Democrats Need to Get Voters Running to the Polls for 2020 Presidential Election

Former Senator Bernie Kenny argues that to win the 2020 presidential election, Democrats need to do whatever necessary to wake people up on election day and run to the polls to vote, as Republican voters will already be there.


One morning in mid- September 2016 , a poll showed the Presidential race something like Clinton 47 – Trump 43 ….with the rest (10%) spread among a few other candidates or undecided. This was alarming, I thought, because, in August, Clinton had an eight point lead. It was too close . That was the morning I first felt that Donald Trump would become President. Hillary hadn’t put him away.

For Democrats , there is no reason to believe Donald Trump won’t get more than the 63 million votes he got in 2016. He is an incumbent President. The economy is good.  He’s focused on winning. And, most importantly, he has, for now, no defined opponent, or unified opposition. And a Democratic Party unsure of its message. He’s consistently polling between 42 and 45 %. Add a few points for those who won’t admit they’re voting for him, and some  undecideds , some “third party” candidates and he’s knocking at the door of the Electoral College (EC).

The 66 million that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each got in 2016 and 2012 respectively won’t cut it against Trump in 2020 unless you’re okay with a long, perhaps sorrowful night and taking home the consolation prize of the Popular Vote.

I wouldn’t bet on making headway with the white vote. Both Romney and Trump won by 20 points. And Trump is knowingly going all in with racism because so far he’s not seeing any negative consequences, any white erosion. Your guess is as good as mine as to why this is so. I hope that changes. We do know it’s his only path to victory. Those white votes carry a lot of EC votes in a majority of states. That’s not changing in 2020 as much as the leadership of the Democratic Party may wish for it to.

Democrats need a turnout upwards of 140 million, exceeding the 137.5 million of 2016. Democrats need to get 70 million votes which is what Obama got in 2008. This leaves room for third party candidates, non-Presidential voters, and miscellaneous. That could beat Trump by around 5 + million in popular votes. This is what it might take and it is not out of reach. It translates by sheer volume into EC votes in the borderline / swing states and then some. Maybe Georgia. The fact is Democrats must win the national popular vote by such a broad “healthy “ margin to overcome the Electoral College is a fact of life for now. To win, there must be a surge. This is the surest path to victory and the one most manageable…..if there’s a plan, it must be a gross volume plan.

In some local elections, as a challenger to an incumbent, you want everyone to vote knowing the the incumbent will get his vote out no matter. But you know all the “extras” are yours. And there are more of them. So, in addition to your identified vote, you “blind pull “ the rest of the vote, the chances 3-1 that that vote is yours. This is what Democrats need to do in 2020….. Trump has no defense against those long lines that scale the walls. It’s called a Blind Pull.

If turnout among white Dems and “non -whites”, as demographically defined, is the answer then all the questions should be answerable accordingly. Do what needs to be done so people wake up on November 3 , 2020 running to the polls. The Trump voters will already be there.

Three months ago , April 18 ,  the Mueller Report was released. Impeachment proceedings should have commenced shortly thereafter….. if the plan is turnout volume a la 2008. Instead, because the polls didn’t “call “ for Impeachment, a cautious approach was taken in these most uncautious times. For the last three months, Trump is playing ping pong, running out the clock, solid as he has ever been, given his ceiling of approval, 5 points below 50%. But don’t be deceived. He can win.

Regarding Impeachment, missing in the analysis of the polling was that ….. time going forward, media coverage, the daily narrative, and Trump himself ….. the polls would move and generate momentum and support for Impeachment. The most recent White Nationalist, racist “Send Them Back” calumny is an example. When does the speaker of such racism be recognized as a racist, once and for all? This was entirely foreseeable from this President and relevant to his fitness for the office of President Of The United States at an Impeachment proceeding; a lost opportunity in this moment. There will be more such opportunities. It is not too late to impeach him.

Rank and file Democrats of all persuasions believe the only mission is defeating Trump and have made the electablity of their candidate as the first criterion. You would think under these specific circumstances that that mission would determine how candidates conduct their
“campaigns”….. who could best beat Trump.

But something lurks in this Country of ours. This feeling of uncertainty where no one really knows anything. All the voices sound like sports commentaries which tell you what happened after the fact and then explain why it happened. Until they do it again the next day. To what end ?

Except that one voice we hear saying, “Here’s nothing. Hold it tightly.”

Bernie Kenny of Hoboken is the former Senator from the 33rd District.

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