Lowest Voter Turnout = Republican Mandate?

You gotta give members of the GOP some credit for moxie…or delusion. This midterm election had the lowest voter turnout since 1942. When you compare that with 2008 and 2012, it’s just astonishing that such a high level of non-participation has happened in such a short period of time. In 2012, it was almost 58% of voters cast ballots. 2014? Looks like when you average all contests around the country, it was around 36%. Now the devil is in the details, and if you look state by state breakdown, you saw an increase in participation in a number of states compared to the last midterm election in 2010. The Newshour on PBS compiled a top 10 list:

1. Louisiana: +12.9% (38.9%-43.9%)
2. Nebraska: +10.1% (37.5%-41.3%)
3. Arkansas: +9.9% (37.5%-41.2%)
4. Wisconsin: +9.4% (52.0%-56.9%)
5. Maine: +7.4% (55.2%-59.3%)
6. New Hampshire: +6.8% (45.7%-48.8%)
7. Alaska: +6.6% (51.9%-55.3%)
8. Washington, D.C.: +4.8% (28.9%-30.3%)
9. Colorado: +4.7% (50.6%-53.0%)
10. Kentucky: +4.2% (42.4%-44.2%)
11. North Carolina: +3.8% (39.2%-40.7%)
12. Florida: +3.4% (41.7%-43.1%)
13. Kansas: +2.6% (41.7%-42.8%)
14. Iowa: +1.4% (49.9%-50.6%)
15. Oregon: +0.2% (52.6%-52.7%)

And the biggest decreases? Here’s the top 10 — as compiled by PBS’ Newhour:

1. Missouri: -27.4% (44.5%-32.3%)
2. Washington state: -27.3% (53.1%-38.6%)
3. Delaware: -27% (47.5%- 34.5%)
4. California: -25.5% (44%-32.8%)
5. Indiana: -24.5% (37.1%-28.0%)
6. Oklahoma: -23.2 (38.8%-29.8%)
7. Nevada: -23% (41.3%-31.8%)
8. Alabama: -22.1% (43%-33.5%)
9. Utah: -20.7% (36.3%-28.8%)
10. Mississippi: -19.7% (37%-29.7%)

What’s the takeaway from this? Success in life means showing up. And Democratic voters didn’t show up as much as Republican voters. That’s a meme that’s been repeated over and over since the results came in on election night. Why didn’t they show up? I’m sure the answers vary, but it seems most Democrats ran away from success. When you do that, you’ve given your opponent fodder to win.

Okay, so GOP candidates win though a combination voters choosing them over Democrats in highly gerrymandered districts that favor the GOP. You have voter I.D. laws that put up barriers that will depress the vote of mostly likely Democratic voters, and you have a motivated older and whiter GOP base who want to “stop Obama.”

When your party wins seats with a low overall turnout does this make it a “revolution” a “mandate” a “the people have spoken” moment? If you’re running the GOP hype machine, it does. When Democrats win (as they did in 2008) what do you call it? “We hope we don’t screw this up.” When the GOP is the minority party (as they were in 2008), you are “the loyal opposition” who has “a responsibility to represent the voices of the minority.” See the difference? One party, in the face of massive losses, remains active and refuses to go quietly into the night. The other party? They look rudderless and start to turn on each other. Message to Democrats: you want to represent your team in the halls of power? Start taking credit for your successes and stop eating your young.

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