When referring to the USA, I will always capitalize the word Country!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2018
Beto O’Rourke is a total lightweight compared to Ted Cruz, and he comes nowhere near representing the values and desires of the people of the Great State of Texas. He will never be allowed to turn Texas into Venezuela!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2018
If money voted — heck, if yard signs voted — Beto O’Rourke would be well on his way to the United States Senate.
If the astonishing fundraising in this election — by Republican incumbents, on one hand, and Democratic challengers, especially in federal races, on the other — is a portent of voter enthusiasm, then turnout should be higher than normal. If your neighborhood has been swept up in the flocks of yard signs, especially the black-and-white ones for what’s his name, then you might be looking for higher-than-normal local turnout, too.Voter turnout in Georgia is already high, despite the state's best efforts to suppress votes. People who put up yard signs aren't waiting for election day so they can miss voting; I expect many of them, like me (and more signs have sprung up in my neighborhood just in the last week), are ready to vote on Monday, if they can.
It’s far too early to read the tea leaves from the early voting returns. Different states and localities have different early voting practices, and there are still 18 days to go before Nov. 6, the first national election day since Donald Trump stunned the country by winning the presidency.
But given the polls of voter enthusiasm, the astronomical fundraising numbers, and the remarkable number of ballots cast in this year’s special elections and primaries, there’s plenty of reason to believe this is going to be a uniquely high turnout midterm election.
University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, who runs the United States Election Project blog, expects that some 45-50 percent of eligible U.S. voters will participate in the midterms—a figure not seen in a midterm election since 1970. In the 2014 midterms, slightly over a third of eligible voters, or 37 percent, cast ballots.
McDonald is basing that prediction in part on the high rates of early voting in states like Georgia, where turnout is three times higher than it was at this time in 2014.
“The initial early voting data we’re seeing is very unusual,” McDonald told TPM. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
In Georgia, a state that maintains individual-level voting data, black voters are turning out in huge numbers compared to the previous midterm cycle.
Nate Silver, as TPM points out, says not to count on stories of early vote turnout for anything. And it may be the same voters are showing up early rather than late, meaning there won't be a surge of voters in this midterm. However, commenters and political scientists still act like the only day that counts is Election Day, and that voters won't decide until they walk in the booth that day, so we really don't have the models for this yet:
It may become easier to read into early voting numbers as more states adapt mechanisms for it, and more voters become accustomed to casting ballots this way. A 2016 Pew Research Center survey documented the steadily growing share of the electorate that relies on “nontraditional voting.”
Funny sidebar: a guest on "1A" this morning mentioned that Texas had "straight party" voting, meaning you could check one box and vote straight Democrat or Republican. The host seemed astounded by this, and had to have a full explanation of how it was done. I've voted in Texas for 45 years, and always considered this normal. Maybe it's a hold-over from being a one-party state for so long, and maybe eliminating it in 2020 (when it goes away) will be a good thing. But for old time's sake, I'm probably gonna use it this last time.