Wednesday, October 21, 2020


At, Tom Del Baccaro offers "10 tea leaves" allegedly pointing to a Donald Trump victory. Among them:
1. Pennsylvania Voter Registration

... In 2016, ... [President Trump] won Pennsylvania by a slim 44,292 votes out of nearly 6 million. That November, the Democrats had nearly a 900,000 voter registration advantage over the Republicans. That number is now down to a 700,000 registration advantage and has narrowed by 100,000 in the last year....

2. Florida, too.

In 2008, Democrats held nearly a 700,000 voter registration advantage and Barack Obama carried the state by 236,148 votes. By 2012 that advantage slipped to 558,272 registrations and Obama won there by 74,309 votes.

In 2016, Democrats had a 327,483 registration advantage and Trump carried the state by 112,991 votes.

Now the Democrats' voter registration advantage is down nearly 200,000 to just a 134,242 lead, which Politico called a “historic low.”

Obviously, the movement towards Republicans bodes well for the president.
But FiveThirtyEight's Geoffrey Skelley says that surges in GOP voter registration might not mean what they appear to mean. One key point:
In recent years, a growing number of voters don’t want to be associated with either of the two major parties, and instead register as independent. After hovering in the low- to high-30s from the late 1980s to the late 2000s, the share of Americans who identify as politically independent has now reached or even topped 40 percent in recent years, according to Gallup.

... The reality, of course, is that most independents lean toward one party, but their preferences are still masked at the voter registration level. This is especially tricky in battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania that have seen major upticks in the share of voters who have registered with no party affiliation.

... younger voters are more likely to identify as independent than older voters. And importantly, younger voters of color are also more likely to register as independents, as Florida’s registration figures have shown. Both of these groups tend to lean Democratic which means that even if many of these voters don’t openly identify as Democrats, they’re more likely to vote for Democrats than not. More broadly, polls show Biden ahead of Trump among voters who identify as independent. That means even if Republicans are winning the registration battle in some key states, it might not be enough to offset the number of registered Democrats and independents who may back Biden in the end.
According to the polls, Biden has a large and durable lead -- a lead much larger than Hillary Clinton's. (At Real Clear Politics, Biden's lead is 8.5; at the comparable point in the race, Hillary Clinton's lead was 5.4.) It really looks as if he'll win.

But if he does win -- possibly by a wide margin -- he's doing so in a country that's not enthusiastic about his party. He's winning thanks to people who aren't Democrats.

We shouldn't be surprised. As I regularly say here, Democrats never tell the public that the Democratic Party is simply better than the Republican Party. They never say that the Republican Party is bad for America. (Republicans say that every day about Democrats.) And this year, much of Biden's message has been Hey, you can vote for me safely -- I'm okay! Republicans say so!

So this election could be a win -- even a big win -- but Democrats have a lot of work to do as a party. They've done nothing to build the Democratic brand -- in fact, they're hurting it by suggesting that Democrats need a Republican imprimatur to deserve victory.

I think those independents will come through for Biden. But for the future, we need to turn them into Democrats.

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