Three mistakes that will cost Democrats the midterms
There have been a number of surprising upsets in the Democratic primary process this cycle, and the party was already facing a challenging year in 2018. The good news for Democrats in the long-term, however, is that they are still in good shape to hold onto the Senate and make gains in state and local races, especially in key gubernatorial races.
So let’s get specific about the major upsets this cycle.
1. The failure to get any traction with the base
Democratic voters are the second-most engaged voters in the nation after Republican voters. They get the election issues (like abortion) out to the ballot, they get the candidates who talk about those issues on the trail, and they’re the ones who decide who wins the primary.
The problem is Democrats have been underwhelming in their efforts to recruit and activate the base. To date, their 2018 Senate campaign has been very similar to their 2017 Senate campaign, in which they did the bare minimum to win more votes from Democratic voters.
When it comes to recruiting and mobilizing Democratic voters, only about a third of voters said they’d consider registering to vote in a Democratic primary this year, according to POLITICO. This is well short of the 67% of voters who had registered as Democrats earlier this year on the same question, though their turnout was about the same. Only about a third of African-Americans who voted in the 2016 general election returned to the polls to vote in the 2018 primary, and the number of black women who voted in 2016 and supported Hillary Clinton to this point in the cycle was just 2%.
2. The failure to get voters mobilized on the ground
In the 2018 midterms, the Democrats who spent the most on their campaigns were the ones who made the biggest investment in local candidates. These were the candidates who worked the hardest to get the most support out the door in the most places.
However, in the midterms, local races aren’t the only places