Introduction: The razor thin margins separating the Democratic and Republican candidates for senator and governor in Florida; in the Georgia governor’s race; in the senatorial election in Arizona; and the strong showing by Beto O’Rourke in the senatorial race in Texas, mask the extraordinary problems faced by the Democratic Party as it turns to the presidential election scheduled for November 2020.
Methods: This study highlights these problems by examining the turnout rates by race/ethnicity and age in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas using 2017 IPUMS data with The New York Times and CNN Exit polls for each state.
Results: In each of these state elections Democratic‐leaning demographic constituencies – African Americans, Latinos, and young voters between 18 and 29 years of age – voted at significantly lower rates than the principal Republican constituencies, older non‐Hispanic white men and women. In other words, in each state voting rates by older non‐Hispanic whites dwarfed those of younger people, Latinos, and African Americans and this is what accounted for close elections.
Discussion: The challenge facing the Democratic Party is not to attract the right‐wing supporters of the current President and his Republican Party enablers. It is to find strategies to register Democratic demographic constituents and get them to the polls in November 2020.