Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Reshaping the electorate

Michael Barone, in U.S. News & World Report, points out that the appointment of Ken Mehlman as GOP National Committee Chairman is a very important move.

"If Karl Rove was the architect of George W. Bush’s thumping re-election victory, Mehlman was the structural engineer who turned the plans into reality. Mehlman’s great achievement was to create a largely volunteer organization of 1.4 million people who turned out the vote in counties big and small for Bush."

"With the absentee votes in California and Washington finally counted, it appears that overall turnout was up 12 percent. John Kerry’s popular vote was also 12 percent above Al Gore’s. But the popular vote for Bush was up a stunning 20 percent. Before the election, some liberal commentators were claiming that Bush would win no votes he hadn’t won in 2000. Not quite: He won 10 million more."

"Bush’s popular vote was up 23 percent in the 13 battleground states that decided the election. Kerry’s paid-worker, union-led turnout drives in central cities nearly matched that--his vote was up 21 percent over Gore’s in the battlegrounds. But that wasn’t enough to outdo the Bush volunteer efforts in the make-or-break states of Florida and Ohio. Elsewhere Bush had a bigger edge. His popular vote was up 21 percent in safe Bush states and 16 percent in safe Kerry states, compared with 12 and 5 percent for Kerry. The Bush organization literally reshaped the electorate. The 2000 exit poll showed an electorate that was 39 percent Democratic and 35 percent Republican. The 2004 exit poll, which was tilted toward Democrats, found a dead heat: 37 percent to 37 percent. That means that Republican turnout was up 19 percent and Democratic turnout up only 7 percent. This is the most Republican electorate America has had since random-sample polling was invented." Read the rest of it!

Matt Bai, in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, tries to fiddle with this problem by, oddly, looking at the Demos (read
America Coming Together and other 527’s) failure to do anything like this; but, along the way, you do get some notice of the GOP success and some tidbit of interesting information; including how the GOP had built "their own kind of quiet but ruthlessly efficient turnout machine." And note this:

"Therein, perhaps, lies the real lesson from Ohio, and from the election as a whole. From the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and especially after the disputed election of 2000, Democrats operated on the premise that they were superior in numbers, if only because their supporters lived in such concentrated urban communities. If they could mobilize every Democratic vote in America’s industrial centers -- and in its populist heartland as well -- then they would win on math alone. Not anymore. Republicans now have their own concentrated vote, and it will probably continue to swell. Turnout operations like ACT can be remarkably successful at corralling the votes that exist, but turnout alone is no longer enough to win a national election for Democrats. The next Democrat who wins will be the one who changes enough minds."

Also see this
by a Kerry worker and supporter in Virginia. He seems to recognize part of the problem, and suggests (this should not be a surprise to NLT readers) that Demo Gov. Warner of Virginia is to be imitated by the national Democrats: to try to convince "culturally conservative" folks that the Demo Party is on their side. Good luck.

Discussions - 1 Comment

The last paragraph sums up the major problem the Dems had in this election. They should stop trying to convince people that the party is on their side. They should actually be on their side. Until they are, the will not win elections.

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