The election results on Tuesday from two of Virginia’s biggest counties, Prince William and Loudoun, where Hillary Clinton won BIG TIME, really tell a story when you compare them to elections in non-presidential years in those counties. Check out the following two examples, which illustrate as clearly as can be that if Democrats would just show up in non-presidential-year elections, we would dominate those counties’ governments, instead of being in the minority.
Example #1: Prince William County (2016 vs. 2015)
In the presidential election this past Tuesday, Hillary Clinton won 112,986 votes in Prince William County (vs. just 71,588 for Donald Trump). The “blue team” absolutely romped, in other words, in this “majority minority” county that also went strongly for Barack Obama twice. Yet in 2015, Prince William County Board Chair Corey Stewart (R), a guy who’s arguably as extreme, xenophobic and thuggish as Trump, won just 37,874 votes (a bit more than half of what Trump won this past Tuesday), yet romped to victory over his Democratic opponent by around 9,000 votes! Crazy, huh?
And what if those 112,986 PW County Democratic voters who cast ballots this past Tuesday had voted in 2015? That’s right, Stewart would have been WIPED OUT, losing by around 75,000 (!) votes. Even if Democratic votes had declined proportionally the same as Republican votes from a presidential election year, this egregious right wingnut still would have been crushed.
Instead, sadly, 2015 Democratic votes in PW County were just 25% of 2016 Democratic votes, while Republican 2015 votes were 50% of their 2016 votes. Again, the Democratic “dropoff” from presidential to non-presidential years was much, much greater (in this case twice as as great) as Republican “dropoff.” And that is absolutely disastrous for Democrats in “off-year” elections.
Example #2: Loudoun County (2016 vs. 2015)
This past Tuesday, Hillary Clinton romped in Loudoun County, with 100,694 votes, compared to Trump’s 69,888 votes. Not even close. In stark contrast, in 2015, a relatively miniscule 24,633 votes were cast for County Board of Supervisors Democratic nominee Phyllis Randall vs. 38,836 votes for the two Republicans running. Fortunately, Randall won anyway, because the two Republicans split those 38,836 votes. But the bottom line is that only about one quarter the number of Loudoun County residents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election voted for Democrat Phyllis Randall in the 2015 race for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Maddening.
Meanwhile, although Republican “dropoff” was apparent as well, it again was far less severe than Democratic “dropoff,” with around 55% the number of Republicans voting in 2015 as voted in 2016. If Democratic “dropoff” had simply been proportional to Republican “dropoff,” there is basically no doubt that Democrat Andrew Resnick would have won, probably EASILY, over Republican Suzanne Volpe for Board of Supervisors from the Algonkian District. Same thing for Democrat Mike Turner vs. Republican Ralph Buona in the Ashburn District; also for Democrat Al Nevarez vs. Republican Ron Meyer in the Broad Run District.
Bottom line: Democrats have the numbers RIGHT NOW in both Prince William and Loudoun counties to take control of their respective Board of Supervisors. And it wouldn’t even be close, in fact…if only Democratic “dropoff” from presidential-year-level turnout were proportional to Republican “dropoff.” But nooooooo…..ugh.