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MSNBC host Rachel Maddow grilled Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez over the low turnout at Monday’s Iowa caucuses, pointing out how Democrats “didn’t turn out in droves” like in previous election cycles.
Whiles technical errors with the voting system have plagued the Democrat Party over the past several days, some on the left are sounding the alarms after early results from the Iowa caucuses draw a parallel to the 2016 turnout, which was roughly 170,000 voters.
In 2008, there were nearly 240,000 voters.
During a sit-down on Thursday night, Maddow asked about the low turnout and whether it’s a sign about the eventual general election outcome in November.
“Let me tell you the concern that I’ve heard voiced about what happened in Iowa this week that is not about the process failures, but that is about the prospect of beating Donald Trump in November and it’s that the turnout was flat,” Maddow said. “In 2008, turnout in the Iowa caucuses was astronomical, broke all the records and by a lot. 2016, it came back down to earth. It appears that the turnout in Iowa this year was back down in that back-down-to-earth level.”
She continued, “When I look at the numbers broadly, big Democratic numbers in Iowa, in the Iowa caucuses tend to translate into Democrat Party wins in the general election. Are Democrats not enthusiastic enough about voting and is that what those turnout numbers mean?”
Perez denied that there was a lack of enthusiasm, pointing to the turnout in the 2018 midterm elections as well as the special elections in 2017 and 2019 and telling the MSNBC host that they “came out in droves” on the issue of health care.
“But they didn’t come out in droves in Iowa,” Maddow pushed back, “and this was the first chance in the presidential race for Democrats to show their stuff and they didn’t turn out.”
“Well, we’ll see in New Hampshire and elsewhere,” Perez responded. “I don’t want to extrapolate much from one race. You know, with caucuses, even though there were satellite caucuses and other opportunities, you know, the reality is it is harder for people to vote if you have a shift job, if you are there.”
He added, “Make no mistake about it. Barack Obama is a historic figure. That is an incredibly high bar. And when we benchmark everything against Barack Obama, that is an undeniably high bar.”
The DNC chair later insisted that “the energy is everywhere” and he sees it on the campaign trail.