What drives people to the polls?
Campaigning for Nevada Democrats Wednesday, U.S. Sen Cory Booker of New Jersey said he is optimistic that the issues, and how they affect people’s lives, will trump scare tactics when it comes to motivating people to vote.
“We seem to see one playbook coming” from Republicans, Booker said, “which is to make people afraid of other Americans.”
“When leaders try to divide you, try to pit you against each other, those are not the leaders we need.”
From people protesting the Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings to activists cornering Republican lawmakers to ask them questions, President Trump and Republicans have been hoping to energize the party base by warning of a Democratic “mob.”
Even as Booker was speaking Wednesday morning, news media reports began widely circulating about attempts to deliver what were evidently explosive devices to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and several other Democrats, as well to as former CIA director and CNN analyst John Brennan — all people whom Trump routinely disparages. Multiple conservative websites and media personalities, refusing to cede ground in the argument over civility, suggested that a Democrat, not a Trump supporter, must have been responsible for the packages.
Booker said little about the bombs Wednesday morning. But during the day described the acts in a tweet as “targeted acts of terror” as “despicable cowardice” that “will not inflict terror, they will only make us more brave.”
In his remarks at the Masterpiece Barber College in Las Vegas, Booker was all about the turnout.
NBC News reported Monday that in some key states Republican turnout is outpacing Democrats. Four days into early voting in Nevada, however, Democrats are maintaining an edge over the GOP.
But there is still reason to worry. Democrats were crushed the 2014 midterm elections, nationwide and in Nevada, where Republicans swept statewide offices, took a congressional seat and flipped the legislature.
With early voting underway until Nov. 2, a long list of high-profile people — both Democrats and Republicans — are flying in to help boost midterm turnout.
“If you don’t vote, you’re a non factor,” Marcus Allen, an instructor at Masterpiece Barber College, told the students. “I’m not trying to tell you the way to vote, just to vote. Your voice has to be heard. Your vote has to be heard.”
Booker echoed what former President Barack Obama told Las Vegans Monday: vote. “I believe the power of the people is greater than the people in power, if we use our power,” Booker said.
Several polls in the last few weeks have shown Rosen and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller in a dead heat. “Polls have been so wrong in the past,” Booker said. “I think the Democrats will turn out. People are getting what’s at stake.”
He said people are discontent with Republican moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and recent proposals to cut Medicare and Social Security.
Rosen spoke briefly to the students about what’s at stake for them and their children. “That’s why you have to vote,” she said. “Vote for the kids you haven’t even had yet. Think about their future.”
Here in Nevada, Booker said voting for statewide offices — like in the Attorney General’s race — will also determine Nevada’s trajectory on issues like criminal justice reform. “You have a criminal justice system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent,” he says. “(In Nevada) you still have people locked up for things the last three presidents have admitted to doing.”
When asked by Nevada Current, he addressed an issue that doesn’t often appear on the campaign trail: housing policy. “Housing is a pain point that nobody is talking about but everybody feels,” he says. “The rent is too damn high. Housing options are definitely becoming too hard to come by. You’re seeing cities gentrifying and driving people out and away and making it even more expensive. That adds not only to the housing cost but commuting costs.”
Booker thinks these issues are a driving point for people. Now, they just have to vote.
“Vote up and down the ticket,” Ford said. “Don’t just stop at one person. When need you to get out and vote. We need you to get out and talk to people.”