At this point in the 2016 presidential primary system, regardless of who is winning, one thing is certain: the American people are turning out in much higher numbers than normal – and its been noticed. According to the Washington Post, so far in 2016, 1.1 million more people have voted in Republican primaries than Democratic ones. In fact, other than primaries in largely Democratic states, Republican primaries in states where they are open are getting a lot of voters.
In Georgia, over 1.2 million voters participated in the Republican Primary, and in Tennessee over 900,000. Both states went to Donald Trump. Massachusetts had 1.2 million Democratic voters participate in the primary, however, Massachusetts being a Democratic state that should be no surprise.
It is, though, the CHANGE in the electorate that is showing up to vote that has garnered the interest of just about everyone. Democratic turnout, overall is down, with Republican turnout up, even over the 2012 election.
Earlier this week, we considered whether or not this mattered, concluding that we didn’t have enough information to make a determination. There have only been three times both parties have had open primary contests since 1968, and the party with an obvious nominee saw lower turnout two of those three times: George H. W. Bush in 1988 and Al Gore in 2000. Both Bush and Gore won a larger percentage of the vote that November.
The Democrats trail in turnout, yes. But at this point, one would imagine that the Republican Party would gladly trade lower turnout for a much less chaotic nomination.
Possibly, but what the numbers in the open primaries point to, is either a concerted effort to get Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz out of the race, or the great middle ground of Americans – where most of the votes are actually – responding to a well done marketing campaign. Whatever the case is, since all of the “experts” are stymied, the American electorate is awake and heading to the polls for the primaries, and someone that all career politicians fear is vacuuming up delegate votes.
It will be interesting from here on out.