Democrat strategists have expressed fears that the coalition of voters who elected President Barack Obama will not show up at the polling booths for the party’s presidential nominee in 2016.
After the drubbing by the GOP during the midterms, Democrats have been making the point that in two years minority voters and young people will return to the fold and elect a Democrat to the White House, The Hill reported
But Democrat strategist Doug Thornell warned, “I don’t think the Democratic Party should take anyone for granted, or should just assume that these voters are just going to back our nominee, and more importantly, going to turn out for the same level as President Obama.”
“They’re going to need a reason and they’re going to need a message,” said Thornell, who is concerned that there will be a repeat in 2016 of what happened two weeks ago in the midterm elections.
“People just stayed home because the candidate didn’t motivate them and didn’t manage to convince them to go to the polls.”
In 2008 and 2012, Obama overwhelmingly defeated the GOP with a coalition of millennials, minorities and women in swing states such as Ohio, Iowa and Colorado. But The Hill noted that without Obama on the ballot, there are no guarantees that a coalition will come together again in 2016.
A former Democrat campaign official said that the party’s presidential nominee, who is likely to be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will need to find “new ways to energize our folks.”
“The messaging we put out there hasn’t been translating,” a senior Democrat operative said. “I don’t want to sugarcoat it. It has been an issue for us. We need to try and communicate what’s at stake.”
Republican operative Grover Norquist also believes that Democrats will face a tough time pulling together a coalition that will put another Democrat in the White House in two years.
Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, a coalition of taxpayer groups, individuals, and businesses opposed to higher taxes, said that the Democrats’ voter advantages, from volunteer lists to technology infrastructure, were built by Obama’s campaign team and not by the party.
According to The Hill, Norquist said the presidential election is not just a case of demographics with race, gender and ethnicity taking a large enough share of the electorate to put a Democrat in the White House.
He says “issue voters,” including the increasing number of gun-permit holders, homeschoolers or school-voucher recipients in swing states, will play a much bigger role in selecting the next president.
“The electorate is different today than when Obama got elected — people now have freedoms and rights they didn’t before,” said Norquist, adding that many of Obama’s supporters will not just automatically shift their allegiance to the next Democrat.
Saying that the Democrat nominee will have to earn their vote just like the Republican candidate will have to do, Norquist added, “They’re not transferable, you can’t hand people off like they are serfs or something.”
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