Pelosi: Turnout Is Key to Dems’ Election Fortunes
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi believes the biggest challenge the Democrats will have in 2016 is voter turnout.
She discussed the recent woes of the Democrats are related to voter turnout, not voter dissatisfaction.
“We just have to do better at it,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.
The Hill reports:
Democrats suffered a stinging defeat on Tuesday in Kentucky, where Matt Bevin, a Tea Party conservative who’s vowed to end the state’s ObamaCare initiatives, upset Attorney General Jack Conway (D) by a surprisingly wide margin of 53 percent to 44 percent.
Republicans, many of whom had worried Bevin was not mainstream enough to win the contest, have trumpeted his victory as an indication that voters are simply moving away from the governing approach of President Obama and the Democrats.
But Pelosi rejected that notion, saying the result would have been different if more people went to the polls.
To highlight the turnout trends, Pelosi used the example of Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), who received more than 206,000 votes in the last presidential election year, 2012, but saw that number drop to about 157,000 in 2014. His percentage of the vote, however, was an identical 63 percent in both years.
Conway, Pelosi said, won only 110,000 votes in Yarmuth’s liberal district.
“It was about turnout,” she said. “We have to increase turnout [everywhere]. And if the turnout would have been bigger, the election would have been different.
“But so what? We don’t agonize, we organize,” Pelosi added. “And that’s what we have to do, whether it’s in the South, the Midwest, in suburban areas, in rural areas, and in the West. … It’s about showing people the connection, as Martin Luther King said, between the ballot, legislation and their lives. And that just has not been done sufficiently.”
Pelosi said she’s optimistic that next year’s presidential cycle will turn the fortunes of the Democrats, who have been clobbered in two of the last three election cycles, empowering Republicans with both Senate control and the largest House majority since the Great Depression.
“The presidential race is the main event. It has everything. It has glamour, it has money, it has power, it has show biz — it’s an attraction. And off-years are like the lounge act. Who goes there, right? Unless you’re just waiting for the next show,” Pelosi said. “So, I’m very optimistic.”
Photo credit: AP.