Primary Turnout May – or May Not – Signal a Blue Wave

Two articles I read today do a great job of dampening (see what I did there?) the blue wave predictions for November. The first, an excellent piece by Stefan Hankin in Campaigns & Elections, digs into the turnout numbers for primaries this year compared to the last midterm wave – 2010. Read the whole thing, but the gist is:

Yes, turnout is up more for Democrats than Republicans this year compared to 2014. No, it’s not all about Trump. The number of contested primaries is up over 35% from 2014, and the increase is higher for Democrats (66%) than Republicans (7%).

In other words, more contested primaries mean more voters in the primaries. A larger increase in contested Democratic primaries means a larger increase in Democratic primary voters.

His point is not to say that a blue wave isn’t looming. Rather, it’s to say that the wave may come, but the numbers certainly don’t portend a tsunami.

The other article is from Todd Stacy at Alabama Daily News, and it takes a much more micro view of the aforementioned blue wave. Todd’s piece describes the failed attempt by competent people to take over leadership of the Democratic Party in Alabama. In so doing, he rightly (I’m SO on my pun game today!) highlights the adage that all politics is local.

As Todd so eloquently puts it, “…if this ‘blue wave’ does come, it won’t matter unless Alabama Democrats are prepared to catch it and ride it.” This look at a once-dominant group’s fall from power to virtual irrelevance shows that no matter what is happening at the national level, local parties – and candidates – matter.

But don’t take my word for it…
Stacy Column: ‘Blue Wave’ May Well Come, But Will it Matter in Alabama?
Hankin Column: Does Primary Turnout Foretell General Election Success?