Democrat operatives are openly touting a medical marijuana ballot initiative in Florida as a means of helping Democrats win elections in 2014, saying the move, which will likely help bring young voters to the poll, is necessary for the greater good.
“I wish that it didn’t take medical marijuana on the ballot to motivate our young voters to go and vote,” said Ana Cruz, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party told the Associated Press. “But listen, we’ll take it any way we can get it.”
Midterm elections experience a steep drop-off in voter turnout compared with presidential elections. Those less likely to vote include young, minority and low-income voters, who are all important parts of the Democrat vote in elections.
In 2006, Democrat and union activists backed initiatives to increase the minimum wage in several battleground states to draw voters inclined to support Democrats to the polls. Democrats took control of Congress that year, although their win likely had more to do with Bush-fatigue and set-backs in Iraq than the narrow wage issue.
Democrats are banking on the chance to legalize some pot use to draw young voters in Florida, which is host to several competitive House races and a close Governor race.
It is a kind of “bank-shot” campaigning. The party fears that its direct message and platform isn’t enough to draw voters to the polls. So, it hopes that a side issue like medical marijuana will increase interest in the election and the voters most likely to support that initiative will then reflexively back the Democrat candidates.