Democrats Must Turn Out In November!
by Vangie Williams
Hanover, you delivered on your promise to unify under the Democratic ticket after June 12 and are already organizing for the battle on November 6. A large part of the credit goes to John Suddarth, an incredible candidate and active member of the Hanover Democratic Committee. John came to congratulate me on Election Night at my watch party and we have worked together ever since to retire Rep. Rob Wittman.
It’s this type of unity and energy that Democrats will need to flip the district blue.
Across the country, we are seeing a surge in voter enthusiasm during primary elections this year. According to state elections offices, 5 million more people voted in Democratic contests in 2018 compared to the 2014 midterm elections. But, Republicans are showing up as well. An additional 2 million people picked up a ballot for a Republican candidate.
This tells me that there are voters who may be persuaded to vote for either party – votes we need to secure for a victory in November.
We know that Democrats historically do not turn out the same way Republicans do for midterm elections. The “midterm falloff” is noticeably greater for young voters, people of color and other minority voters, ultimately benefitting Republicans in recent midterms. This pattern of low voter turnout played a significant role in 2010 and 2014 for the GOP, including right here in the 1st Congressional District.
In Hanover, from 2008 to 2018 the falloff for Democrats between a presidential election and a midterm election was 57% compared to 20% for Republicans. Nearly 40% ofDemocratic voters are staying at home during crucial congressional elections.
This is a problem we must tackle for the upcoming election, for next year’s Virginia House of Delegates elections and every race whether it’s on the local, state or federal level.
Conventional wisdom says that Democrats have this in the bag, especially with an unpopular president and a record-breaking number of women running for political office. However, a lot can happen between now and November, even with an energized Democratic base. We have to do more than vilify this Administration. We have to motivate voters –primarily communities that we aren’t engaging throughout the year – to show up at the polls on Election Day.
We can win this election, but we must organize, mobilize and engage voters in every corner of the district. It’ll take registering new voters, fundraising, knocking on doors and writing postcards. We also must reach new voters by talking to people across the entire political spectrum. Let’s drop the labels and focus on a people-first strategy. It’s not an “us versus them” contest. It’s about “we the people” and putting people ahead of petty politics.
As we will continue to see during the primary season, candidates backed by multi-millionaires aren’t the only ones with power. We have power too. Power at the polls. Let’s fight for a government that’s good and takes care of its people.