Lon Johnson, the chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, doesn’t want to ever see 2010 again.
That was the year that GOP took all three branches of Michigan government, hanging ten on a tsunami wave that swept Republicans into control of the House, Senate and the governor’s office.
Johnson pointed out that with so many more Democrats than Republicans in Michigan, that should be mathematically impossible. Michigan is the state that gave Barack Obama a 9-point victory in 2012 even though Republicans and conservative PACs outspent the Democrats and their liberal-monied friends by a 4 to 1 margin.
How could the 2010 debacle have happened? Johnson wondered this aloud to an audience of UAW and Democratic Party members as he opened a rally for the Democrats’ candidate for governor, Mark Schauer, on Sept. 8.
The reason was tragically simple for the true believers in the Grand Rapids, Mich., union hall: Democrats stayed home in 2010. Why? Perhaps they were still hung over from 2008 victory parties. Maybe it was a combination of victory hubris and a lack of exciting candidates.
Johnson said 995,000 registered Democrats did not vote in Michigan in 2010.
Johnson vowed to never let 2010 happen again.
“We can win. There are more of us than there are of them,” Johnson said. “All we have to do is get out there and kick ass on Election Day.”
That, and motivate 300,000 of the 995,000 Michigan Democrats who sat out the 2010 election to get off their couches and into an election booth. Johnson said that would be enough in November.
Technology will help. Michigan Democrats are going mobile, unveiling the Win Machine app that will show Democrats who are the slackers of their party and where they live.
“Give us two more weeks, and we will know their blood type,” said Johnson.
More than 100 volunteers are working out of 31 Democratic Party offices in Michigan with a goal of knocking on 1.2 million doors. Johnson is convinced if people who didn’t vote in 2010 are only given a good talking to, they will be motivated to cast a ballot Nov. 4.
And here’s the beauty of the Democrats’ plan. The slackers don’t even need to get up off the couch if they have a laptop or tablet handy.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was in Lansing, Mich., on Sept. 4 as Michigan Democrats unveiled an effort to pump up the volume on absentee ballot registration before the November election.
She told reporters Michigan Democrats had opened MIAbsentee.com as a new statewide tool to allow voters to apply for absentee ballots.
“There is a clear contrast in the fundamental priorities of the Democratic and Republican parties,” said Wasserman Schultz. “While Republicans in Michigan attempt to implement unnecessary voting restrictions, Democrats like those here in Michigan will continue working to remove these voting barriers to ensure that every eligible citizen can cast their ballot.”
Michigan Republicans failed to respond to a PJM request for comment on the allegation of “unnecessary voting restrictions.”
Most city and township clerks all over Michigan receive absentee ballot requests through secure options such as mail, fax, and email. Like these methods, this new online tool allows the voter to send the application directly and securely to the clerk.
The Michigan secretary of state has nothing to do with the collection of absentee ballots. An SOS office spokesman told PJ Media that is handled exclusively by municipal and township clerks.
However, Godfrey Dillard, the Michigan Democrats’ candidate for secretary of state, was at the press conference and said, “Increasing access to the ballot and empowering more Michiganders to vote should be job No. 1 for elections officials in our state — not more partisan Republican politics aimed at keeping Michigan citizens from the polls.”
Since 2002, Michigan absentee ballot adoption as a percentage of ballots cast has increased from 16.5 percent to more than 27 percent.
“We couldn’t be happier to be making this program available for voters all over Michigan,” said Johnson.
Democrats were feeling good about November in the first full week of September. RealClearPolitics had Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), their candidate for U.S. Senate, ahead of Republican Terri Lynn Land by 2.8 points. Schauer — for many months nobody knew his name — trailed Gov. Rick Snyder by only seven-tenths of a point, according to RealClearPolitics.
“Change is coming; I can feel it,” Schauer told the UAW rally in Grand Rapids. “Michigan voters have the greatest case of buyers’ remorse ever because of what they were sold four years ago.”
However, there is the question of money. Snyder has a lot. Schauer does not. The latest numbers out of the FEC showed Snyder had close to $900,000 more in the bank than Schauer.
Schauer told the UAW crowd not to worry because “they don’t have enough money to mask over his (Snyder) record of failure.”
Things are so good, Johnson and Schauer must feel like a baseball pitcher and catcher in the eighth inning of a no-hitter. They don’t want to jinx it, but at the same time they don’t want Democrats to be so overconfident they don’t vote, either absentee or at the polls.
Michigan Democrats are not the only ones in their party who are worried about turnout.
“Typically in non-presidential years, Republicans vote better than Democrats do,” Bill Clinton said at a Miami campaign rally for Charlie Crist, as reported by the Miami Herald. “And we’re not going to let that happen, are we?”
Johnson doesn’t want that to happen in Michigan either. As he sees it, there is absolutely no reason that the Republicans should win.
“We have the issues,” Johnson said. “Those fools in the Republican Legislature have given us everything we need.”
Now Michigan Democrats just have to get out and vote.