Republicans Swamp Battlegrounds on Voter Registration

DC Politics National Politics

New Orleans      We’re at Halloween, there’s a blue moon, and it’s a super-scary time with the election only days and hours away.  What me worry?  Hell, yes!

I’m still fretting and fuming over various voter registration campaigns having, until very, very recently, ceded the work in the field to become zoombies, tele-workers, texters, and digitizers.  At the Voter Purge Project, we have continued to be disturbed that campaigns of all shapes and sizes are not reckoning with the number of voters being eliminated from the lists, even as new voters, at great time and expense, are being added.  Various campaigns have claimed voter registration gains and advantages, even while not looking at voters in total or by party registration. They were campaigning with one arm tied behind their backs.  Of course, not being willing in the pandemic, even as restrictions eased, to hit the doors, meant that additionally both legs were cemented to some office or bedroom floor, rather than beating the streets for voters.

That wasn’t a problem for the Republicans, because they did in fact let their feet do the walking, and it shows, perhaps painfully and fatefully, in the results.  A report in the Wall Street Journal documents the results to our peril:

In Pennsylvania, state records show Republican gains in voter registration. While Democrats still outnumber Republicans by close to 700,000 voters, the gap has narrowed by about 230,000 since the 2016 election. That’s a potentially meaningful change in a state that Mr. Trump won by 44,000 votes. In Florida, the Democratic advantage in voter registration has narrowed to 134,000, state records show. The Democratic lead was about 330,000 voters in 2016, when Mr. Trump won the state by about 113,000 votes. In North Carolina, Democrats have slightly out-registered Republicans since the last election, according to data from L2, a nonpartisan firm that collects voter records. Yet, other changes in the electorate have cut the overall Democratic lead in registered voters by about 160,000 as of September.

As I have said before, being afraid to mask up, talk from the porch, and hit the doors could be the reason the Democrats lose to the Republicans in the 2020 election, both at the top of the ticket and in the fight to control the Senate.  Both ideologically and tactically, the Republicans understood there was no substitute for eye-to-eye, person-to-person contact, and as much as the Democrats decry social media and the tech overlords, they seem to have been content to live and die by their tools, rather than having faith in their ability to persuade people, even in this election where the contrasts are so clear and the stakes so dire.  If the Democrats didn’t to their job of expanding the voting pool, even with a record 150 million projected voters, demographic destiny is easily trumped by dutiful attention to the doors when it comes to registration and turnout, meaning that they could drown in the swallow waters, just as easily as they could at high tide.