Anger over Trump presidency pushing more grassroots voting efforts
The emergence of a coalition of voters united by opposition to the policies and personal style of President Trump faces its first big test today. This anger over the Trump presidency has been corralled into sophisticated and robust voter mobilization tactics.
If today’s vote turns out to be a watershed election in U.S. electoral history, it could be traced to the emergence of left leaning grassroots activists and individuals, who have coalesced around outrage over the President Trump.
"The rhetoric and the policies of the Trump administration have raised the stakes of this midterm election to a level that many people I’ve talked to say they’ve never lived through an election this important," said Thomas Keck, professor of political science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School.
Keck is also a member of Indivisible Syracuse. This is just one of several local anti-Trump groups that’s been energized and active this election season. Keck said hundreds have taken to the phones to encourage voters to go the polls, and smothered neighborhoods in droves, canvassing for their favorite candidate.
"Often grassroots organizing on the left doesn’t have much of an electoral focus. Right? And this year there is a lot of an electoral focus," Keck said. "I think that is new and distinctive and that is going to impact the elections."
Keck said this grassroots effort worked in recent primaries for Congress and state Senate in central New York. The question is whether it will translate in a general election. The proof in the pudding there, according to Keck, is voter turnout. He said Onondaga County Board of Elections numbers show a high number of new voter registrations and requests for absentee ballots in this midterm vote.
"They’re not as high as recent presidential years, but their way higher than recent midterm years, so that’s a concrete indicator of the increased levels of engagement," he said.