Wednesday, October 16, 2013

All the Money in the World Won't Beat Mitch If Grimes Can't Turn Out Democratic Voters

Grimes has yet to say a single thing that gives any Kentucky Democrat a good reason to get up and go to the polls. She's running as a me-too repug-lite and it's killing Democratic chances.

Joseph Gerth at the Courier:

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes raised more than $2.5 million in her first quarter of fundraising for Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seat — more than incumbent Mitch McConnell — setting off a furious effort by both campaigns to claim the upper hand in what is expected to be the nation’s most expensive race next year.
Especially in a mid-term election like 2014, the key is turnout. Repugs took over the House in 2010 because repug voters went to the polls and Democratic voters stayed home.

Daily Kos has a terrific breakdown of Democratic turnout patterns:
This is what Democrats face heading into the 2014 elections. If our people turn out, Democrats win. There are simply more of us than them, and that number is growing by the day. The problem is, our people are the least likely to turn out, and their track record in mid-term elections is woeful.
So how do you turn out Democratic voters in an off-year election?  John Nichols at the Nation on how a very different underdog woman did it:
Yet, when the votes were counted, Richards won by a 100,000-vote margin, for a 49-47 finish.

What was her secret?

Ann Richards ran as Ann Richards. She was didn’t pull punches or tailor her message to fit the demands of campaign consultants.

Richards was proudly pro-choice. She promised to veto legislation that attempted to limit access to reproductive health services. Her campaign proudly circulated a letter from pro-choice activists that identified the Democrat as a champion in the struggle to defend abortion rights.

Richards defended voting rights. She advocated for low-income Texans and people of color. And she was blunt. Very blunt.

“Power is what calls the shots, and power is a white male game,” said Richards.

She made points that made sense to working women of every race and ethnicity.

“They blame the low income women for ruining the country because they are staying home with their children and not going out to work,” explained Richards. “They blame the middle income women for ruining the country because they go out to work and do not stay home to take care of their children.”

Ann Richards made so much sense, and she made it so boldly, so unapologetically, that voters who had grown frustrated with the process got engaged again. And new voters got excited.

Turnout was high on November 6, 1990—roughly 51 percent, as compared to 47 percent four years earlier.

And the difference provided the margin by which Richards won.

Turnouts are nowhere near that these days. In 2010, just 38 percent of registered voters cast ballots for governor of Texas. In 2006, it was just 34 percent.

Richards got more people to the polls. And she got their votes, sweeping the communities she has spoken to, and spoken for. Sixty percent of women who came to the polls backed Richards, as did 65 percent of Hispanic voters and 90 percent of African-American voters.

“She represented all of us who have lived with and learned to handle good ol' boys,” recalled Ivins, “and she did it with laughter.”
 Bold. Unapologetic. Democratic. Where is that candidate in Kentucky?

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