tv Inside Story Al Jazeera October 9, 2014 3:30am-4:01am EDT
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joining us for this strategy session our guests. professor, let me start with you. why is it that it's a commonplace and accepted notion that nobody votes in the mid terms? >> well, it's absolutely true that fewer people vote in the midterm election than presidential election. but i would take a just a little bit of contest with the setup is that one of the reasons why we have had lower turn out in recent collections has nothing to do with things that we can
really change, which is that in 1972, 2% of the voting age population were not he will yellow to vote. now 2012 it's 10%. when we recalculate the statistics, we don't see a real turn out and declines over time. it's very much true that midterm electorates have lower turn out than presidential elections. and for some reason people are drawn to the presidential election. there are a lot of media talking about the presidency. the interests about the election. we don't get that same level of interest and intensity in midterm elections except in a few of the most contested races. >> here we are, professor, in a week where congress has been voting on whether to authorize military action abroad, it's not as if the world takes a holiday during the fall of a midterm year. the things that were pressing us
in 2012, in 2008, are still pressing us today. >> absolutely. and the issues are very important. it's just unfortunate reality of politics which is you get below the presidential election. put aside congress, you go down to the local elections where things are important to people's lives. the schools systems, the roads that are going to be built around their neighborhoods. that's where we see the lowest turn out. so it's odd that you find this pattern where the president, which is most removed from people's lives, has the highest turn out. but those when you get closer to home, the senate elections co , congressional elections, . >> is it possible to move the needle? >> i think its pop. it depends a little bit on the race you're looking at and the
candidates in that race. one of the reasons that i think people take a strong interest in the presidential and don't in other races is because in the presidential we really see big generally forceful personalities, larger than life characters who fit in the american interests with celebrities. and there are people who you feel you get to know more personally. they're everywhere. they're on late night talk shows. you have tons of campaign ad, that's a natural attention driver. depending on what candidate you're working with you may be able to replicate that in a senate rate or gubernatorial race, i think there are consensus where campaign inviters are not taking what is probably a fairly interest ing but not representing that
electorate. calling your data and making sure that they turn out. your field work. in addition to that using digital using technology, and frankly just using standardized communication techniques to really get people more interested in the race than they otherwise might be. >> ari, accepting liz's point that you have the wind at your back, the whole culture is engaged in the idea of this coming election, would it be prohibitively expensive to change the shape of the electorate for a mid term fall race? fal >> it's not in the interest of the campaign. i want my voters to get to the polls. if you're a democrat you want minority, you want young people. you want certain elements of old people. you want single women to come out to the polls.
and you don't want, frankly, old white men to come out to the polls. if you're republican, the reverse is true. that's just a demographic reality. so a campaign--the problem is that the campaign isn't about turning out voters. it's about turning out your voters. we as a society have an obligation to turn out as many voters as possible. i think democracy works better. but campaigns are not necessarily about democracy but about winning. >> let's set aside ari the realist. let's bring in ari the idealist, how are we going to drive those numbers? >> you can do things to encourage voting. there has been an effort made among society to discourage people in voting. to scare people away and eliminate those elements would go a long way to driving turn out. encouraging vote something a civic responsibility. if you were to really teach civics as something that should
be innate, and vote something not something that you have a right to but you don't have to, but it's an obligation to being a citizen and actually educate people over the long term that this is an obligation people would do it. i don't think it's a project that can be accomplished in the 60 days before the election. i think it has to be a long-term thing that would be of value, convincing every citizen that they're obliged as someone who gets to live in this country, to vote. you have to pay taxes and you have to vote. >> i want to say two things. i think that's correct. we have seen those who are not regular voters, who have been brought in by candidates, but candidates who are abnormal and a little bit off of the mainstream. if we talk about rand paul, if we look at people who are interested in him when he was running for senate in kentucky.
they were not people who routi routinely voted in the elections. i think if you went and looked at the early obama campaign days and people who were drawn in in the iowa caucuses you would find a similar trend although a different demographic. i think part of this by encouraging a broader diversity of people who don't necessarily look like cookie cutter republicans or democrats to run, you may be able to rectify it that way. back to your point wanting to win versus increase -- >> we'll talk later in the program about that very thing that makes it hard for governor. i want to go to the professor just before the break. if candidates themselves are not interested in increasing the
electorate as suggested earlier who has the juice, professor? who has the standing to talk to big chunks of the country and talk about civics about responsibility , about these sign posts of being an active citizen and voting? >> obviously the president does. the president is the only one who can command a national audience and bring them into the conversation. we're out there doing massive voter registration drives, but when you get down to the senate elections, those candidates just don't have the resources. and so when ari was talking about the reality of the situation, which is that they've got to focus on winning, if winning was part--
it was part of that intensive effort. who does it? the folks doing it these days are the outside groups. the league of women voters, and third party organizations who are out there trying to expand electorate. they don't have the same resources that a presidential campaign has. >> we'll be back with more inside story in a moment. we'll continue with our strategy session for the november elections. can the electorate in the mid terms be changed? does a small self-selected minority of american adults have to be the ones who choose the next congress? stay with us. >> this sunday, you've witnessed
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>> welcome back to "inside story" on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. americans are telling opinionists about a range of issues challenging the country right now dedicated minority of american adults have any plans to participate in choosing the next congress that takes its seat in january. ari, you've just been told how much money you have, it's enough, but since you consulted with kinds, there are under turn out. minorities, working class people, how do you drive turn out there? >> let me jump back to one thing. i think it plays in here. when you have a candidate like
rand paul, barack obama, in a presidential race, when you have a candidate that excites, and people believe their election can change things. people can believe ma rand paul as a senator changes things because he has a strong ideology, as much as i find his ideology abhor rent personally, it excites people. barack obama expanded the collec ex-electorate because in 2012 people believed he was an agent of change. in 2014, so republicans take the senate, what does that mean? so what. the question that you got to-- >> well, you have an answer for that question. that would drive people. there are stakes here. candidates have to sell them. frankly there is a vote on going to war in the house of representatives yesterday. if there is nothing at stake
other than a vote of war, you know what turns voters off? the fact that our elected officials have been playing the i'm scared to vote. that turns people off. there are issues of war and peace. there are huge issues about the federal budgets and our courts and judiciary, and huge issues that will be dealt with in terms of healthcare policies. interest are an enormity of issues, and if you're a candidate and you want to expand and you have 50 days, look, you put money into a lot of things that drive turn out. you have first off you look for people who are going to vote, but might not without encouragement, those are not difficult to find. you make sure you get them to the polls. even if that means driving around in a bus picking them up. you go to leaders, faith leaders and you get them to rally voters
to go to the polls. >> liz, you specialize in electronic communication. >> yes. >> that's part of the arsenal now. >> it is. >> what are you starting on? >> you look at the data set who could be brought in as potential voters, and people who do vote, what will motivate them so you've got that data, and you can very carefully target your messages towards those people. now, the trouble with all this is that you can serve up as many facebook ads as you want, targeting the demographic that you want and telling them what you want to hear, it can be it challenge, i think it's fair to say when we're looking at this particular electoral environment democrats have been investing very heavily in data and in things that generally fall
within the intelligentcal and technology sphere that enable them to do more by ref larging technology and leveraging everything online. >> are they ahead in that? >> they are. very clearly. inly we did our very best to try to match what was going on, and i think we certainly ex-he'ded what was going on, but it was you have to match the obama campaign. 2012, honestly the romney campaign did an abysmal job of this. they didn't use it particularly well. now you do have a situation where on the republican side of the aisle we're at a disadvantage when you look at digital data technology. that is going to mean that in some of these races that is very tight , even with sentiments of obamacare and whatever it may be, democrat will have the advantage because they have had
that data and they've been using it. one of the reasons you see democrats in the position they are, they have he been out to register in particular african-american voters and get them involved in the process. that's something, frankly, the republican party has not been able to match. >> liz mentioned obamacare. >> yes. >> there are something in the range of 0 million people who today have health insurance who didn't have it before the affordable care act, and they're drawn heavily from parts of the population that don't normally vote in midterm election. can you get people to say wow, i have healthcare now. i didn't have it before. who do i thank? >> fy were in the campaign, if i were in colorado, that's exactly the voter i would be targeting. and one of the new methodologies that we're use something social pressure. showing people that their friends are voting and they're not.
using data to use social pressure to convince people that it is something that you should do. campaigns are starting to do that. outside groups are doing that and it's showing to have show huge impact. >> both ari and liz have mentioned the importance of the candidate. i wonder if there is a feedback loop here. boring candidates, low turn out. low turn out yields boring candidates because people don't feel called to enter the arena running for office is a really hard thing to do. and if it's so dismal people of ability and panache and charisma to do it? >> you know the people who are going to be that sort of candidate are going to be people when they think they have a chance at winning the election. unfortunately, we look across many of the contests here in the upcoming elections. few of them are competitive. one of the things we can do to
increase the playing field is where your vote really does seem to be the difference in the outcome. we're going to have good turnout. it's just going to be in some of the states that will have some of the most effective elections. if we can expand the scope to other places we'll see turn up go up in those places as well. >> when we return, we'll talk about what is sometimes the elephant in the room. having a small minority of americans pick the members of congress and a third of the senate is a bad thing. but do the parties really change that? are the advisers and strategists on both sides with a small midterm election? stay with us. >> i lived that character >> a hollywood icon forest whitaker >> my interest in acting was always to continue to explore how it connected to other people >> making a difference >> what is occurring in other
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story" on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. so far on the program we've been talking about turn out on voting. but we have to ask if either party or both has an interest in an smaller electoral base on the base. and liz, i have to give you credit for being honest that sometimes a smaller pool of voters is easier to work with. are politicians ready to take the risk saying yes, more people in the corral gives them skin in the game. if i win i'm talking about people who have been involved in one way or another in helping me run this state. this congressional district. this part of the country. >> i think it depends on the race that you're looking at if there are certainly instances where that has been true. historically if you look and you talk to republicans who have tended to perform a little better with african-american
voters than your standard republican they would say there is huge benefit in that. in you talk to former virginia governor jim gilmore he bega garnered the african-american vote. i think when you talk to candidates like that who don't necessarily look as cookie cutter they definitely see advantages. i know if you look at a lot of statements that rand paul has made about what is happening in terms of some effort of look a little bit close for voter disen disenenfranchisement, and then you would find that rand paul also tend to go very accepting and trying to bring more people into the fold who maybe haven't been as active participants in the electoral system today. we can find that a lot with the hispanic voter and younger women.
and to some extent i also hear from the republican side in thinking more about voters who skew conservative try to go more to engage married women. married women have tended to be a better base of support for us recently but that's part of why democrats are targeting this war on women rhetoric. >> let me go to the professor and end with ari. professor, would we get a country that is more invested in what it's applications do instead of a congress with 12% approval rating if more people voted? >> certainly low approval rating does not mean that you will necessarily have low turn out. when people get upset they're more likely to vote, as it turns out. the state of election and the state of the nation is something that is something that a condition that would drive turn out. but more to liz's point she's mentioning these groups, and it's not really expansion of the electorate, it's more like taking votes from the other side is what she's talking about.
in the history of this country we barely out of whim expand the electorate, and we only do so when one side--the side that controls the process at the time, the policies making, the law making, decides there might be an advantage for them in expanding the electorate. right now neither sees that advantage. >> ari, take us home. >> in reality most people, most campaigns when you're on the ground you're in that final sprint. liz and i have been there. you're looking for your voters. you're trying to get them out. and it's a sad part of american politics. winning mean getting your voters out, and there needs t and a larger societal project at play to stop unnecessary restrictions on voting, come up with a way to make it as easy as possible to vote and get more people to vote out. >> oprah. not the president. oprah. >> ari, liz, michael, thank you all.
that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. in washington, i'm ray suarez. >> on "america tonight," death in texas. the first patient diagnosed on u.s. soil becomes the first to die of ebola here as well. "america tonight's" adam may with the victim's community in dallas and their questions about what could and should have been done to save him. also tonight: safe sports. a stunning series of high school player deaths raises new alarm for parents and coaches. >> my kids play, one is in profootball, i wt