One midterm curiosity:
So I’ve been pretty much silent on the commentary front for a while. In part this has been due to having the whole family go through the enterovirus; in part it’s been because I’ve been swamped professionally; and in part it’s because there has not been much interesting I thought I could add to much of the political noise of the moment.
But one thing intrigues me about the midterms. Pretty much all the conventional wisdom is correct: midterms are about turnout; whatever party holds the presidency in a midterm tends to get hammered in Congressional elections (especially in the 6th year of a president’s term); unpopular presidents usually watch their parties lose lots and lots of seats in the House and Senate. Given all this, it’s quite likely the Democrats will lose control of the Senate, making the Congress Republican and intensifying the divided government we already have.
Still, there is one aspect of the midterms that might — might — change the dynamic I just outlined. This is the role of social media in mobilizing unexpected turnout. See, most pollsters and pundits are anticipating that younger voters of greater demographic diversity are unlikely to vote in the Fall. And, given their historical pattern of voting, this is a perfectly reasonable assumption: young people and diverse populations tend not to vote in midterms. Since these groups tend to vote for Democratic candidates, their non-voting hurts Democrats and helps Republicans.
I will be curious to see if the social media campaign to mobilize voters who usually stay at home in the midterms works or not. From what I’ve seen, there has been a much greater social media effort in 2014 to educate and motivate voters who historically stay at home in midterms than there was in 2010. I don’t know if this will work, but I do know that if it doesn’t, Democrats are going to have a long, long, unpleasant night early next month.
Long and unpleasant. Not two words you want to put too close together in a sentence.