Reuters: President Barack Obama gently chided Democratic donors on Wednesday for paying too much attention to the next presidential race in 2016 and not enough attention to the upcoming midterm elections in 2014.Of course, he’s right. Democrats’ biggest problem is turnout. The way things go right now, if there’s a Winter Olympics that year, Republicans do well; if there’s Summer Olympics, Democrats do well. For some reason, Democratic voters are much more likely to show up for the “big game” on leap year than at any other time.
Reminding Democrats at a fundraiser in Boston that “we got whalloped” in the 2010 midterms, when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Obama warned that “it could happen again if we don’t fight on behalf of the things we care about in this election.”
“No one could be more invested than me in having a Democrat succeed me,” Obama told about 70 supporters at a dinner where tickets cost $5,000 to $20,000. But he stressed to Democrats they need to invest time, money and energy on the November midterms.
“In the midterms, Democrats too often don’t vote. Too often, when there’s not a presidential election, we don’t think it’s sexy, we don’t think it’s interesting, people tune out,” Obama said.
If Democrats could convince voters that every game is the big game, Republicans would be wrecked in election after election. Republicans turn out much more consistently than Democrats; meaning that off-year elections go to Republicans by default, not by effort. Americans haven’t elected (as opposed to reelected) a Republican President since Bush senior (Bush junior lost the 2000 popular vote) — and even then, Bush the Elder was a quasi-incumbent as Reagan’s Vice President. Without the power of incumbency, Republicans are screwed in Presidential election years, because America as a whole is a blue state — that is, when the voters that make it a blue state bother to show up.
Democrats and liberals would be a lot better off letting 2016 take care of itself — they’re all but guaranteed a win, anyway — and take all that energy and put it into 2014. If Democrats could figure out how to replicate presidential year voting turn out, eventually there would be no Republican Party to speak of. They’d be a permanent minority in both houses of congress, in much the same way that they’re currently all but shut out of the White House.