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Night Owl - Knowledge is the Past. Wisdom is the Future.
Saturday, January 24, 2004
New Voters? We Don't Need No Stinkin' New Voters!
Ruy Texiera at Donkey Rising has this to say about Dean's GOTV efforts.

"Most obviously, an influx of new voters didn't help Dean much at all in the Iowa caucuses. In fact, those new voters surged in the direction of the caucus winners, Kerry and Edwards. Is there any reason to think this result will be different in the general election? Nope, that's what usually happens with new voters: they go for the winner and therefore amplify, not change, the result we would have seen without the new voters."

So let me get this straight. All those new voters who Dean registered to vote in the DEMOCRATIC primary are going to vote for BUSH in the general and therefore amplify Bush's win? Apparently, Ruy believes that the very same people who turned up for the specific purpose of picking the guy to BEAT BUSH are now simply going to turn around 180 degrees and vote for Bush come November.

Of course, Ruy cites some statistics which supposedly lend credibility to his argument:

"But Dean's campaign apparently believes they can make up, say, a 52 percent to 48 percent split against the Democrats among the previously-existing electorate (pegging it at 2000's 105 million voters) by attracting 8 million new voters into the process.

This is nuts. Even assuming they can increase turnout that much, they'd have to get a 3:1 split among these new voters (that is, win these 8 million new voters by 6 million to 2 million) to dig themselves out the hole they'd dug themselves among the rest of the electorate.

Ruy fails to cite any empirical data of WHY its 'NUTS' (note the 'Crazy Dean' meme), to assume that 3 out of 4 who voted in the Democratic primary will vote for a Democrat in the general - Dean or otherwise. But worse than that, he misses the fact that anything over 1 out of 2 is itself a WIN which improves the Dem vote tally. (Of course, he also fails to mention why, after TWELVE YEARS of 'centrist' party leadership, there remains a four point electoral deficit against the Dems in the first place.)

Ruy's post is really just a rehash of the tired, old, 'Dean is unelectable' meme. Basically Ruy is saying: 'Dean will lose, and the voters he registers will just make him lose bigger.'

Beneath his obvious anti-Dean bias, however, lurks a more sinister, anti-GOTV motive. Ruy does not WANT Dean to register new voters because he knows that an influx of new Dems threatens the fragile status quo to whom he remains beholden.

As Dean has shown quite clearly, new voters mean new ideas, new energy, and new enthusiasm, which is always anathema to the retention of failed leadership. Ruy's 'we don't need no stinking new voters' attitude - however he wonks it - is still just a rationalization for denying the new blood that might one day overturn the current party establishment structure.

It is also typical of the failed electoral attitudes of the current party leadership. Woe is the day that the rest of the Democratic Party decides that DEPRESSED voter turnout is a good thing. A more self-defeating strategy for a populist party that relies on the support of 'average voters' I can not possibly imagine.

When Ruy and his guys start winning elections against actual REPUBLICANS, then let them come tell me how bad GOTV drives are. In the meantime, they should quit slamming one of our own for his efforts to recruit new members to the party that Ruy and those like Ruy would rather turn into an elitist clique.

Ruy ends with: "It ain't gonna work. Time to bury this particular idea and bury it deep."

You said it Ruy.

Posted by Night Owl at 2:48 PM PST
Updated: Saturday, January 24, 2004 10:00 PM PST

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