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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Turnout Lessons of Super Tuesday

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog:

Who’s the Real Turnout Candidate?

Well, his last name ain’t Sanders. Aaron Zitner and John McCormick in the Wall Street Journal:

“The electorate that backed Mr. Biden in South Carolina on Saturday and fueled his victories in 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday had many similarities to the one that boosted his party in the 2018 midterm elections. Suburban voters turned out in droves, along with more traditional elements of the Democratic coalition, particularly African-American voters.

Mr. Sanders’s appeal among the young, the liberal and the politically independent was too weak in many places to create the revolution he promised. Speaking to reporters Wednesday in Vermont, he acknowledged that he hadn’t been as successful as he had hoped in increasing youth voter turnout. “It isn’t easy,” he said…

In many states, those backing Mr. Sanders were simply outnumbered by more centrist Democrats, who showed far more enthusiasm for voting than four years ago, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was considered the front-runner for her party’s nomination and Donald Trump hadn’t yet come to dominate the nation’s politics. The electorate in many states was older and less liberal than in 2016….

Mr. Sanders has long argued that his brand of government activism would draw a broad coalition of voters eager to defeat Mr. Trump, describing his campaign as “the strongest grass-roots movement of any campaign in modern American history.”…

William Frey, a senior demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington who studies political trends, said of the strong turnout of moderate voters: “I think it’s a continuation of the trend we saw in the 2018 midterms, when there was huge turnout. A lot of it is a reaction to Trump.”

White women with college degrees strongly supported Mr. Biden and could be a source of strength for Democrats against Mr. Trump in November. “They did a lot for Biden yesterday,” Mr. Frey said. “That’s going to be a part of the coalition that the Democrats will be banking on.”

Voter turnout jumped by nearly 70% in Virginia over 2016 levels, unofficial results showed, while rising more than 40% in Texas and 16% in North Carolina, all states that Mr. Biden won. Mr. Biden, the man who most embodied the Democratic establishment, won substantial margins among African-Americans, a core Democratic group, as well as older voters.

The twin pillars of Mr. Sanders’s support in 2016—voters under age 30, and political independents—were far less reliable this time around. Those groups either shrank as a share of the 2020 voter pool or were poached by rival candidates.

The senator barely won some of the biggest college communities, including Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia. Montgomery County, home to Virginia Tech, favored Mr. Biden over Mr. Sanders. In North Carolina, Mr. Sanders won the county that is home to the UNC Asheville, but he lost to Mr. Biden in the home to UNC Chapel Hill.

Worse for Mr. Sanders: For all the talk that he would draw a wave of newcomers to the voter pool, those young voters made up a smaller share of the electorate than in 2016, while the share of voters age 65 and older rose.”

One comment on “Teixeira: Turnout Lessons of Super Tuesday

  1. Bigly on

    Puuulease! How is it then that nearly every one of Sander’s policies exit polled with strong majorities? Name those of Biden’s positions that did as well. Bernie didn’t lose… corporate propaganda and the big lie in re Biden’s “electability” did.


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