Dr. Jim Riddlesperger fears low voter turnout because
so few states will be contested
Dr. Riddlesperger, a Texas Christian University political science professor, author, commentator and pundit, said at the September meeting that his expectation based on history is that Hillary Clinton will win the presidency – or not.
“Nothing can be predicted until the votes are cast, but since 1996, the candidate who leads after Labor Day wins the general election. Based on recent evidence, she will likely win,” he said. His concern is that there might be a disparity between the popular and electoral votes, as the nation experienced in the election between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
“Only 11 states are truly competitive in this year’s election. Our focus is on the larger prizes, Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina, , but other states are also in play. My worry is that people in states that are not competitive will fail to vote because of the narrow focus on these states,” he said
Regarding elections down the ballot, 34 Senate seats are open. Democrats need to win 50 percent of those seats. “Odds are, however, that there will be a 50-50 split in the Senate, which makes the vice presidency even more important,” he said.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Riddlesperger says no real data exists on the potential for a change in leadership because of the number of seats. “Anywhere from five to 20 seats could switch from Republican to Democrat,” he said. He felt it was likely the House would remain in Republican hands.
“One party is trying to go back to a past that never was and the other is seeking a future that will never be,” he said. “Because of polarization, we have fallen back on identity politics. We can't retrofit solutions into contemporary society."
Finally, he quoted U.S. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn on the role of politicians: “Any jackass can kick a barn door down. It takes a carpenter to build one.” Riddlesperger closed by saying, “Rayburn always reminded representatives to be carpenters. After Jan. 20, Republicans and Democrats need to work together to achieve something.”