The evidence is in. Voter turnout is dramatically lower in the Democratic primaries in 2016 compared to 2008. This is especially true in the Republican confederate states where Hillary has won her landslide victories—states that no Democrat has won in decades and no Democrat will win in 2016. There the voting population is a dwindling few of older return voters.
It is because of Hillary’s landslide victories in these extremely low turnout, extremely low enthusiasm, extremely low information states that the entirety of the corporate news media and NPR have declared the Democratic race is over, and Hillary is the people’s choice. The people have spoken, and it is only a matter of time until Bernie Sanders acknowledges the truth that the vast majority of prospective Democratic voters are clamoring for Hillary. He is a loser.
This is pure propaganda, encouraged by the Hillary camp and dutifully parroted by the corporate news media/NPR.
Low Democratic primary and caucus turnout compared to 2008—not to mention all other major democracies– is true pretty much across the board. It is not an accident. It tends to be greatest in those states where Hillary gets her landslides. Hillary’s team sees that roughly 7 in 10 first-time voters in the 2016 Democratic primaries and caucuses are voting for Bernie. Their solution: minimize the number of first-time voters.
Had Hillary been unopposed, or opposed by a mainstream corporate Democrat, the DNC would likely have been working on registering and activating millions of young people, and people of color, to get them to the polls in November. Then Hillary could play the role of progressive, and few would care about her corruption, duplicity and obedience to Wall Street, because there would be no other game in town.
But because Bernie is in the race, and because Bernie gets most of the new voters in the primaries, by a wide margin, Hillary and the DNC have all but suspended any encouragement of voter registration and participation in the process. The less people know, the less they participate, the more likely Hillary’s nomination.
And, ironically, with far fewer engaged and activated new voters, the more likely her defeat in November. The big money people bankrolling Hillary and party officials are finally waking up to the immense problem they have created and accentuated to get Hillary the nomination. Now that elites are waking up to the problem, elite news media are paying attention. Nick Confessore lays it out in asuperb piece in today’s New York Times.
How did Hillary and the DNC depress turnout? First, Hillary and the DNC are perfectly content to have the corporate news media/NPR provide as little coverage as possible about the Democratic race. Have fewer debates. The less coverage of Sanders there is, the more difficult it will be for him to get votes, because most voters still know little or nothing about him.
The research done shows the Republican race has gotten far more coverage than the Democratic race by orders of magnitude. Even MSDNC, the “liberal” pro-Democratic network, has spent endless hours discussing the minutiae of the Republican presidential race in 2015-16. Obscure candidates have received relatively lavish attention, and Trump has been an obsession since before his poll numbers spiked. The ratio of Trump coverage to Bernie coverage across all media has been stunning.
In addition to minimizing debates, Hillary minimizes coverage of Bernie and the Democratic campaign by doing very little public campaigning compared to Bernie. While he does one or two major rallies to many thousands of people every day, she does very few public events, and the ones she does are controlled, with small turnouts, insipid and uninspired. Much of her time is spent doing private fundraisers with the 1 percent crowd or photo ops with African-American ministers or gun violence victims on her way to a fundraiser with the hedgefund billionaire crowd.
Because Hillary is content to have little news coverage of her campaign, the corporate news media/NPR do much less coverage of Bernie. He is only covered in the context of what Hillary does and what Hillary’s team is accusing him of. If Hillary does events that get coverage then, maybe, corporate media would say “Hey let’s see what Sanders is doing.” But it Hillary is silent, Bernie is pretty much out of luck.
So here we have one of the greatest political stories in a generation if not longer in American presidential politics—a maverick democratic socialist Senator taking on the establishment and getting astronomical and historically unprecedented support, especially from young people—and it is basically of no particular interest to our corporate news media/NPR. For that reason Bernie’s degree of difficulty is exponentially higher than that faced by Obama in 2008, when Keith Olbermann and MSNBC gave him extensive and sympathetic daily coverage. They knew they were covering history in the making and they were determined to be part of it. Every day they dissected and debunked Hillary’s inane charges against Obama. It was crucial to Obama’s success. This year, MSDNC amplifies the baseless charges, and its coverage of the Democratic race seems to be derived from a daily review of talking points delivered to MSDNC (and the corporate news media/NPR) by the Hillary campaign HQ.
This time, they are content to be on the wrong side of history it seems. The difference? Obama, for all that was attractive about him, was an establishment guy with big money support. Sanders is the real deal.
If this “repress the turnout’ strategy works to get the nomination for Hillary, it will cover up the fact the she is a uniquely disliked and unpopular candidate. The only way Democrats win presidential races is with relatively high turnout. Period. That is why Obama won a landslide in 2008 and a victory in 2012. As Confessore points out, without a surge in turnout by young voters and the dispossessed, the Democrats will fare like John Kerry in 2004.
Bottom line—Bernie’s analysis of the importance of voter turnout jumps out. His entire political revolution is based on the idea of radically expanding voter turnout and citizen participation—the exact opposite of what Hillary and the DNC are doing. Bernie is the strongest candidate to win in November. Hillary is a very weak candidate—especially against a candidate like Trump who can exploit her weaknesses like no other Republican– and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how she can win in November. And if she does, the race will be so negative and with such low turnout it will be hard to see how she could ever govern effectively.
At some point some of these Democratic superdelegate elected officials are going to wake up and say, “My God, what have I done?”Many of them could be printing up their resumes after the November election as well, and see the Republican Party controlling all branches of government.
This is still our nomination to win. Every day the case for Hillary gets weaker and weaker. That is why she and the DNC and corporate media are trying to give Sanders the bum’s rush to get him out of the campaign ASAP. We have to make it through March 15 in one piece. If we do, the chances are good that we are looking at President Sanders come January 20, 2017. So treat the next 12 days like everything depends on what happens in the next 12 days. Because that is true. Donate as much as humanly possible right now. Volunteer. Whatever is possible.