In his column yesterday James Taranto does the math and comes up with the point I’ve been making for quite a while now:
In treating turnout as an afterthought, Tomasky gets it exactly backward. The 2% increase in black turnout was considerably more significant than the seven-point improvement in the Democratic margin among black voters. The total number of votes cast in 2004 was 122.3 million. What if 7% of black voters had switched from Bush to Kerry? That’s 7% of 11% (the total black share of the electorate) of 122.3 million, or about 940,000 votes.
The total number of votes cast in 2008 was 131.5 million. The difference between 11% and 13% black turnout is roughly 2% of the total electorate, or 2.6 million votes. Further, the black electorate grew from 11% of 122.3 million (13.5 million) to 13% of 131.5 million (17.1 million), an increase of 3.6 million, or 27%. That is more than twice the number of blacks who voted for Bush in 2004.
That’s why the constant news of the Clinton’s scandals will be so damaging to the Democrats. It won’t affect the votes of their strongest supporters. They’ll turn out and faithfully vote the straight Democratic ticket. But it will discourage those who aren’t their strongest supporters from turning out to vote at all.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The 2016 election will hinge on turnout. Whoever’s voters turn out will win. Not the candidate whose constituencies are sewed up most tightly.