Dipto Islam, Feb 23, 2016
Bernie Sanders has been stressing the need for high voter turnout all along for his victory in the Democratic primaries. On the Meet the Press after Nevada loss, Sanders identified low voter turnout as the major reason for the defeat in Nevada. He said:
...we will do well when young people, when working-class people come out. We do not do well when the voter turnout is not large. We did not do as good a job as I had wanted to bring out a large turnout.
According to Sanders, high voter turnout is the key to victory in the primaries. But, statistics say that voter turnout usually declines after Iowa and New Hampshire. If voter turnout follows the usual declining trend as seen in the earlier Democratic primaries, Sanders path to nomination may become tougher.
Democratic nomination race in 2008 was a very intensely contested one similar to 2016. In 2008, New Hampshire had the highest primary turnout rate of 54%. The turnout rate averaged 30% in the following primaries, with only a few states rising above 40%. The Iowa caucus had the highest turnout rate of 16%, and the following caucuses averaged 5%. Moreover, in 2016, voter turnout in Iowa (15.7%), New Hampshire (51.7%) and Nevada is lower than the 2008 level, which is also a matter of concern for Bernie Sanders.
If high voter turnout is crucial for Sanders’ victory, he must tackle this monumental challenge by transforming politics in a way that has not been done before in America. Low turnout will add to the advantage of Clinton. Hopefully, with highly motivated supporters, fans, and volunteers the hurdles for Sanders do not seem to be insurmountable.
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