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HORIST: Showdown at enthusiasm gap

HORIST: Showdown at enthusiasm gap

Now that the controversies over the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have shifted off the front burner to the futuristic “we’re gonna get you later” stage, the politicians, pundits and press have shifted their focus to the midterms and the issue of “enthusiasm.”  It is almost impossible to watch the news for more than half an hour – and who would want to do that anyway – without having someone offering up theories on which side of the political divide is more motivated.

For months, the common left-wing view is that the Democrats are the most motivated to get off their duffs and vote.  They point to a few anecdotal high-turnout special elections in the past couple of years – even though most seasoned political observers would tell you that those singletons are not reliable indicators for general elections.  But, if you are going to create a plausible narrative, you must work with what you have.

Much is said about the women’s vote – especially as influenced by President Trump’s alleged chauvinism and the aftermath of the Kavanaugh hearing — and the younger vote as personified by that self-absorbed media freak, David Hogg.

There is also that unproven intuitive belief that the side that loses is more enthusiastic about voting than the side that wins – ergo, the Democrats, who lost on Kavanaugh, are more motivated to retaliate in November. So sayeth the stuffy and highly partisan historian Jon Meacham.  Of course, the theory that losers will turn out in greater numbers fails to explain why incumbents almost always get re-elected – and that will be true again this November no matter which party winds up controlling the House or Senate.

I could agree that the outcome of the Kavanaugh hearings might – just might – provide for a bit more enthusiasm among Democrats.  But, if they only consider that one issue, Democrats will yet again underestimate Republican enthusiasm.  It is the NEXT Supreme Court nomination, those hundreds of other federal court nominations and the fear – yes, that other emotion that motivates voters –  the fear that if Democrats take over the House, they will destroy Trump administration’s accomplishments by throwing the nation into one political crisis after another.

Many Democrat operatives point to the youth vote as a big factor in the upcoming election.  Over many election cycles, we’ve been told over and over that they are highly motivated and overwhelmingly Democrat.  Hogg is frequently reported to be traveling around to enroll more Democrats on those liberal college campuses.  The problem with this theory is that, no matter how many times the theory is advanced, in the final outcomes young people do not vote in high numbers – and certainly not record numbers. 

The women’s vote is a bit more complicated.  We first have to understand that Democrats and their left-leaning friends presume that they own the women’s vote no matter what the statistics suggest.  They certainly own the left-wing feminist vote, which is essentially the Democratic Party ladies club, and they have the advantage of the media pretending that left-wing feminists represent THE women’s viewpoint on all issues.

I appeared on a television program opposite the representative of the National Organization of Women (NOW) back in 1984, shortly after Vice President Walter Mondale chose Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro as the first female candidate for Vice President of a major party.  The lady from NOW was emphatic in her belief that Ferraro was a game changer.  Women, in droves, would be crossing over to elect the first woman to that high office.  She even predicted that incumbent President Ronald Reagan would be defeated because of it. 

That was about the time that the dubious “gender gap” came into popular vogue.  It was generally expressed with the spin that Republicans had a problem with women.  Doesn’t that conversely mean that the Democrats had a problem with men?  But, I digress.

My friend from NOW scoffed when I predicted that Reagan would not only win re-election, but he would carry the majority of women.  He did both – winning one of the most lopsided elections in modern times.

You will recall that during Trump’s campaign, the suggestion that the GOP had a problem with women went into hyperspace.  And why not?  He was not only running as a Republican, but he was being characterized as sex abusing misogynist – AND he was running against not only a woman but the darling of the feminist movement, Hillary Clinton.  Based on that analysis, Trump should have been crushed by the women’s vote.  So, what happened?

Clinton carried the female vote by a 54 to 42 margin.  Not exactly a landslide in view of all the cards stacked in her favor.  But as you dig deeper into the statistics, it gets more interesting.  Trump carried a majority of the white women vote.  He beat Clinton among her own political interest group – at least as Democrats see these things.  That is an astounding accomplishment if you consider all the pre-election accusations and predictions.  It was an enormous and significant humiliation for the Clinton campaign and the Democrats in general. 

In an attempt to put a good spin on that reality, Democrats and their friendly press noted that Trump lost the majority of Black women.  However, when you consider that approximately 90 percent of Blacks – men and women – routinely vote for Democrats, there is no way that a Republican can win a majority of the Black vote no matter how you might subdivide them by age or gender.  

What is more significant is the fact that Trump did increase Republican numbers in the Black community generally, including with women.  Had Trump carried a majority of black women, it would have been the biggest political realignment since the Great Depression.

What the Reagan and Trump elections establish is that the majority of women – okay, at least half — are not liberal feminists and they are not single-issue voters.  They are not part of that “women’s vote” that is presented in the media as monolithic feminism.

This year, Democrats see the Republican’s Achilles Heel in what they refer to as “suburban women.”  In the past, that target group was called the “soccer moms.”  No matter what they are called, they never seem to respond as the Democrats hope and repeatedly predict.

Democrats often seem to base their election prognostications on the number of people who rally in the streets.  Such protests and demonstrations are part of the liberal DNA.  It is just something they love to do.  Democrats have within their base a class of political protestors who will hit the streets for any issue like rock fans showing up for Grateful Dead concert.  Because of their willingness to express outrage over any issue, I often refer to them as the perma-pissed.  Democrats make the mistake of believing that the more people you get out on the streets, the more votes you get in the polling place.

It can be fairly said that the Democrats should be able to take control of the House, but the fact that it is not a certainty at this stage should scare the bejesus out of them.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.