Will The Wave Be Blue Or Red?
There’s a lot of discussion about the prospects of a blue wave in the upcoming midterm elections. Trump, it seems, has awakened the Democrats and they are promising to take over several legislative seats this November. Trump is even suggesting a counter red wave from the right.
Before I dig into this, you might find the following interesting about the color blue. It wasn’t always symbolic of the Democrats. NPR’s Ron Elving noted this in his recent article, “It’s Hard To Miss The Historical Weirdness of Trump Embracing a ‘Red” Wave.” He points out that it wasn’t long ago that Democrats were identified with the color red and it was the GOP that was colored blue.
Interesting, too, at least for me, Mr. Elving references Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections website. I welcome the chance to make reference to this website. It is a major resource for considering what could have happened if Equal Voice Voting had been used in prior elections. The data showed that Equal Voice Voting would make every vote count and every state matter in our presidential elections.
But I digress.
Mr. Elving informs us that when Reagan ran in 1976, NBC (being the first all-color network) illuminated the Electoral map in blue showing Reagan’s dominance. Blue matched conservative European parties and was the color of the Union in the Civil War.
Democrats disliked the communist implications of being the red party and objected to its use. The color confusion was finally resolved in 2000 when TV broadcasts agreed to the current color scheme of blue for Democrats and red for Republicans.
Democrats Promise A Blue Wave
A political wave seems to be approaching as the Democrats rally. Phil Blunt, of The Washington Post, notes in his article, “The blue wave already crashed on the Democratic Party,” there’s more to come. Mr. Blunt points out that it’s an historic expectation that a president’s party typically takes a hit in the first midterm election.
The article considers the facts for this year’s election. Mr. Blunt cites Lydia Saad’s Gallup article as it points out that the Conservative Lead in U.S. Ideology Is Down to Single Digits. Liberals have slowly gained ground capturing 26% of citizens in 2017, compared to 17% in 1992. Meanwhile, moderates have fallen from 43% to 35%. Conservatives haven’t moved much. Their claim in 1992 was 36% and is now 35%. Ms. Saad points out that Democrats have basically claimed the liberalterm (it hasn’t always been so), which may have affected the polling results.
Mr. Blunt also reflects on Gallup results from a January article by Jeffrey M. Jones, Americans’ Identification as Independents Back Up in 2017, showing Independents are on the rise. Mr. Jones says that 42% of Americans identified as political independents.
For which color will they vote?
Waves Are All About Voter Turnout
As we consider a political wave, be it red or blue, let’s look at voter turnout.
The 2014 midterm voter turnout was a disappointment. In fact, only 36.6% of eligible citizens voted. It was the lowest turnout since World War II! Nonprofit VOTE prepared a report, America Goes to the Polls 2014, emphasizes the turnout disparity between years for presidential elections and midterms.
By the way, the 2014 voter turnout was around the same percentage of registered voter ballots (only 37%) that counted in 2016. How so? The reason was mostly because the winner-takes-all aspect of our election process discards so many votes (46% of them)! And, over 30% of registered voters did not cast a ballot. Will we do the same in 2020?
The chart below compares presidential election and midterm voter turnouts. It shows that an additional 17% to 20% of the voting population typically fails to cast a ballot during midterm elections. Can a voting wave emerge with that kind of complacency?
Comparing the voter turnout by state, I’m proud to note that Oregon came in 5th! Pence’s own Indiana came in dead last as 51st(including Washington, D.C.). Trump’s New York was 49th.
Be it a blue or a red wave, the key is voter turnout. Whether policies are catching on among voters, or candidates becoming more or less popular, who shows up to vote makes a difference.
Will There Be A Wave In 2020?
I cannot predict what will happen in November. Voter turnout depends on all of us. It doesn’t do much good if all we do is talk. Even marching isn’t enough to change our nation’s governance. Everything boils down to voting.
Voting is your voice. Make sure it counts! Which is why I constantly remind everyone that Equal Voice Voting makes every presidential ballot count and every state matter.
It won’t be long and we’ll be considering the 2020 presidential election. Will we still be shackled with the winner-takes-all cancer (See A Cancer Is Attacking Our Presidential Elections)? Can we get legislators to rid our election system of this form of vote suppression?
Or will the voting turbulence and forecasted waves simply recede leaving a paltry few to once again pick our next president?