42% of voters under 30 would be disappointed if Joe Biden was the nominee. a) There's seriously no way he'll get youth support in the primary and b) that represents a serious concern for a general election. Boomers are seriously going to get Trump re-elected. pic.twitter.com/umBuJOqF7U
— Dean Steitz (@theminorchords) December 26, 2019
Hillary lost in 2016 partly because over 4 million who voted in 2012 for Obama didn’t vote at all in 2016. We can’t let that happen again.
Politics are now so polarized that there are not many swing voters left who are truly undecided between Republicans and Democrats. 2020’s election results will be based on which party can get the largest proportion of its base to vote, and not on which party can win the largest proportion of the few voters who are still truly undecided between Republicans and Democrats.
Eligible voters who didn’t vote in 2016 are a much bigger group than swing voters. Only about 8.4 million 2012 Obama voters voted for Trump, and and 2.5 million Romney voters voted for Clinton, in 2016. In contrast, there were 86.5 million eligible voters who didn’t vote in 2016. Only 137.5 million (just 61.4%) of 224 million eligible voters voted in 2016. Of course Democrats should try to win over everyone, including swing voters. But swing voters are such a small, unpredictable, hard-to-please group, and so likely to vote for Republicans downballot, even if they don’t vote for Trump, that the payoff for choosing a Presidential nominee who might appeal a bit more to swing voters is far smaller than the payoff for choosing a Presidential nominee who might appeal more to Democratic leaners who didn’t vote in 2016.
Warren’s progressive message would increase turnout from Democratic youth, the most strongly Democratically leaning age group, as well as the the age group with the lowest historical turnout rates (which means there is much potential for increasing Democratic votes just by getting them excited enough to turn out), as well as from women (an increasingly Democratic leaning group that also constitutes the majority of the electorate), as well as from a very large number of Democratic leaning voters who are neither women nor youth, but want to be able to brag to their grandkids that they voted for the first woman President.
There are large numbers of youth and women in each state and district, including red and purple states and districts, so increasing turnout among youth and women will be great for winning the House, Senate, and state governments as well as the Presidency.
Only 50% of about 24 million eligible youth, ages 18-29 voted in 2016. Youth have a LOT of room to grow their voter turnout.
Women, who are increasingly Democratic leaning, are the majority of the electorate; further increasing the turnout rate of women by even a small percentage will translate to big Democratic wins up and down the ballot. Among the 116.4 million US women who were eligible to vote, 63.3% voted in 2016.
There are also many Democratic leaning men who are not sexist, desperately want our country to be less sexist, and will be excited to vote for a President whose symbolism would be a historic step forward in the right direction. There are also some who are mildly sexist due to their upbringing and recognize that, but really don’t like that part of themselves and will try to fight it whenever they can, including by voting for a woman who is unquestionably a million times more qualified and competent than her male opponent. And there are some who are mildly sexist but don’t want to admit it, and want to prove to themselves and others that they are not sexist by voting for her.
Even more than in 2016, 2020 is going to be an battle between those whose top priority is hate vs those whose top priority is not hate. Given Trump’s hate-based strategy, there will be no way around that, even if the Democratic nominee is a moderate white heterosexual male bipartisan. There’s no use trying to tiptoe around Trumpists by nominating a boring Democrat in the hope that Trump’s base will sleep in on election day. Trump is whipping his hateful base into such a feeding frenzy, they are coming out to vote no matter how boring our nominee is. Our only chance of beating them is with a nominee who energizes the Democratic base even more than Trump energizes his.
Republicans can count on fear and hate to turn their voters out, because fear and hate are the glue that binds them together. But Democrats can’t count on fear and hate of Republicans to get our voters out, because an election that only offers hate and fear, even of Republicans, will just cause many of our most-unlikely-to-vote Democratic leaners to despair and check out of politics, instead of becoming more likely to vote. As the contrast between the lower Democratic voter turnout of 2016 (with “stop Trump” as the main message) with the higher Democratic voter turnouts of 2008 and 2012 (with “hope and change” as the main message) showed, Democratic voters who normally don’t vote will only show up to vote if they feel inspired and excited by the nominee, and not just because they fear and hate Republicans, even Trump-level horror show Republicans.
Warren’s ability to excite and inspire will break through the walls of apathy, demoralization, and despair that kept Democratic-leaning unlikely voters from voting in 2016. That’s how Obama won, and that’s how Warren will lead Democrats to victory, not just in the Presidential general election, but also in the general election races for Senate, House, and state governments, in 2020.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.