Compare that to 2010, when it was 35D-35R-29I, and the gap between women was just four points, while Latino and African-American turnout dropped two points from their presidential-year turnout. Our people didn't turn out, and we got bombed.
Indeed, the Democratic Party's Third Way/DLC-driven obsession with independent voters is unambiguously obsolete: Obama lost independents 50-45 and it didn't mean shit. He still won comfortably on the basis of strong base support.
Part of that was because there really is no such thing as an "independent" voter. The bulk of self-styled independents are actually disaffected partisans.
Fully 87% of [independents] voted for the candidate of the party they leaned toward: 91% of independent Democrats voted for Barack Obama while 82% of independent Republicans voted for John McCain. That 87% rate of loyalty was identical to the 87% loyalty rate of weak party identifiers and exceeded only by the 96% loyalty rate of strong party identifiers.So why did Democrats lose independents 56-37 in 2010? Because liberal voters pretending to be independent because "Democrats are spineless" didn't show up, while teabagger voters pretending to be independent because "the Republican Party is full of RINOs" did. Pew quantified this:
The 2010 midterms revealed the fragility of this electoral base. While both Solid Liberals and Hard-Pressed Democrats remained solidly behind Democratic congressional candidates in 2010, support slipped substantially among New Coalition Democrats [mostly brown voters] and Post-Moderns [highly educated affluent whites who fancy themselves independents] – not because Republicans made overwhelming gains in these groups, but because their turnout dropped so substantially. Where two-thirds of New Coalition Democrats came out to vote for Obama in 2008, just 50% came out to back Democrats in 2010. The drop-off in the Democratic vote was even more severe among Post-Moderns, 65% of whom backed Obama, but just 43% of whom came to the polls for Democrats in 2010.
Thus, it's quite simple. As brooklynbadboy wrote last year:
To win independents, motivate your base.Well, Obama didn't win independents this year. Romney ran 11 points stronger among whites than John McCain did, and a big chunk of those were likely 2008 Obama independent voters. But you know what? It didn't matter. He turned out Democratic-leaning independents (including those stupidly labelled "post-modern" above), and he really turned out core Democrats. That's all Democrats needed this year.
And with the ongoing "demographic apocalypse" as conservatives call it, or the "demographic winter," as white supremacists do, it's going to be easier and easier for Democrats to shrug off the supposed independent vote by focusing on base mobilization instead.
That's why Joe Lieberman-style Democrats like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo must be persona non grata in the 2016 Democratic presidential sweepstakes. We don't need that "appeal to independents" bullshit. That's not where national elections are won. Appeal to the center? Yup. That's where Democrats already live. Those are the "moderates" Obama won 56-41, and Democrats won 55-42 while getting blown out in 2010.
Be a good Democrat, and the moderate center will tag along with the growing percentage of liberal voters (from 22 percent of the electorate in 2008, to 25 percent this year). It's a good place for Democrats to be, as long as they don't piss off those advantages like they did in 2010—wasting their time trying to find "bipartisan consensus" at a time when none was needed.
This is a center-left country. Democrats can act that way and win.
In fact, they must.