By Dave Andrusko
Everyone who’s been involved in the political process for any length of time knows this, but it bears repeating both for us who have been active as well as for those who may not have dipped their toe into politics: Whatever the current political situation may appear to be, it will be substantially, if not radically, different in no time flat.
A story that ran in POLITICO yesterday—“Despite ‘autopsy,’ GOP could have revival in 2014”—is both a good reminder of what traditionally happens in off-year (non-presidential year) elections and a rallying call by Page Gardner and Celinda Lake to the voters who re-elected President Obama not to take 2014 off.
Traditionally the pull of presidential elections brings massive numbers of voters who are far less likely to go to the ballot box two years later when there is no non-stop political coverage that goes when the presidency is up for grabs to lasso them in.
Gardner and Lake make a number of spot-on observations:
· “In 2012, members of the historically underrepresented Rising American Electorate — unmarried women, African-Americans, Latinos, other people of color and youth ages 18 to 29 — overwhelmingly supported President Barack Obama. “ That is highly unlikely to be the case in 2014. They focus on unmarried women—who disproportionately vote Democratic—whose share of the vote dropped from 21% in 2008 to 18% 2010. But the same dynamic potentially applies to the other categories.
· “For all the talk of the gender gap in American politics, the truth is that the marriage gap is even more profound,” Gardner and Lake write. “In 2012, unmarried women supported Obama over Mitt Romney by 36 percentage points, a massive margin that helped stem other losses,” while Mitt Romney carried the vote of married women by 7 points. “The point: If unmarried women do not turn out in droves on Nov. 4, 2014, Democrats could be in for a long evening.”
· What is really startling for those who didn’t dig into the numbers is how poorly the Democrat Obama did among seniors—he lost in 2008 and 2012, the latter by a whopping 12 points—and among those 50-64. He carried them in 2008 but lost by 5 points four years. “In 2012, both seniors and voters ages 50 to 64 composed 44 percent of the electorate — a dropoff of 9 points from 2010,” Gardner and Lake write. “In key voting states, the decline was more dramatic. Younger voters are unlikely to make up the difference, since in 2010 they shied away from the polls and represented just 12 percent of voters compared with 19 percent in 2012.”
You get the picture.
I write about this for the simple reason that before you know it, there will not just federal elections for the House and Senate but state House and Senate races to contest. The opportunity to retake some—maybe even a great deal—of what was lost in 2012 ought to keep all of us with our noses to the grindstone.
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