As we wind our way to Election, 2018, there is a wide variety of possibilities to unfold. From Trump’s ‘there may be a red wave’ to the possibility of a blue tsunami where Democrats take the Senate as well as the House.
This year’s election is surely crucial, the stakes never higher in my lifetime. If we get more of the same, we will hopefully survive, but we do not improve our fare or our Earth.
Still, there is reason for hope. There’s been and will continue to be plenty of attention. Not just the sick ads that bombard the airwaves, but throughout the US culture. Social media and political websites are abuzz, along with podcasts and youtube. Things are in flux.
We’ve never seen high schoolers who watched their friends get gunned down jump into the election fight. Folks of color, women, millennials – all seem to be more engaged or at least paying more attention. And the rampant corruption from tax cuts to elevating Kavanaugh to ignoring Saudi government murder – to just point out some new stuff – we are on the threshold of something unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Mr. Trump has suggested we could see a ‘Red Wave’ this year, especially with the enthusiasm garnered from getting Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as a supreme court justice. It’s true that some hard core Trumpians applauded the confirmation and will certainly be voting, but their numbers are never over 40% of the general public. And in this case, the way Kavanaugh was pushed through and the way his accusers were disrespected, antagonized as many folks as became enthused.
In spite of the tepid weakness of the Democratic Party, this year is much different. The high schoolers mentioned above are well-engaged, even if as individuals they’re not old enough to vote. “Vote them out” and “We call BS” are two recent terms from the younglings.
Millennials are also far more engaged than in elections past. Along with watching the idiocy and corruption that is Trump, there’s a sense of urgency that didn’t exist before. Maybe they do hope to move out of the basement at some point.
Minorities as well. The swell of support and energy that came from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez victory in the New York primary over summer is a marker that is not lost on Hispanics, Blacks, Native Americans or Puerto Ricans. The number of minority voters who cast votes for Republicans is not large.
But the real motherload of voters that will make this election different are the women. Dean Obeidalla writing for the Daily Beast claims it’s more accurate to speak of a Pink Wave this election cycle. In 2016, Trump actually won the women’s vote, 51% to 49% for Hillary Clinton. Ouch. Did I mention tepid weakness among Democrats?
This year the signs are different. Not only have we had great success in enabling progressive candidates, but as a centrist position becomes less and less viable, folks will embrace one side or the other, and the Republicans aren’t very appealing right now.
But back to the women. The generic ballot now has women favoring Democrats over Republicans by a whopping 30% – 63% to 33%. That’s off the charts, and the highest differential ever recorded. There’s data that suggests especially among higher educated and suburban women, there’s a level of engagement that is unprecedented as well.
With less that three weeks to the election, and with Trump’s daily outrages, it’s hard to imagine an ‘October Surprise’ that could seriously dampen the energy on the left. Not that Trump and those of his ilk won’t try. They have no integrity. But they are no doubt a bit wary now as well.
They thought citizens would just love big tax breaks for the richest Americans. They thought the Kavanough placement would be a great motivator – but he’s only a motivator for haters. And of course they have all the built in stuff working for them as usual – gerrymandering, voter disenfranchisement, money – oh wait – Democrats, mostly through small donations, are actually ahead of Republicans in fundraising this cycle. Holy crap, batman!
So, at this point we take nothing for granted. We’ve been burned before. We will keep fighting for every last vote until the polls close on November 6th, and we’ll certainly be checking the election results. Onward…