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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Since 1920?

In a final note on turnout levels today, here’s a striking note from MSNBC:

Americans were voting in numbers unprecedented since women were given the franchise in 1920. Secretaries of state predicted turnouts approaching 90 percent in Virginia and Colorado and 80 percent or more in big states like Ohio, California, Texas, Missouri and Maryland.

The general buzz has been that turnout would approach 1960 levels. But 1920? That election, fueled not only by the extended franchise, but by reaction to World War I and polarized excitement about Prohibition, was one of the higher turnout elections in U.S. history.
Meanwhile, the idea that turnout in The Commonwealth of Virginia might reach 90% is especially symbolic. For many decades, Virginia legislated some of the most restrictive voter eligibility practices in the country, aimed not just at African-Americans, but at anyone who wasn’t a property-holder. The aristocratic guardians of the Byrd Machine are undoubtedly rolling in their graves.

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