It’s the Turnout, Stupid

Over at Commentary, Peter Wehner joins the chorus blaming President Obama for Alex Sink’s loss to David Jolly in the special House election in Florida this past Tuesday.  He calls the Prez a “one-man political wrecking ball” for the Dems.

But Sink didn’t lose because of Obama or Obamacare, she lost because of low turnout.  Low turnout always favors the GOP, and turnout doesn’t get much lower than a special election for the House, when all the old white people make damn sure they get to the polls.  Obama won the district in 2008 and 2012 because turnout is highest in presidential election years.  Turnout nationwide will be lower in 2014 than in 2012, as it always is in an “off” year, but it will be higher than for this special election.

If Dems would focus on getting people registered and to the polls this November, rather than wringing their hands over Obamacare, they would do well.

The GOP is certainly focused on keeping turnout as low as possible, doing all they can to discourage minorities and young people — Voter ID, extremely limited early voting, no “souls to the polls” on Sundays, and long lines in urban areas because of few polling places and machines. The Tea Party doesn’t have to win any primaries this cycle because they’ve already scared incumbents to death and moved them right.

But the fervent bullies are not where the country is overall.  The discrepancy between opinion polls and actual policy (gun background checks, minimum wage, unemployment benefits, etc.) is staggering.  The left and center still have the votes, certainly to keep the Senate.  We just have to cast them.


GOP Shouldn’t Be So Jolly

So Republican David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink in a special election for a House seat in Florida yesterday.

And now his 3,456-vote margin is being touted as the death knell for Dems in 2014.

Jolly won in a heavily white, older district, where there are more registered Republicans than Democrats.  In fact, the seat has been held by a Republican for more than 40 years.

But the main point is that this is the House, not the Senate.  No one expects the Dems to take the House in 2014.  The question is whether they can hang onto the Senate, and Senate races are completely different animals from House races.

Yesterday’s decision shows the GOP’s strength in controlling the House.  Tell us something we didn’t know.