,into,others worlds. lets get some people on the voting rolls,and see what happens.
    its not a trump issue, its a US issue…best wishes.. id like to say, the passing of Rep.John Lewis, a icon of a man,who walked the torch of freedom all the way to the end. Thank You..

  7. Sadly I’m afraid that we are doomed to repeat 2016, Republicans work very hard to suppress voting across the country and along with extreme gerrymandering they have been very successful in stealing elections. Many poor working people don’t have the time or energy to devote to being educated voters, and they see their votes invalidated over and over again. We have allowed these despicable hateful Republicans to get away with their crimes for years so they continue to lie, cheat and steal elections by any means necessary

  8. If at this point the Democrats are aware of sagging registrations they need to kick it into gear. The Corona has certainly impacted the ability to register and the GOP has certainly tried to impede all they can a big turnout.

    A few days ago I posted that observers were predicting that even in face of gross negligence on the part of The Trump Regime to deal with Corona at the medical and economic levels, The Trumpers will come out to vote for him. These observers were not taking the 2018 Blue Wave for granted. The reasoning was The Trumpers are Republicans – They are first and foremost loyal to The Trumpet and not to the Republican Party. The concern was these Cult Trumpeters may have sat out 2018 – They will come out to vote for The Trumpet in 2020.

    It is so hard to believe that in the face of incompetence by The Trumpet and Pastor Pence and rambling incoherent babble by The Trumpet he still has the GOP and Trumpters behind him.

    The Trumpet in order to not face the music of the Corona medical disaster and it’s economic damage – exhibits profound indifference to the climbing body count, instead he tries to deflect the narrative.

  9. The 30% voting for Trump in 2016 are not the problem. The 40% who did not bother to vote ARE THE PROBLEM.

  10. All states have different election laws and different demographics so whatever can be done to encourage participation must be done by state level organizations.

    To me, now that the campaigning has really begun what I see and hear is very encouraging. Biden is saying all of the right things and Trump all of the wrong things. Let’s hope that that continues.

    Also I see the most important manifestations of Trump’s incompetence and corruption adding to the stinking pile that has been building for almost four years.

    More and more it seems that they only chance Trump has to win is to steal the election and I’m sure that the feelers are out for foreign and domestic helpers for Trump and Republicans.

    Clearly it won’t be over until November third but all of the controls occur before then. It’s good to be alert and involved in the Democrat organizations in your locale and there is a great deal of intel behind the relative importance of votes in your state.

    We all wish for each vote to count the same but the reality is that we are nowhere near that as reality. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate at the local level and keep a close eye out for suspicious activities on entertainment media of all kinds but especially social media.

    Vote blue no matter who.

  11. Jack, as a longtime reader and admirer of Mrs. Kennedy’s work, I do admit to some confusion regarding your writing style and sometimes rambling missives early on. However, I have come to consider you amongst the most astute posters on this site, offering a perspective oftentimes missing from us “college educated elites.” Please do not apologize. You are a treasure. We would be less if you were to leave us.

  12. Dan makes a good point. There are some who would vote for Adolph Hitler if he had an R beside his name on the ballot, and the same with Trump, who doesn’t know or care what he is.

    Lately I have zeroed in on Georgia, where we have (per Abrams) voter suppression out the gazoo but also have an opportunity to pick up TWO Senate seats since both current Republicans have serious ethical problems. I am thinking we could pick up two seats in one state if voter suppression is held at bay and that that would do more to put McConnell in the minority (if he is reelected though it would be great if Amy could send him back to Louisville). I think reclaiming the Senate is an absolute must in the unlikely but possible event Trump is reelected or, for that matter, if he isn’t. Biden will need help in some of the New Deal initiatives he is discussing as well as the possibility of again offering Obama’s Mitch-aborted Garland to the Supreme Court in the event of vacancy.

    As to today’s topic, I knew many old time politicians who told me to always run scared. They were right. There is no substitute for turnout, and turnout requires organization. In retrospect, and truth be told, this fall’s election is being won or lost right now in organizational terms, and the good news is that Republicans as well as Democrats are similarly hampered in door to door efforts due two the pandemic. I presume our organizational Democrats are thinking phone calls, postcards and other means of communicating with registered voters and helping register the unregistered. Whatever works to enhance turnout. . .

    I am reading of evangelicals and independents who are abandoning Trump and voting for Biden and am seeing Biden ahead by double digits in polling, but these reports are anecdotal and are not dependable since this is July, not November 3. The old politicians were right: RUN SCARED. (But run hard and take no prisoners come fall.)

  13. I doubt Sheila is arguing for mandatory voting. To me mandatory voting would certainly violate the liberty protections guaranteed by the Constitution. People certainly have, or should have, the right not to vote if they do not want to.

    I doubt Democrats have anything to be worried about, but as someone who desperately wants not just Trump, but Trumpism, to be defeated, I want the Democrats to be worried. You want candidates and political parties to run scared they’re going to lose. Fear of losing is a great motivating force. The last thing you want is to tell the troops there is nothing to worry about, you have the election won.

    As far as voter suppression, I would urge Democrats to be more precise in their accusation and not label everything “voter suppression.” While we certainly can quibble on what type of ID should be allowed, there is certainly nothing wrong with requiring a photo ID to vote (Indiana’s signature requirement that preceded it was a joke) and there is nothing wrong with Republican office-holders following the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act purging voters who haven’t been casting ballots for several elections and who haven’t returned a post card saying they want to remain a registered voter. There is no evidence that these, again legally required, purges are disenfranchising huge swaths of voters, as Stacey Abrams claims. I have looked closely at the voting states and there simply is no evidence that the photo ID or purges have reduced turnout. While Stacey Abrams complains constantly of voter suppression in the 2018 Georgia governor’s race, the fact is that election featured record turnout, including among African-American voters. As a side note, I so wish the media would fact check Abrams on her claims. Instead, they never challenge her claims, instead just giving her free air time to repeat a bunch of lies about what happened in GA in 2018. (For the record, I’m no fan of Governor Kemp.)

    I have worked the polls and had to deal with widows coming in to vote and seeing their dead husband on the voter rolls year after year. It’s very upsetting. As an election official, I can tell you if a person hasn’t voted once in a four year election cycle, the odds are about 99.9% they are dead or have moved. In the 20 or so years I worked the polls, I never once came across a person wanting to vote who couldn’t because they had been purged from the voter rolls.

    But that doesn’t mean there aren’t real instances of voter suppression. Republicans trying to ban people from voting by mail, forcing them to risk their lives by going to the polls, that’s real voter suppression. The trouble is Democrats are constantly crying voter suppression on EVERYTHING, so people do not believe them there actually is a tactic that constitute real voter suppression.

  14. Sheila,
    I don’t know why you pick a link to a third party voter registration site rather than sending people directly to the State of Indiana voter registration site.

    It always makes me uncomfortable going through a third party.

  15. Nancy and Dan: Keep posting voter registration information. Some will actually be inspired to go there and do what needs to be done. They shouldn’t tarry. Time’s a’wasting! Don’t panic—do register and vote (blue)!

    Remember the old saw: “BAD officials are elected by GOOD citizens who don’t vote!” Take 2016, for example.

  16. The page linked above – “” has a link to register, but (although I didn’t follow that link, since I’m already registered), a better way to check your registration is to follow the “Check voting status” link at There are also links there to download a request form for absentee-by-mail voting (download it, print it out, fill it out, and mail it to your county election official) and other good elections info. It appears that is largely focused on increasing voter participation through registration, which is certainly a worthy goal, but current or prospective voters may find more useful info. at the indianavoters portal. Everyone should check there status there, to insure they haven’t been purged or lost, or to pursue re-registration if they’ve moved or changed their name (e.g. gotten married, etc.). We need EVERY VOTE!

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