Registering and Turning Out Unmarried Women, People of Color, Young People Is Vital for Progressives in 2018
Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund is releasing an exclusive poll from GBA Strategies of Virginia voters that shows the Rising American Electorate – unmarried women, people of color, and young people – strongly rejected Donald Trump and propelled Governor-Elect Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Democrats in the House of Delegates to victory.
“Democrats have the Rising American Electorate to thank for their wins in Virginia last night. Trump and Trumpism were on the ballot – the vote was an overwhelming rejection of the President’s dog whistle politics and divisive policies,” said Page Gardner, president of Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund. “Heading into 2018, progressives need to double down on registering the Rising American Electorate and turning them out to vote. If there’s one thing that progressives take away from Virginia, it should be that investments in registration and turnout, pair with a message on improving health care and the economy, is the only path forward if we hope to do well in 2018.”
The RAE was 51% of the electorate in Virginia and voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic candidates. The RAE supported Governor-Elect Northam by a 36-point margin, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Fairfax by a 33-point margin, Attorney General Mark Herring by a 31-point margin, and they supported Democrats in the House of Delegates races by a 35-point margin.
Last night proved that strong investments in registration and turnout, coupled with a strong message focused on jobs, the economy, health care, and education, can be enough to get an energized electorate to the polls.
The Voter Participation Center, a sister organization of WVWVAF, invested more than $1 million in Virginia to register the RAE and turn them out to vote. VPC has focused on registering the RAE, as well as white working class women, in Virginia since 2006 – helping to register more than 143,000 Virginians to vote. This critical work will continue into next year’s 2018 midterm elections.
While the results in Virginia’s elections are good news for the power of the RAE to decide elections, there are strong warning signs for the Democratic Party heading into 2018.
Last week, WVWVAF released a survey that showed Democrats need to address their shortcomings with key segments of the RAE – despite the unpopularity of Trump and the Republican Congress. House Republicans are also becoming more disliked. Voters are determined to vote for change and hold the Republican Congress accountable, which is why Democrats need to play more into voters’ desire for change and disruption. They can counteract the drop-off in support and enthusiasm in this poll from June to October among the RAE by going back to traditional economic messaging that is historically Democratic turf.
Coupled with analysis from the Voter Participation Center that 40 million people who voted in 2016 won’t vote in 2018, the warning signs that 2018 will not be a good year for participation in our democracy are getting stronger. To make matters worse, two-thirds of these dropoff voters will be members of the RAE, and the dropoff will be the largest in key states like Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, and Arizona.