They said you all wouldn’t turnout. They said only Republicans voted in midterms. But they had no idea how angry people were. And they had no idea that y’all carry a grudge when someone comes to steal your rights.
Win or lose, today they are learning that what they have to fear is you. And this explains why Mitch McConnell, even when up in the polls, resorted to illegal voter suppression tactics. Democrats are turning out in huge numbers in Kentucky. At noon, a Democratic strong had 40% turnout. This is amazing. The enthusiasm on the ground looks much different than the expectations pollsters used. Iowa is reporting record voter turnout as well.
In Kansas, Douglas County is having a surge of Democratic voters:
— Patrick Miller (@pmiller1693) November 4, 2014
Planned Parenthood took to the streets for women and families, and Dawn Laguen, the EVP of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, tweeted that they knocked on more doors in Colorado this year than they knocked on in the entire country for 2012:
— Dawn Laguens (@dawnlaguens) November 4, 2014
Our public goal was knocking on 1 million doors. Our internal goal was 1.5 million doors. We knocked on 2 million doors before Election Day.
— Dawn Laguens (@dawnlaguens) November 4, 2014
Yeah, that would be an energized, angry REVENGE posse coming for Republicans.
Senate Democrats not only poured their huge grassroots donations into the Bannock Street Project, a get out the vote operation, but as Ben Jacobs of The Daily Beast explained today, “loyalty cards” might keep House Democrats from being “massacred” due to Republican gerrymandering and a midterm electorate that historically favors Republicans (we’ll see how these numbers shake out after this election):
In 2014, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the electoral arm of House Democrats, has rolled out an extensive field program built partially around pledge cards. With the cards, “marginal voters,” those who might vote in presidential years but not in midterm elections, make a commitment to vote on November 4 and support the Democratic ticket in 48 districts. So far, in both online and physical cards, they say they have collected 1,199,169 total commitments.
The effort has not just been focused on “drop-off” voters—that is, Democrats who voted in 2012 but not in the 2010 midterms. Instead, the DCCC has found a surprising number of unregistered voters—and not just in states that aren’t presidential battlegrounds, like West Virginia or New York. One Democratic official marveled that there “so many
unregistered voters” in purple North Carolina that “we didn’t drain the well” in 2008 and 2010.
Celebrities are doing their part to get young people to vote. In a press release, the nonpartisan HeadCount.Org explained, “(M)ore than 300 entertainers in partnership with HeadCount.org will take part in a massive get-out-the-vote push, posting photos of themselves to social media urging their fans to ‘#GoVote.’ The campaign specifically aims to combat the trend of “drop-off” voters, where half of young voters only cast ballots in Presidential races and then skip the Midterm Elections.”
A diverse group of musicians, comics and actors – including Rob Lowe, Stephen Colbert, John Legend, Dave Matthews, Linkin Park, Sarah Silverman, Fergie, George Lopez, John Oliver, T.I., The Black Keys, Herbie Hancock, Perez Hilton, Chaka Khan, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Ms. Lauryn Hill, all the living members of The Grateful Dead, Andy Richter and Conan O’Brien – have taken photos while holding artwork that says “#GoVote.” Each will Tweet and post their photos today, saturating social media with a get-out-the-vote message.
The more than 315 entertainers involved average over one million social media followers each across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, totalling more than 350 million. The number of participants and their popularity makes #GoVote one of the largest Election Day social media efforts ever.
Of course there are still areas where it didn’t look nearly so great by noon, which is just another way of saying there is still more work to be done:
Roosevelt Perry school in West Louisville has just 17% turnout so far… #kysen
— Joe Sonka (@joesonka) November 4, 2014
And in Georgia, where Democrats are making a solid run at Republicans in a red state, urban Democratic Atlanta has been experiencing “problems” all day, from long lines to being charged to vote, so some voters are leaving without voting, according to the AJC.
In early voting in Georgia, African American voters turned out more than they did in 2010, according to numbers crunched by Better Georgia. People are fed up. Atlanta Daily World reported that the white vote is down and:
A considerably larger share of black Georgia voters have cast their early ballots in this year’s general election than they did during the 2010 midterm elections and nearly matching the numbers of 2012 when they helped reelect President Obama.
Better Georgia polling shows that, with 33.1 percent of early votes cast, black balloters nearly match their turnout of 2012, when President Obama was up for re-election. Black voters then cast 29.2 percent of early ballots.
Elsewhere, large amounts of voters are being asked for ID in states where it is not required.
Reports of voters being asked for photo ID in states where voter ID not required, like WI, MO, AR. Much higher volume than prior years
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) November 4, 2014
In light of such blatant obstructionism and voter suppression, it feels good to see that even the cynics are giving it their all:
@AlisonForKY I wasn’t going to bother as I’ve lost all faith in government but I am voting for you today. Fight for the people Alison!!!
— Joe Eversole (@LexVegasXray) November 4, 2014
Win or lose, the effort matters. This level of engagement makes politicians know that you are paying attention and will hold them accountable by using your right to vote. This matters. The people don’t have to win every race, and indeed, this midterm election has been all but handed to Republicans. We are told to expect a massacre.
But on the ground, the people are still making phone calls, driving people to the polls, waiting in lines — they are fighting back. The people are fighting for their rights to vote, rights to a raise in the minimum wage, affordable healthcare, equal pay, veterans care, and more. The people will be heard in 2014, and that is a huge win, even if they “lose”.
Just keep getting out the vote. They didn’t count on you showing up. But you are.
Image: #GoVote nonpartisan campaign via HeadCount.org
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.