A “hundred-year storm” of voters could turn out for next year’s election, if a new analysis proves correct, reports Axios.
The pressure system driving such a storm? Donald Trump.
And if it happens, he would face a much bigger challenge than he did in 2016.
This comes from elections expert Michael McDonald of the University of Florida, who says two-thirds of all voters — 67% — might turn out in 2020, Axios says. That would be the highest percentage since at least 1916, when the U.S. was fiercely divided over the prospect of entering World War I.
McDonald bases his prediction on last year’s midterm election, when fully half of all American voters cast ballots, the greatest off-year turnout in more than a century.
Trump is “driving turnout among those most unhappy with him (younger voters and people of color) even when he’s not on the ballot,” Axios says, citing McDonald.
“And Trump voters aren’t a growing demographic group. The share of whites with less than a 4-year degree — Trump’s constituency — dropped by 3% from 2014 to 2018.”
Other experts agree.
“The safest prediction in politics is for a giant turnout in 2020. Nobody’s going to believe the polls after 2016, and everyone will assume a tight race,” said Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia.
“Anti-Trump Democrats and the pro-Trump base will both set human adrenaline records — the intensity across the country is going to be spectacular. Let’s hope the polling places can accommodate the crowds.”
So turnout rates are likely to be high for all categories of voters, but that would favor the Democrats, says Axios: “Older white voters already tend to vote at high rates, and they’re close to their maximum turnout already. By contrast, you’ll see bigger turnout increases among young people, people of color, and low-income people….”
The Trump campaign “isn’t buying it,” Axios says.
“Predicting turnout this far in advance of an election is a fool’s errand,” said a campaign spokeswoman, adding that there’s no sure way to know which voters will turn out.
“For all of his struggles in the polls,” Axios concludes, “Trump is the incumbent and he has a booming economy. But a historic election turnout could wipe out those advantages — and the early signs suggest that’s exactly what we’re about to get.”