Why Smart Democrats Worry About Turnout From The Base In 2016
Last week was a good one for the White House between the Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare, same-sex marriage, and redistricting and Obama's success in getting enough conservative, corporately owned Democrats-- primarily New Dems-- to vote with the GOP to pass Wall Street's trade agenda (Fast Track, as a prelude to TPP). The president's approval rating is back over 50%.
But Democrats have reason to worry that by 2016 they may have a hard time getting their voters to the polls, as Alexis Simendinger has written for Real Clear Politics. Driven by a competing set of emotions: pure greed and selfishness on the one hand and a sense of ginned-up grievance on the other, Republican voters are gung-ho to capture the White House and hold both houses of Congress. A clownish, patently dishonest and openly racist Donald Trump is polling second among 20 Republicans for the nomination. Normal people laugh; Republicans drool.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters, "The hedge fund contributors loom very large in Albany and they have way too much influence. That is a fact." I think everyone knows it and few Democrats outside the Beltway careerists can stand it. (Remember, Wall Street's favorite Member of Congress is not Boehner or McConnell; it's Chuck Schumer, on whom they've lavished, since 1990, an unprecedented $21,052,681, more than any Member other than those running for president. Wall Street has given him nearly double what they've given Boehner, who the Democratic Party would like you to think of as a total Wall Street whore-- as he and Schumer both are.
When Wall Street gets bent out of shape over the populism of Bernie Sanders and, especially, Elizabeth Warren, they go whining and fuming to Schumer, and to their House tool, Steve Israel. Both are working hard to please Wall Street by recruiting conservative pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business candidates to run as Democrats. Schumer is fighting like a savage to make sure lifelong Republican and Wall Street suck-up Patrick Murphy is the Democratic nominee for Marco Rubio's open Senate seat in Florida, and he is vigilant that as few Democrats as possible from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party get near party nominations.
Over on the House side, Steve Israel and hapless sock-puppet Ben Ray Luján are also running around recruiting Blue Dogs, New Dems and outright Republicans. Their latest is Mike Derrick, to run against popular Republican Elise Stefanik in NY-21, a district in which Obama beat Romney 63.3 to 35.2%-- a phenomenal 28.1 point spread. Derrick is a Republican who's conveniently calling himself a Democrat now. Apparently Israel doesn't think a real Democrat could win in NY-21, despite Obama's landslide there. Similarly, Schumer doesn't want Grayson, an outspoken tribune for working families, to win a Senate seat, and his solution is Republican-"turned"-Democrat Patrick Murphy, a New Dem backbencher who votes with the Republican Party more than nearly any other Democrat in the House.
There are scores of cases just like this across the country. And Democrats wonder why their base doesn't turn out? In the Real Clear Politics piece linked above, Alexis Simendinger takes a look at the dilemma Democrats face with corrupt Wall Street-owned careerists like Schumer and Israel running the party. He sees, like almost anyone outside of DC can see, that base Democrats are extremely skeptical about what their party is offering up. "They doubt, he writes, "presidential contenders can deliver favored reforms from Washington, no matter how enticing the policy agendas sound. Those doubts depress enthusiasm about next year’s White House contest and could impact turnout for the eventual Democratic nominee."
Americans want change and reforms, but “people don’t think any of this is going to happen,” Stan Greenberg, chairman and CEO of polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, said during a reporter roundtable organized by the Christian Science Monitor.Candidate recruitment from the DSCC and the DCCC will tend to turn off committed Democrats and progressives. No progressive is going to vote for Patrick Murphy in Florida. Monica Vernon, another "ex"-Republican Israel dug up (IA-01), is not liked in her district, especially among Democrats who know exactly what she is, but Israel considers the seat a "must win." If he had any sense at all, he would encourage former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy, a dedicated progressive with an astounding record of achievement, to run. But Israel doesn't want populists like Murphy in the House. He prefers "Democats" more like the other Murphy, the aisle-crossing one from Florida.
Their skepticism doesn’t turn on the idea of a Democratic nominee who would follow a two-term Democrat, President Obama. “It’s because the old political system is uniquely corrupted” in their eyes, Greenberg said. “What matters is how deep the critique people have about what’s happening in the country, both politically and economically.”
Voters define corruption as money in politics and Washington power brokers who are self-serving and disconnected from everyday Americans and their concerns. This is why Clinton’s wealth, the Clinton Foundation’s fundraising, her decades lived as a VIP, and her missing emails discourage some voters from accepting the leading Democratic candidate as trustworthy, even if they favor the economic and social policies she stakes out.
...To succeed Obama, a Democratic candidate has to animate secular voters and what Greenberg calls the rising American electorate (unmarried women, people of color, and younger voters). These slices of the population will make up a majority of the total electorate for the first time in 2016, according to the pollster.
Greenberg insisted Clinton’s progressive campaign agenda is not a mirror image of Obama’s governing platform. “I would dispute that Obama was on this agenda” of equal pay, preserving Medicare and Social Security, promoting infrastructure spending, helping working women and reducing college debt burdens, he said, pointing to questions posed to respondents as part of the survey.
“The country doesn’t think he was dealing with this agenda. The first time he really talked about this is this year’s State of the Union” address, Greenberg said firmly.
...The Democratic Party’s strategy to hold control of the White House and win congressional seats next year relies on America’s shifting demographics and on voter turnout. But “if the disparity in enthusiasm is not addressed, that strategy is at risk,” Democracy Corps wrote in a synopsis of the findings that began, “Democrats need to give voters a reason to participate.”
The threat comes down to an enthusiasm gap of 19 points between the Democrats who say they are “extremely interested” in the congressional and local races in 2016, and the much more energized GOP voters.
Progressive groups like DFA, MoveOn, PCCC and Blue America are recruiting actual progressives to run in winnable seats, like Lou Vince in CA-25 and Jason Ritchie in WA-08, two blue-trending districts that the DCCC gave away to the GOP in past years. To see all the Blue America House candidates this year and-- if you want-- to give them a hand with their grassroots campaigns, please check out this page. And the Blue America Senate candidates are here.
By the way, the video up top sends Schumer and Israel into orbit. You should watch it and think about why they hate it-- and hate Grayson-- so much. Blue America has some ideas of how to deal with the DINOs Israel and Schumer have recruited, who have let working families down: