The stakes in the 2018 congressional elections are greatest of any in midterm memory. If Democrats can thread the needle and regain control of the Senate, the next Gorsuch-like abomination can be prevented. The multi-faceted damage his votes and opinions will inflict has been hinted at but will become increasingly clear in the spring and crescendo this June.
And if the Senate is barely won, it is a forgone conclusion that Democrats will also have secured a decent majority in the House. With that control of both houses the rest of this rolling national nightmare could be buffered until Trump departs, voluntarily or otherwise, with otherwise becoming more plausible.
For any of that to happen Democratic voters must Byrd-like “Turnout, Turnout, Turnout.” It will require an effort like Tuesday’s for the Texas midterm primaries, where Democratic voting increased by more than 100 percent from 2014. An effort also similar to the turnout for Doug Jones last December in Alabama. It will require a massive reversal of the 2016 performance, when far too many in the Democratic base seemed “too lazy to get off their asses” borrowing a phrase from White House chief of staff, John Kelly.
CNN’s Van Jones is famous for pronouncing the 2016 election results a “white lash,” even among those who voted twice for Barack Obama. Activist Angela Peoples’ image went viral after she was photographed carrying a sign that read “White Women Voted for Trump” in the January 21, 2017 D.C. Women’s March. Peoples later amplified and doubled down on that factoid in a New York Times op-ed titled “Don’t Just Thank Black Women. Follow Us.”
More than those factors, the large decline in the African-American vote and failure to vote among eligible Latinos gave Donald Trump the presidency. Pew Research’s report and analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data reveals that black voter turnout in 2016 was 59.6%, a decline from 66.6% in 2012. This was the largest ever decline for black voters and largest for any racial or ethnic group since an even greater decline in 1996 by white voters.
Latino voter turnout also declined but only marginally. More distressing is that only 47.6% of eligible Latinos cast ballots. This result is hard to fathom given candidate Trump’s constant attack on Mexico, Mexicans and immigrants from other than Scandinavian countries (to where Donald falsely traced his heritage in his 1994 book “The Art of the Deal”). Ms. Peoples points out that “53 percent of white women voters chose a racist elitist sexual predator for president” but is silent on why so many black women and men, highly motivated to reelect President Obama in 2012, did not vote against his polar-opposite whose 2016 candidacy was built upon the massively racist “birther” lie.
Other than the precipitous decline in black voter turnout and a three percent increase in Asian-American voter turnout the pattern in 2016 remained basically unchanged from 2012. Whites, women, men, the old, middle-aged and young, Christians and Jews all voted at roughly the same rate in both elections. Christians continued their movement to the right. They marginally favored McCain over Obama in 2008, comfortably favored Romney over Obama in 2012 and solidly backed Trump over Clinton in 2016 (Protestants 58-39, Roman Catholics 52-45 and Mormons 61-25 – down from their 78-21 support of Romney over Obama). Jews who overwhelmingly supported Obama in both elections, voted more heavily for Clinton (or more strongly against Trump) in 2016, favoring her over him 71 to 24.
Applying Jones/Peoples logic to these numbers, we could produce a bumper sticker reading “Don’t Forget Christians Voted for Trump” but as we know they also voted for McCain, for Romney and I vote for “so what.” What counts and will count this November is putting your ballot where your mouth is. Vote, simple as that, and this time no finger pointing or excuses.