The Left wing of the Democratic Party is charged up like never before. It was the lack of enthusiasm inspired by Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and the lingering disappointment over their favorite, Bernie Sanders’ sidelining that lost Democrats the Presidency.
But the arrival of Donald Trump into the Oval Office and the subsequent policies he has enacted has resulted in this radical wing of the party getting electrified again but also becoming politically animated like never before.
The sexism that seems implicit in the conduct of the Trump Administration has galvanized the women on the Left of the political spectrum like never before.
The #metoo movement that started last year has turned out be a valuable tributary to the larger mass mobilization against the Republican Party and its unpopular President.
The political circles in Washington and around the country are ablaze with the talk of a blue wave in the coming midterm elections. This wave is almost certain to bring the House of Representatives back into the hands of the Democrats while even the Senate seemed to be in the balance at one stage.
The overturning of the control of the House would be a big boost to the Democrats as it would end the free rein that Republicans have had and give Democrats some leverage to check Trumps imperious policy-making.
So, it comes as no surprise that when the Primaries for the midterm elections took place, Democrats turned out in record numbers to cast their vote.
This is a very encouraging sign for the party for the upcoming elections in the Fall.
Turnout Numbers In Primaries
Couvillon, an agency that tracks elections in the USA, has shown that Democratic Party’s primaries have witnessed massive growth in the turnout compared to the 2014 midterms while the Republicans seem to have stagnated and, in some places, even gone down in numbers.
What should cheer up the Democrats even further is the fact that this kind of uptick in the Primaries is usually a phenomenon that is witnessed in wave elections.
According to Couvillon’s stats, the turnout in Democratic primaries increased by about 78% compared to 2014 while for Republicans, the increase is a paltry 23%.
To be fair, 23% isn’t that bad but considering the Democrats already have an advantage and are likely to push it further, the difference in enthusiasm may prove to be a killer blow.
What is also significant is that this data is derived from Couvillon’s study in 35 states, out of which 29 saw higher gains in Democratic Party’s turnouts compared to those of Republicans.
Study by Pew Research Center has seen similar patterns, especially in the primaries for the House seats.
While the overall turnout was high with 19.6% of the registered voters casting their ballots, the upsurge was far more pronounced on the Democratic side. 19.6% is not a big figure when seen in isolation but it amounted to a 56% increase in turnout for primaries compared to 2014.
But its not the House primaries alone that witnessed a substantial increase in the turnout.
The Senate primaries saw participation improve by 16.6% compared to 2014 while the gubernatorial primaries had a rise of 18.6%, again compared to 2014.
Democratic Party-Specific Increase In Turnouts
When the figures of increase in turnouts are broken up, the clear advantage of Democrats becomes clear.
In the House primaries, Democratic voters increased their participation by 4.6% which is much higher than Republican upswing of just 1.2%.
There were some other interesting findings as well in the Pew survey. It discovered that the enthusiasm gap among the voters of the two parties was much smaller.
The Democrats had 67% of them describing themselves as enthusiastic while among Republicans, the number was 59%.
Implications Of Rise In Turnout
To be fair, there are some other reasons as well for the increase in turnout as well. Many more house primaries saw a genuine contest this year compared to 2014. But there is no doubt that the Democratic Party is being powered by its base which is hugely antagonistic to Trump.
When you look at the record number of women who have been nominated, it becomes clear that women are very keen to make their voice heard. So are the youth and those in minorities, of various kinds.
All these voices are rising in a crescendo which may bot be good to hear for Republicans, and especially, Donald Trump.
Political Analysts are working overtime to make predictions about the upcoming 2018 mid-term elections.
As with every election, there is a great deal of number crunching that is going on.
What makes the statistical calculations even more complicated are the unique features of American Democracy.
It’s not a simple first-past-the-post system, neither is the election held in just one stage. The primaries and the electoral colleges add a great deal of complexity to the calculations.
On top of that, the gerrymandering which has become a most vitiating process in the whole process render the basic demographic stats of an area irrelevant.
So, what and how much can we glean about the 2018 mid-term elections from the statistics that we have at the present moment.
Not much but let’s try nevertheless to see what the political atmosphere in the land is like through some of those numbers which have been revealed by opinion polls and other number crunching processes.
Role Of Millennials
Every election cycle sees a great deal of speculation about the role and inclinations of young voters, especially millennials. This time is no different.
An opinion poll was conducted by NBC News/GenForward which revealed interesting details about the millennials. 59% of them want the Democrats to control the Congress while 60% do not have a good opinion of the Republicans.
Yet the Democrats can’t start celebrating because only 55% of these millennials are determined to vote in the midterms.
This has always been the problem with young voters.
Their views might be strong but their inclination to vote remains fleeting.
NBC polling revealed the participation of young voters in past midterm elections.
In 2014, voters under the age of 30 constituted just 13% of the voting population while in 2010, they were 12%
So, the millennials are certainly leaning towards the Left and Democrats but that may amount to not much on the polling day.
Trust In Election Process
The 2016 Presidential elections have been marred by accusations of meddling by Russian agencies and a probe by Robert Muller has been going on for some time. While the Trump Camp is denying any involvement, Democrats seem convinced that there was some shady activity going on.
This ongoing mud-slinging has affected the trust of the voters in the whole election process.
A poll conducted by University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and Ipsos revealed that only around half the population of the country has faith in the integrity of polls.
On the specific question of whether the polls in the country are “fair and open,” 51% responded with yes while 43 disagreed.
Not surprisingly, Republicans have more faith than Democrats in the election process.
General Polling Numbers
Democrats are clearly enjoying an edge as far as the general polling is concerned. A Washington Post-ABC News survey revealed that 52% of the people are likely to support the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 38% who would back the Republican challenger.
One fact that is very clear is that young and minority voters are clearly in the camp of the Democrats while those who are older and white are backing GOP. This is not surprising.
The political atmosphere in the whole United States of America is charged at the moment and the state of Idaho is as electrified as any. A Republican stronghold which Donald Trump carried by 32 points is unlikely to turn blue.
But still there are dynamics in these elections which are making it much different than mid-term elections in general.
For instance, the Democratic nominee for Governor, Paulette Jordan, is running to become the first women ever to hold this position in Idaho. On top of that, she would also become the first Native American to be a governor in the history of the country.
For many, though, the real race for Governor’s position takes place in the Republican primary rather than the actual elections.
Here, the three-term incumbent, Butch Otter, has opted out of the race. This led to a seven-man contest in the Republican primary for the nominee. The incumbent Lieutenant Governor Brad Little emerged as the winner and will be the party’s nominee.
What will also be up for election would be all the executive positions in the Idaho administration such as Secretary of State, Attorney General, etc. But the second most important election after the Governor’s race would be that for the two seats of state in the US House of Representatives.
For Democrats, it is imperative that they gain control of the House in order to mount a serious challenge to the policies of Donald Trump.
Currently, the whole political landscape is hugely tilted in favor of the GOP with them controlling both houses of the Congress, the White House and majority of Governorships. This has led to rash policy-making from the Grand Old Party which has created a great deal of unhappiness in the public.
This is why the hopes of a ‘Blue Wave’ came as a pleasant relief to not just Democrats but to the wider public in general.
But can this ‘Blue Wave’ actually materialize and can it decrease the redness of Idaho? Only time will tell.
The Gubernatorial Race
So, Paulette Jordan is going to square off against Brad Little in a gubernatorial race that, many believe and not unjustifiably so, as a done deal. But Jordan is a very unique candidate and not just because of her race and gender.
She is combining adherence to those values which powered Bernie Sanders to a landslide victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary with characteristics which would appeal to a conservative base also.
While she is supporting the demand that public land be not privatized and also backing planned parenthood, her disclosure of love for hunting and ownership of guns makes her a bit more likely to attract right-leaning voters.
On the other side of the aisle, Brad Little is giving out the message that he would be a faithful follower of his predecessor’s policies. His message has been centered on continuing the stability which, he says, would be terribly disturbed by the election of ‘a big wild change’ and a ‘continuation of the Socialist from Vermont.’
He is focusing on issues such as better education and infrastructure.
However, the big difficulty he is facing is carving out his own image. He still seems to be the same as Otter and so far, very little seems to differentiate them.
Race For US Congress
Idaho has two seats in the US House of Representatives and both will be up for election this fall. The contest in the 1st Congressional district would be between Russ Fulcher of Republican Party and Cristina McNeil of Democrats.
Fulcher is a successful businessman who is using that experience to recommend himself while McNeil is the chair of the Democratic Party’s Latino Caucus in Idaho and a successful immigrant to this country. This seems to be the likely seat where there could be a change.
The 2nd Congressional District would see Mike Simpson of GOP taking on Aaron Swisher of the Democratic Party. Polls suggest that Simpson is way ahead of Swisher and it seems like a very safe seat for the Republicans.