Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Low Turnout Consequences: Sink Sunk, Hello Jolly!

Low Democrat and Democrat-leaning turnout  is being blamed for the defeat of Alex Sink in the special election yesterday in Florida's 13th Congressional District.  She lost to "repeal Obamacare!" mouthbreather David Jolly, this despite the fact that the recently divorced, former lobbyist Jolly was squiring his girlfriend 14 years his junior around the campaign stump (Mark Sanford family values!), and Republicans were calling him and his campaign "incompetent."

So, why did Sink only get 30 percent turnout in her strongholds versus Jolly getting 50 percent in his? We think Kos nails it:
[G]iven our anemic base turnout, Democratic candidates need to do a better job motivating them to vote. And in this case, I don't blame our base voters. When Democrats like Alex Sink run on austerity, cutting Social Security and bringing back the Simpson-Bowles Catfood Commission, well, no one is inspired.  (our emphasis)
It was always Jolly's election to lose, since he and outside groups outspent Sink by $5 million to $3 million.  Even so, Jolly only won a plurality of the vote (48.4 percent).  Remember, too, that the 13th has been in Republican hands for about 4 decades (R.I.P., Rep. Bill "Family Values" Young!), so the net is zero. Unfortunately, though, a Democrat could have picked up the seat:  a Democrat not fighting from a defensive crouch, caught in an austerity time warp;  a Democrat giving full-throated, positive support for Obamacare.  That's the real takeaway from this special election (and, of course, that the Democrats have to do a much better job getting their base out in November - see excerpt above for guidance - or else).

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