Let us be quantitative and empirical. I do not care who you like or dislike for the Presidency. I simply want to focus on some data points and what they mean for the November 2020 election if we continue to see a similar pattern.
I will start with the debacle in Iowa. An old, dear friend who lives in Clarion, Iowa (about an hour north of Des Moines) attended the local caucus two weeks ago and voted for Trump. More than 150 Trump supporters showed up for a non-contested caucus. Meanwhile, in the same building the Democrats also assembled. The media wanted you to believe that Democrat enthusiasm was at a boiling point. A blue Tidal forming that would swamp Donald Trump. Well, only 34 Democrat supporters showed up in Clarion. Republicans in a non-contested race outnumbered the Dems by a 4 to 1 ratio.
The total voters for the Democrat 2020 caucus in Iowa for the final tally was 172,669. This is almost the same number of voters who turned out in 2016 when Hillary and Bernie were battling it out–171,109. That is about 70,000 less than the enthused crowds that turned out in 2008 for the Hillary versus Obama showdown. Not much enthusiasm in Iowa.
So we turn to New Hamshire. At least here we had a vote. But the dynamics for 2020 are quite different from 2016 and 2008. The Democrats had a contested primary and turned out about the same number of voters that showed up for the Obama/Clinton contest in 2008. However, the number is not as good as it appears. The Republican contest, once again, was uncontested. Under New Hampshire rules Republicans keen on meddling in the Democrat primary can crossover and vote for a Democrat. Many did.
More than 296,000 Democrat votes were cast in New Hampshire. This exceeded the 287,542 that voted for Obama and Hillary in 2008. However, there are more eligible voters today than in 2008. 29% of the electorate voted in the Democrat primary in 2008 while only 26% voted this go round. In addition, there is no precise figure for the number of Republicans and Independents who crossed over to "play" in the Democratic primary. While the total numbers were up, the enthusiasm on the Democrat side was still less that 2008.
It also is worth noting that Trump set a new record for the number of votes received by an uncontested incumbent. He doubled the results of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The bottomline is this–the weak Democrat field is not generating much enthusiasm. Will this continue to be the case?
We will keep tracking results event by event.
I’ve just been looking over the numbers in Iowa and the turnout was clearly a disaster for Democrats.
The WA Post says: “About 170,000 people participated in the 2016 Iowa Democratic caucuses, far short of the unprecedented 240,000 voters who turned out in 2008 and launched Barack Obama”….and much less than the 300,000 predicted.
It seems the Democrats and the media have been sipping their own Koolaid. There is zero enthusiasm for this wastrel group of professional politicos. Sure, I’ll probably vote for Bernie because Trump wants to cut Social Security and keeps antagonizing Iran, but, what a sad sack bunch of losers. There’s not one among them that I admire at all.
It’s very depressing. I want to say we’re better than this, but maybe we’re not.
The Democrats are deeply divided. There’s the Bernie/AOC wing and the Establishment/Deep State/Wall St wing. The latter would prefer Trump over Bernie. They’re banding around Pete, Amy and Mike, with the likely strategy of garnering enough delegates collectively to be able to throw their delegates to Mike who is buying the convention. Of course Bernie Bros will be disappointed once again but the Establishment is betting that Bernie will not make much of a fuss. The net of it is that many Bernie supporters will again sit out the election.
What I’m most interested in is how Super Tuesday plays out. Are we gonna get a replay of NH or a different dynamic?
Assuming Trump gets re-elected what will his second term look like? More Swampsters running the roost like his first term or a cleaning of the stables? We’ve had a decade long bull market since the GFC with central banks underpinning financial assets. Can that continue for another 5 years through Trump’s second term? How would public sentiment change if asset markets take it on the chin despite central bank largesse?
One can’t complain about Trump “increasing the national debt” and also demand Social Security (and Medicare and Medicaid) do not get “cut”, since all three entitlements are the chief cause of our rising debt; no matter who is President.
Start thinking all three entitlements drastically need to be reformed if they are to survive at all; and not simply “cut”. Increased efficiencies; decreased redunancies, program audits and proven effectiveness are reforms, even though they might look on the surface like “cuts”.
Worry more the howls about “cuts” come from those feasting off these programs at our expense; not the actual intended beneficiaries.
Eric Newhill says
This is what happens when you live in an elite bubble and think social media, and the loud cry babies on it, represent the real world outside your bubble – and you pay stupid consultants that think the same.
Mathias Alexander says
The Democratic field doesn’t generate much enthusiasm because only the DNC crowd have a say in it.
Timothy Hagios says
IMO the major split in the Democratic Party is between those who genuinely agree with left-wing economic policies and those for whom liberalism is a status symbol that elevates them above the deplorable untermenschen. The policies of the former would be much more electorally successful, but the traditional leftists don’t have the same financial pull as the wealthy corporate leaders and lobbyist groups. Thus we are stuck with a “liberal” party that gives liberal platitudes but is ultimately hostile to the working class. Among other things, the lopsided trade deals, unfettered illegal immigration, and Obamacare (which literally forced the poor and dispossessed to hand over what little money they had to the insurance companies in exchange for fake health plans that they couldn’t actually use) have only been harmful to traditional Democratic voting groups, who have responded by leaving the party. We see the party trying to appeal to new demographics through identity politics, but I don’t think they will be very successful.
Elmo Zoneball says
That’s not accurate. (I live in NH, and have been politically active here for the past 25 years.)
The rules for Primary voting in NH are that a partisan primary is open to any voters registered to that party and unaffiliated voters (“independents”.) GOP registered voters cannot vote in the Dem Primary, and Dems can’t vote in the GOP primary. Unaffiliated voters can choose any party primary.
The only exception is for a New Major Political Party, participating in its first NH primary since qualifying for Major Party Status. In that rare case, any registered voter can take that New party’s primary ballot, but only during that first Primary after achieving Major Party Status.
The ONLY way for GOP voters to vote in the Dem Primary would have been for them to de-register as GOP voters and re-register as unaffiliated, and that has to be done by a deadline that is several months before the Primary takes place.
I don’t think this materially alters your conclusions. There is likely a large contingent of Anti-Trump unaffiliated voters who choose a Dem ballot this time around, where they could have more influence, rather than staying home or making protest vote for Weld or some other obscure opponent to Trump in the essentially uncontested GOP Primary.
blue peacock says
Our politics have become more and more dysfunctional over the past 40 years and DC is the epitome of pervasive corruption. The rot has now infected every aspect of our government including the legislature and the judiciary.
Recall how there was so much rhetoric about the deficits during Reagan’s term when the federal debt tripled. Then there was all the noise about balanced budgets during Clinton’s term. Now Trump is adding a trillion dollars to the national debt annually in the “greatest economy evah” while the Fed is furiously monetizing the debt and no one even cares including the so-called fiscally conservative Republicans.
According to the Brown University study we’ve spent so far over $8 trillion in our Middle East and Afghan military and regime change adventures while our national infrastructure crumbles. What have these expenditures which have added to our national debt accomplished for our national interest? These expenditures and the trail of destruction it has caused have been supported by the majority of both parties.
After Wall St speculated and lost and created the GFC, the middle class were on the hook for trillions so that Paulson, Rubin, Summers, and others wouldn’t lose any of their wealth.
The establishment of both parties have been using the jackboot of government to enrich the top 0.01% for decades. We have more market concentration across many many market sectors than ever. Wealth and income inequality is even worse now than in the gilded age of the 1920s. More of our Deplorables continue to die of suicide and opioid addiction.
Yet, Bernie is the one deemed a communist!
You are spot on that the Democratic leadership backed by the billionaire class would much prefer Trump than Bernie and will insure that he’s not the nominee. Consequently, unless we have a stock market meltdown it looks like Trump will be re-elected. Nothing will change. The Deep State and Wall St will continue to run their rackets and our national debt will continue to explode as will the frustrations of the working classes.
As Jefferson noted we need a revolution but the vast majority of the American people anesthetized with drugs & circuses on social media have no capacity to revolt. They would much rather cling to “hope & change” of the next “knight in shining armor”.
Keith Harbaugh says
A while back Col. Lang and others were observing
how biased the jury pool is for trials conducted at
the United States District Court for the District of Columbia
(located at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse).
The Roger Stone jury very much evidences that:
“Roger Stone jury foreperson’s anti-Trump social media posts surface
after she defends DOJ prosecutors” (2020-02-12 Fox News article)
@ blue peacock… that is such an excellent comment by you!
it would be great if PAT HIGHLIGHTED your post for further comment from others… your post is really worth discussing and highlighting.. i fully agree with your commentary..
Stephen Richter says
I do not doubt these observations of voters in Iowa. But the demographic changes I see in NJ are overpowering. 10 of 11 congressional districts in NJ went democrat in 2018. Towns in Morris County are seeing more and more of these condo/apartment village developments. Hundreds, thousands of new residents. Majority Asians.
That said, Trump does govern like a democrat. A lot of government spending. I am getting to the point where I do not care who wins.
Democrats expand government entitlements and put no upper limits on their costs. GOP tries to limit and reform them. So no, Trump does not spend like a Democrat.
Instead, Trump is trying to reform entitlements and save them from bankruptcy for future generaions; Democrats scream Trump is taking away Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. Pelosi gloated they won the House in 2018 because of their support for “health care”, that Trump was trying to take away.
Democrats = $$$ spent = “health care”.
No, it was because Democrats intentionally misrepresented Trump’s attempt to reign in our of control entitlement spending, which drives the growing national debt.
“Trump does not spend like a Democrat.” says D with a straight face.
Ignoring Trump adding more than a trillion dollars annually to the federal government’s debt. I’m sure D will rationalize that it is not Trump’s fault that federal government spending is so out of control during Trump’s term. Just like it was not Reagan’s fault for tripling the national debt during his term in office. Lol!