Playing with Fire

Sean Trende on the Democrats’ problem with gun control and off-year elections:

The bottom line is that there is something of a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t aspect to the Democrats’ argument. If this isn’t about turnout, but rather is a reaction to policy, then relatively modest gun-control efforts look pretty radioactive, and an awful lot of Democrats who supported the federal gun-control bill ought to look over their shoulders. This is especially true in Colorado, where nine Democrats occupy seats that are more Republican than the ones Republicans just flipped.

But if these recalls really were mostly about turnout, they pose a different challenge for Democrats. Quite a few Democrats who won in 2012 did so by riding the back of increased minority turnout in the presidential year — probably three in Arizona, three in California, one in Georgia, one in Nevada, one in North Carolina and one in Texas. If Democrats are currently experiencing double-digit drop-offs in net performance due to their base not turning out in non-presidential years, the conventional wisdom that there won’t be significant changes in the makeup of the House probably should be revisited.


Next year is going to prove a lot more interesting than most people think.


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