If there's a high turnout, wherein lies the base?

I complain a lot about the primary system, and how it prevents candidates who might prove to be popular in general elections from ever getting there.

In several posts, I looked at the Schwarzenegger phenomenon. (Schwarzenegger of course, managed by a fluke to avoid the primary, which would normally have prevented him from becoming governor, only to be elected repeatedly in an overwhelmingly Democratic state. Had the Republican activists had their way, the party would have remained "pure" -- and out of power.)

In yesterday's election, record turnout was reported in both parties, and while the GOP numbers are still quite low in terms of the overall percentage of registered Republican voters, in many cases the numbers more than doubled:

Records for GOP turnout were set in Alabama at 16.2 percent of eligibles as compared to 7.3 in 1988; Arkansas (9.7 versus 4 percent in 1988); Connecticut (5.9 versus 5.4 in 1996); Delaware (8 percent compared to 6.1 in 1996); Georgia (15.1 compared to 11.3 in 2000); Missouri (13.5 versus 11.6 in 2000); New Jersey (9.4 compared to 5.6 in 1992); Oklahoma (13 percent versus 11 percent in 1996); Tennessee (12.1 compared to 7.3 in 1996) and Utah (18 percent as compared to 6.4 percent in 2000).

The highest GOP turnout was in New Hampshire at 23.3 percent of eligibles, followed by Utah (18), Alabama (16.2), Georgia (15.11) and Florida (15.08). The lowest occurred in New York at 4.8 percent of eligibles, followed by Connecticut at 5.9 and Delaware at 8 percent.

Who are these people?

Did the Schwarzenegger upstart types wise up and start voting?

Are they the new base?

And for the umpteenth time, just what is "the base"?

posted by Eric on 02.06.08 at 09:54 PM


Heh, I'm not sure whether California's Republicans are better off under Schwarzenegger than they would be under a reasonably competent Democrat governor.

But your point about the base is quite correct. I've been attempting to convince gun owners that there's no point in voting third party, or staying out of the presidential election to "teach the GOP a lesson", like the GOP is a perfect metaphor for a person. It's true that the GOP will have a hard time winning without the gun owner vote, but my caution to gun owners it that it's not a fore drawn conclusion that they'll come crawling back to us on their hands and knees begging for forgiveness. In fact, given how politics works, that's not likely to happen at all. Without gun owners a willing part of the Republican coalition, the GOP has no reason to front a pro-gun candidate at all. The likely scenario is you have to deal with Democrats for a while, until the GOP forms a majority coalition, probably without gun owners represented. Then what? Oh yeah, Ron Paul will save us!

Sebastian   ·  February 8, 2008 5:16 PM

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