In April, I wrote Virginia is for lovers . . . of turnout. It was about the 2013 turnout in the "off-off-year" VA gubernatorial election, in which the turnout rate among key Democratic demographics -- African Americans, women, Latinos and Youth equaled the 2012 Presidential turnout.
This week, we saw extraordinary turnout by African Americans in a Republican primary in MS, not only (or even primarily) because of Cochran's bacon bringing home record, but because the other guy was just a shade or two away from the Klan. African Americans "get it" not only when there's a clear neo-confederate like McDaniel running, but also a far right tea party guy like Cuchinelli in VA, or Tillis in NC. If anything, the viruluent, racist reaction from the tea party to the "treason" of Cochran daring to seek African American votes validates the core racism of modern Republicans.
Unfortunately, as Mel Brooks said as the 2,000 year old man, the primary mode of transportation (to the polls) is still fear -- fear of the return of Jim Crow, fear of rabid anti-immigrant demagogues, fear of Handmaid's Tale Akin-Mourdock Republican threats to women and fear of dismantling the New Deal.
An adverse decision in Hobby Lobby will be terrible in its consequences, but it will likely mobilize more women to get out and vote, even in this non-Presidential year.
I hate to be too optimistic, but I sense an elevated consciousness among Democrats and even relatively non-political people of the threat from the right -- first among the most affected groups above, but also among "moderate" voters, whom we know agree with the New Deal policies and finally are starting to recognize that zealots on the other side are trying to destroy it, along with the social movements of the '60s and '70s in civil and women's rights.
Let's do all we can to make 2014 a revolutionary year for Democratic turnout.