Achorn: GOP Lost to Dems Get Out The (Straight-Party) Vote Effort
Edward Achorn backs up what many have already concluded: the Democrat margins of victory were attributable to straight-party (mostly Harrah’s “inspired”) voters:
On Nov. 7, the straight-party system worked its wonders for Rhode Island Democrats. Some 61,357 voters cast a straight-party ballot for the Democrats — a whopping increase of more than 23,000, or about two-thirds, over the last midterm election. Only 18,424 cast straight ballots for Republicans.
That obviously gave Mr. Whitehouse a dramatic boost, and quite possibly the winning edge. Subtract the straight-party ballots, and Mr. Chafee beat Mr. Whitehouse handily. It appears that Mr. Chafee was the preference of voters who actually took the time to mark their ballots for either candidate….
The people who really suffered, though, were down the ballot — the reformers trying to bring more balance to the General Assembly. They got swept away in the flood. Many of the casual voters who went straight-ticket — and thus returned the local incumbent to power — probably never heard of either candidate in those races.
If so many voters were “Harrah’s inspired” how come the casino question lost by such a wide margin?
Why did other New England Republicans in other states such as Connecticut also lose?
I’d be reluctant to chalk up RI GOP losses as a one-time aberration due to the casino question rather than conducting a serious evaluation of the reason for the losses.
I’d suggest that the results were due mainly to the situation in Iraq and a perception that the GOP Congress had done nothing/was corrupt.
Sad to say that both of the issues could have been addressed with better communication.
After all, since when did the party of Gerry Studds, Alan Mollohan, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank and Alcee Hastings become the party of integrity?
Anthony, Achorn also mentioned Iraq, I didn’t because I wanted to refrain from cribbing his whole piece. The logic behind my Harrah’s inspired comment is that most of the Democrat margin of victory in statewide races seems to have been provided by larger-than-normal turnout in the urban areas (Providence and Pawtucket) where Harrah’s concentrated and where the casino “passed.” You are correct with regards to the rest of the state, however, in that the Iraq war and general antipathy to all things GOP helped the Dems. And I certainly didn’t mean to imply that this was a one time aberration!
I composed a letter sent to many newspapers in regards to the Rhode Island Party leadership.If you see it let me know.It was in The Westerly Sun,Thanksgiving Day.
It focused on change of state GOP leadership.I did not go into detail about state party history.
I did note the bright spots in the Rhode Island GOP.Retention of the Governorship and Warwick Mayoralty.Also stayed the same in the State Senate and slighly lower in Rhode Island House of Representatives.
Patricia Morgan has to go!
“… could have been addressed with better communication. After all,
since when did the party of Gerry Studds, Alan Mollohan, Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank and Alcee Hastings become the party of integrity?”
Ding ding. We have a winner.