GOP stands to gain in midterms from Democrats’ insistent abortion messaging, silence on economy
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Two years after taking the oath of office, the Democratic Party appears to be more energized than voters realize.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appear at an event in Amherst, New Hampshire, U.S. April 21, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Democrats are running on a platform featuring bold, liberal stances on issues such as marijuana legalization, abortion rights, and gun control, in contrast with Republican Donald Trump, who is promising to bring back protectionist trade deals and push for an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.
“Democrats are starting off the year on a roll,” said Jennifer Duffy, head of the liberal polling firm Public Policy Polling, after the party’s Senate primaries.
But the party faces a more difficult path in the 2018 midterms than it looks in the wake of Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election.
The Republican Party’s success in a presidential election has prompted a shift in the way Democrats think about voter registration. They are now focusing on turnout rather than party registration.
The Democrats are trying to flip the Republican Party registration from “winsome” to “loser” and increase their margin of victory in the midterm elections.
“Turnout was one of the things we had hoped would be the driver but it is not helping,” said Brian Schaffner, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman. “Voter participation in the midterm elections will probably be much lower.”
The party’s voter registration drive “has a long time to go and a lot of time to do,” but it has created a more energized base, said Democratic strategist Paul Maslin, who advised former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2008.
A voter registration push by the Democratic Party helped turn out its base in 2008, which played a key role in helping the party win six of the eight seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The more excited they get, and I hope they are, the better,” Maslin said