The Enthusiasm Gap

Although polls show the race tightening, as every political scientist worth his or her salt told you would happen months ago, Hillary is still predicted to be the winner by anyone who studies these things. Nate Silver has her chances at 70%.

The “worst case scenario” map

But there’s still one problem, and that’s the enthusiasm gap.

The Tea Party people are thrilled. For years, they’ve been portrayed as outsiders, crazy, on the fringe — racists, bigots, ignorant people that possibly could win a few House seats every now and then but clearly could never get into the big leagues. Trump has been their standard bearer, and this has emboldened them to be angrier, meaner, more public, and more violent.

These people will vote.

We were able to hold them back in the past partially because there are more of us than them and when we come out and vote in equal percentage, math works to benefit us.

And our enthusiasm was great, too, when we had Obama running. Young voters came out like never before, and minorities voted in almost equal percentages as whites for the first time ever.

But now? ¬†Hillary’s enthusiastic supporters are primarily women my age and older who grew up with terrible sexism and discrimination and identify with the candidate and want the first female President. They’ll come out and vote, but will they be enough to counter the Trump fanatics?

This is why I still say that we would have been better off with Bernie. Sure, they’d be attacking him left and right for being a socialist, but I think he’d probably be doing better than Hillary because his support was enthusiastic (and even conservatives admired him for his honesty in the same way liberals used to admire McCain without agreeing with his politics). Young people especially would be out working for him and would be voting for him. Many of these people will instead be staying home in November like they usually do or else wasting their vote on Stein or Johnson.

So while I still predict a Hillary victory, I think it will be closer than expected given that our candidate may suffer in the “enthusiasm gap.”