Friday, February 26, 2016
Voter Anger and Voter Turnout
The GOP debate in Houston was about voter anger and turnout. Donald Trump has capitalized on unprecedented anger. He has galvanized turnout among voters, many of whom have never voted before. GOP voter turnout was up 24% in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Iowa, while in Iowa and New Hampshire turnout was down 21%.
In 2009, Pollster Frank Lutz in his book What Americans Really Want ---Really (Hyperion), gave this statement to 6400 Americans “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”, and asked them to comment: 72% agree and 28% disagree.
These numbers haven’t changed during the disappointing Obama Presidency. Anger has a mind of its own. People are mad as hell. They want change – any change. Anger propels this change – no matter how irrational, how lacking in specificity. People who have never voted before are coming out of the woodwork, blue collar workers, the poorly educated, the highly educated, evangelicals, the Middle Class detritus, unhappy Democrats.
In Houston shoot-out GOP debate last night candidates missed the GOP presidential candidates missed an opportunity, the chance to talk about the historic GOP turnout in the primaries compared to Democrats. The turnout discrepancy bodes well for Republicans and could be the basis for a rout in November.
Yet, turnout and lack of enthusiasm for the Democrat nominees, wasn’t even mentioned in the debate. Instead, we witnessed a shouting match between Trump, Rubio, and Cruz. Rubio and Cruz cancelled each other out, assuring Trump will be the nominee. Kasich performed well, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is Trump’s running mate.
What does Trump get that others miss?
Trump gets it. People are mad as hell. They aren’t going to take it anymore.
They aren’t going to respond to policy talking points without action, without moving Congress and the nation off the dime.
They ‘re not going to swallow slick rhetoric. They’ve had enough of ObamaSpeak and GOP establishment condescending talk. They want straight talk, no matter how contradictory or how marred by shifting positions over the years.
They’re not concerned about policy details. To them the devil isn’t in the details, e.g, Trump’s tax return, but in cutting taxes for themselves, in the sweep of Trump's main themes, in Trump’s not being beholden to special interests, lobbyists, or big money.
People want to be winners again. They want a country they can be proud of. They want optimism, they want opportunity, and they want America to be great again.
They know instinctively that something is wrong in the Middle East, with the failure to support Israel and face down ISIS.
They’ll take Trump’s word for it that he will build a wall and deport illegal immigrants. It’s not how he will do it but what he says he will do.
They know something has gone askew with the Middle Class, with the sluggish economy, with the unaffordable health premiums and deductibles. They don’t particularly care about the dearth of details or specifics in Trump’s health plans. It is good enough for them when he says he will keep ObamaCare’s pre-existing conditions but create competition by making health plans portable across state lines and not letting people die in the streets. He will take those villainous health plans and pharmaceutical firms to the Trump cleaners.
Have a Super Tuesday on March 1, and beware the Ides of March on March 15. Hold onto your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.