Saturday, October 06, 2018

The way forward

Voter turnout in the Midterm Elections next month will determine whether democracy will survive in the USA. Democrats and Democratic-supporting Independents need to turn out in massive numbers because Republicans definitely will vote. Whoever gets the most voters to the polls will determine everything, and money will help overcome the massive advantages that Republicans have.

It’s important to raise money in to punish candidates who support the extremist Republican agenda, and that’s already happening in the Maine Senate race for 2020, as I talked about in my previous post. But it’s even more important to reward the “good guys”, and that is happening, too.

The chart from ActBlue was posted on their Twitter account, and shows the contributions per minute (that blue part of the graph) after North Dakota US Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced she was voting against Kavanaugh. It was a new record.

But the records don’t stop there: This past quarter was ActBlue’s biggest ever.

On September 28, the day after Professor Ford testified, ActBlue donors contributed over $11 million, the first time donations crossed $10 million in one day. They kept going; $16.8 million was donated on September 30, spread among a record 307,320 contributions. All up, donors gave $184,841,230 in September.

All that added onto the total amount donated in the Third Quarter of this year: $385,176,557 for 9,335 Democratic campaigns, and it was raised on an average contribution of $49.48. The total this quarter was more than the $335 million donated for the entire 2014 election cycle. Moreover, the amount raised to this point in the election cycle, $1.3 billion, is nearly twice what was donated by this point in 2016.

All of that means energy and commitment—people putting their money where their mouth is. All of that won’t mean anything if they don’t turn out to vote, and the contributions this late in the game will help with that, too: Campaigns need money for their GOTV (Get Out The Vote) efforts.

At the moment, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen. Gallup reported late last month that supporters of both parties are enthusiastic about voting in November, and provided some historic context:
Sixty-one percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners and 58% of Republicans and Republican leaners say they are more enthusiastic about voting in November compared to prior elections. These levels roughly match Republicans' record-high enthusiasm in 2010, Barack Obama's first midterm, when the GOP won a whopping 63 seats. But this is the first time in Gallup's trend since 1994 that both parties have expressed high enthusiasm.

By contrast, the only two other times a majority of either party felt more enthusiastic than usual about voting, there was a partisan imbalance. In 2010, Republicans were far more likely than Democrats to be enthusiastic—63% vs. 44%—and in 2006, Democrats were more likely than Republicans, 53% to 44%.
In 2006, Democrats took control of the US House, and in 2010, Republicans took it back.

At that same time, Gallup also reported that that many voters planned on using their vote to send a message about the current occupant of the White House, with 25% wanting to send a message in support of him, and 31% wanting to send a message in opposition. This information was based on polling conducted before Professor Ford’s testimony; there’s no way to know how that would affect a poll if taken since then.

Gallup also reported a few days earlier that Republican favourability rating was at its highest point in seven years, hitting 45% as opposed to the Democrats at 44%. Would those percentages be the same after the Kavanaugh confirmation fight? We don’t know.

The important thing about all those poll numbers is that they underscore that unless Democrats and Independents turn out to vote for Democrats, Republicans will win. Raising record amounts of money for Democrats absolutely will help, especially with the vital GOTV efforts, but it will take a lot of work, money, volunteers and—most important of all—VOTES in order to overcome the massive advantage Republicans have from gerrymandering, corporate cash, and voter suppression efforts.

The best news of all is that there CAN be a “Blue Wave” in November. All we have to do is make it happen. Whether democracy will survive in the USA depends on how hard we all work to elect Democrats.

Let’s get to work!

No comments: