Democrats must boost voter ranks

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE EDITOR, Sir: EVER SINCE the world was shocked by the out­come of the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, I keep read­ing com­men­taries say­ing the same thing: The Demo­cratic Party needs to learn how to speak to poor, white peo­ple. Most com­men­ta­tors are also giv­ing read­ers and lis­ten­ers the wrong im­pres­sion, which is that Trump won be­cause he was able to cap­ture some re­cent Demo­cratic vot­ers.

The re­sults of the last three US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions show that Trump re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately the same num­ber of votes that John McCain and Mitt Rom­ney got – McCain got 59.9 mil­lion votes, Rom­ney got 60.9 mil­lion and Trump got 60.2 mil­lion. So, what this tells me is that there is a core group of ap­prox­i­mately 60 mil­lion Amer­i­cans who will vote for whomever is the Re­pub­li­can nom­i­nee.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was able to beat both McCain and Rom­ney, while Hil­lary Clin­ton was un­able to beat Don­ald Trump be­cause there are five to 10 mil­lion peo­ple who voted for Barack be­tween 2008 (when he got nearly 70 mil­lion votes) and 2012 (when he got 66 mil­lion votes) who didn’t vote for Hil­lary, who got ap­prox­i­mately 61 mil­lion votes.

In other words, there are five to 10 mil­lion peo­ple who voted for Pres­i­dent Obama who didn’t vote for Hil­lary but, even more im­por­tant, those peo­ple didn’t vote for Trump ei­ther be­cause he didn’t in­crease the to­tal num­ber of votes be­yond that which the last two Re­pub­li­cans who ran got. In fact, Trump got nearly 700,000 votes fewer than Rom­ney.

On the other hand, we know that at least four mil­lion more peo­ple voted for third-party can­di­dates in 2016 com­pared to 2012.

So, Democrats (and peo­ple around the world who sup­port Democrats) need to stop freak­ing out and think­ing that the USA they knew and loved un­der Pres­i­dent Obama has so dra­mat­i­cally changed. It hasn’t.

In­stead, Democrats need to fo­cus on try­ing to iden­tify those four mil­lion peo­ple who voted for third-party can­di­dates in 2016, plus the other up to six mil­lion peo­ple who voted for Bar­rack in 2008 but who sat out both the 2012 and 2016 elec­tions.

In other words, Democrats need to fig­ure out who these peo­ple are and what mo­ti­vated them to vote for Obama dur­ing 2008 and 2012, be­cause it is the re­cap­ture by the Democrats of these five to 10 mil­lion peo­ple that will put a Demo­crat back in the White House! CHRIS­TINE Mon­tego Bay, St Ja­maica

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