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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority


Dem House Candidate’s Ad Rocks KY Politics

The following ad for Democratic House of Reps. (KY-6) candidate Lt. Colonel Amy McGrath, created by Mark Putnam, who also helped develop ads for President Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, is generating considerable buzz in Kentucky politcs — and the nation:

Great ad that it is, Mcgrath faces a tough challenge in a heavily-red district. Those who want to help Mcgrath can contribute at her ActBlue page.

New Johns Hopkins Study Probes Social Class and Shifting Political Identity

Jill Rosen previews a Journal of Sociological Science report, which presents the results of a study of 30,000 eligible voters, exploring “how social class affected political identity in the run up to the 2016 presidential election.” According to Rosen’s article, “Shift away from party loyalty among working-class voters set stage for Trump’s victory” in Johns Hopkins University Magazine:

On the cusp of last year’s presidential election, many working-class voters who were once staunch Democrats had gone independent, opening the door for a non-traditional Republican candidate…”A substantial proportion of eligible voters within the working class turned away from solid identification with either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party during the Obama presidency,” wrote lead author Stephen L. Morgan, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Education. “Even before the 2016 election cycle commenced, conditions were uncharacteristically propitious for a Republican candidate who could appeal to prospective voters in the working class, especially those who had not voted in recent presidential elections but could be mobilized to vote.”

Morgan and graduate student Jiwon Lee studied data from the 1994 through 2016 editions of the General Social Survey, to model how party identification has evolved over the past 24 years…They focused on more than 30,000 eligible voters. The survey asks respondents which political party they identify with, as well as questions about their occupation and education, which allowed the researchers to determine how working-class voters aligned themselves politically over time.

“We found substantial change in party identification across the presidencies of Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama, particularly during Obama’s tenure,” Morgan said. “Many eligible working-class voters were becoming less attached to the Democratic Party, but their loyalties weren’t shifting to the Republican Party.”

Many of these voters—lower-paid, lower-skilled workers often in blue-collar jobs—had begun to consider themselves independent, Morgan found.

Graphic charting affiliations of working class voters as independent (black line), Democrats (blue line), and Republicans (red line)

Image caption:A graphic of working-class party identification from 1994-2016 shows that most identify as independents.

The report likely won’t suprise political observers who have been studying white working-class party identification. But the large size of the study adds some weight to its conclusions. As for the reasons behind the trend, Rosen writes,

The survey didn’t explore why voters who changed party affiliation did so, but Morgan suspects a number of causes: a slow economic recovery after the recession, a failure by those in office to prosecute the individuals responsible for the collapse of financial institutions, and the continuing erosion of real wages for semi-skilled and unskilled workers…Rejection of the civil rights agenda, however defined, appears fashionable again..Morgan estimates that between 6 and 10 percent of working-class voters shifted allegiances, not enough for the Democratic Party to entirely lose its overall working-class advantage.

Whatever advantage Democrats still have with the working-class surely rests on the political preferences of African-American working-class voters, who remain the Dems’ most reliable supporters. Increasing Black voter turnout is still a critical chalenge for Democrats, regardless of white working-class voting trends.

Rosen notes “A silver lining for Democrats, Morgan said, is that some of these lost working-class voters didn’t support a traditional Republican, but someone who appealed to their economic interests.” Democratic candidates who figure out how to project themselves as serving working-class economic interests will find themselves in a good position to win in 2018.

Don’t Forget to Thank Democrats, But War Against ACA Will Go On

It’s well and good that Sens. McCain, Collins and Murkowski are receiving widespread tributes for their pivotal opposition to ‘skinny repeal’ of the Affordable Care Act. But let’s also thank the Senate Democrats, whose unanimous rejection of the measure lead the way. David Leonhardt does a good job of it in his New York Times column, “The Americans Who Saved Health Insurance“:

I know it’s unfashionable to praise a political party, and I have plenty of complaints about the Democrats. But the fact is, many Americans would soon lack health insurance were it not for the unity of elected Democrats.

Not a single one wavered in recent months. On the left, Bernie Sanders, who’s technically an independent, worked to poke procedural holes in the bills. Every red-state Democrat stood firm, too. Why? They thought their Senate leader, Chuck Schumer, was listening to them and their concerns. They had also held their own town halls, and they knew the bills were deeply unpopular.

The unity was a fitting echo of 2010, when Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid kept their party together to pass the most important social policy in decades. Today, it remains the law of the land.

Democrats can be rightly proud of their leadership in protecting the Affordable Care Act. But let’s also affirm the pivotal leadership of citizens and human rights organizations who supported Democrats in winning this battle. In his HuffPo post, “Thanks to the millions who fought to save our health care,” Mike Lux points out that citizen activism was the key to defeating ‘skinny repeal’:

It should not be forgotten that it was all those actions by regular people fighting their hearts out for this cause that won this fight. The people demonstrating, the town hall meetings, the letters, the petitions, the phone calls, the social media postings. Everything all of you did made the difference. You not only terrified the Republicans, but you bolstered and fired up the Democrats to fight back— and fight back they did, to their enormous credit…We have so many battles yet to fight. You activists have shown you can pull off miracles and we are going to need some more of them in the years to come. But last night gives me faith we can do it— again and again and again.

Leonhardt also acknowledges the critical role of “thousands of citizens who took time to attend meetings, visit congressional offices and call those offices, often repeatedly. This sustained action worked better than any poll to show Congress how unpopular the bills were. It was a reminder of how democracy can work.”

It’s important, however, to see the defeat of ‘skinny repeal,’ not as a war that has been won, but a battle victory, or really just one of many skirmishes in the decades of struggle for health security for all Americans.  As Leonhardt cautions, “No one should think the fight is over. Murphy, the Connecticut senator, says he wakes up every day fearful of a new repeal effort. Even without one, Obamacare needs to be improved, and defended from Trump’s sabotage. There’s much more work to do.”

For now, however, let’s give the Democrats in congress due credit for their unified defense of health security for all Americans. Too often, the public takes Democratic support for needed reforms for granted. But the impressive unity Democrats demonstrated in this battle should not be shrugged off. It took courage and vision to hold the line against relentless opposition that controlled the rules and agenda. Countless lives have been saved and million more will get needed health care because of Democratic unity in this most central of struggles for a decent society.

Despite’s Trump’s Pandering in Youngstown, Obamacare Repeal Threatens Working Class Communities

The following article by labor experts John Russo* and Sherry Linkon* is cross-posted from The American Prospect:

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump visited the Youngstown area three times. On Tuesday, President Trump returned. Officially sponsored by his 2020 campaign, the rally at Youngstown’s Covelli Center provided him an opportunity to be buoyed by the cheers of 7,000 fans.

While many of those attending Tuesday’s rally came from outside of the city and the region, Trump has significant support here, rooted in the politics of resentment. Distrust of government—and especially of politicians—developed in the aftermath of plant closings and downsizings that began in the late 1970s, as tens of thousands of workers in Youngstown and the surrounding Mahoning Valley lost jobs in steel mills, auto plants, and related industries. Many blamed environmental regulations, trade agreements, and corporate pursuit of cheap foreign labor, and they vowed to make those who negotiated NAFTA pay a price. Political resentment grew as candidate after candidate used crumbling steel mills as backdrops for speeches promising to rebuild the local economy—and then failed to take real action to create change. Resentment deepened over the last decade, as many working- and middle-class people lost their homes and jobs in the foreclosure crisis, even as wages declined and work became more precarious.

That’s why Trump’s focus on illegal immigration, trade, government regulations, and betrayal by elites resonated with local residents in this historically Democratic region. In the Republican primary, thousands of previously unregistered voters turned out to support him, and a number of long-time Democrats crossed party lines. During his Tuesday visit, Trump claimed to have won Mahoning County in the general election. In reality, he lost it narrowly to Clinton, though he did win in Trumbull County next door. But he wasn’t wrong that he had shaken up local political patterns. In both counties, Republicans had their strongest showing since 1972.

Creamer: How to Really Make the Affordable Care Act Even Better

The following article by Democratic strategist Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, is cross-posted from HuffPo:

Republican fantasies about “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are crashing on the rocks of two-to-one public opposition, and a tidal wave of ordinary people who are demanding their Members of Congress vote NO.

So what about a real plan to make the ACA even better? What about a plan to provide even more access to health care and make premiums more affordable – especially for working people — rather than the GOP plan to take health care away from millions?

The Affordable Care Act has massively increased coverage at much more affordable prices for many, many Americans. What’s more, it has prevented insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions, installed many consumer protections for consumers and helped lower the rate of health care inflation. Most importantly, it established that in a civilized society, health care is not a commodity to be bought and sold, but a right.

The ACA was a major step in the right direction. And in many respects, the United States has a spectacular health care delivery system. But in others we still have a great deal of room to improve.

Let’s start by remembering that health care costs per capita in the United States remain the highest of any industrial nation, even though our health care outcomes remain well below the best performing nations in the world.

The ACA has indeed improved outcomes for many, many Americans. And it has bent the cost curve. Health care cost inflation is much lower today than it was in the pre-ObamaCare era to which the GOP seeks to return.

The last way to “improve” the health care system is to repeal the ACA and return to the bad old days before health care was considered a human right in the United States. The same obviously goes for partial repeal proposals like the House or Senate TrumpCare repeal and replace bills.

In fact, to the extent the ACA could be improved it’s because it doesn’t provide enough of a good thing.

There are three major factors driving health care costs in the United States. First are payment systems that incentivize the numbers of procedures that are performed rather than the outcomes they produce. Second are the costs of prescription drugs – which are much higher than they are in the rest of the world. Finally are the excessive costs of administration, marketing and profit that are associated with private insurance companies. Remember, Medicare’s administrative cost is a fraction of the combined costs of profits, administration and marketing for private insurance companies.

The best way to improve the health insurance system in America and simultaneously cut costs would be to follow the lead of most other industrial countries and set up a single-payer system for everyone like the Medicare system that covers senior citizens in the U.S. today.

Such a system would not only assure that everyone has health care, it would also allow the purchasing power of the single-payer to negotiate with drug companies for much lower prices, eliminate massive amounts of insurance company bureaucracy and allow for new systems of provider payments that would incentivize results rather than the number of procedures that can be billed out to insurance.

A single-payer system would without doubt be the best way to finance health care in the United States. Regardless of what is done with health insurance today, the odds are good that one day the U.S. will ultimately have a single payer system.

Short of a single-payer system, there are, however, three specific policies that would greatly improve the availability and affordability of health insurance.

The current ACA system has three major shortcomings.

  • First, some especially hard to serve markets have only one – or in some cases potentially fewer – insurance plans offered on their ACA exchange. That leaves consumers captive and defeats to purpose of the exchanges. Of course a big part of this problem results from intentional policies of the Trump administration that are intended to sabotage the ACA. Many of the companies who have exited these markets have done so because of uncertainty whether Trump would fund the subsidies provided by the ACA.
  • Second, the ACA left in place policies that allow the pharmaceutical industry to charge U.S. consumers much more than they charge consumers abroad.
  • Third, subsidies for insurance plans stop at income levels that still make individual or family policies purchased on the Exchanges unaffordable to many working families.

These two problems could be effectively addressed by three progressive policies that are all very politically popular:

1). Increase substantially the income levels at which working people can receive subsidies on the exchanges. The dollars needed to finance these subsidies should come from additional taxes on the wealthy, health insurance companies and especially the giant pharmaceutical companies.

Remember that the pharmaceutical companies have made record profits by gouging U.S. consumers substantially more than they can charge consumers in other countries. That is especially due to the limits on re-importation of pharmaceuticals and the fact that Medicare is prevented by law from negotiating with pharmaceutical companies for cheaper drug prices. So a pharmaceutical company tax is a fair source of revenue for increased subsidies for working people.

Recall, by the way, that when the Medicare Part D plan was passed that outrageous provision banning negotiation was itself negotiated by Republican Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Bill Tauzin who then promptly left Congress to make millions of dollars as head of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

2). Repeal the prohibition against Medicare negotiating with the drug companies for lower prices and require that they provide pharmaceuticals to consumers on the exchanges at the Medicare-negotiated rate. In addition, allow re-importation of pharmaceuticals from suppliers in other countries who can obtain drugs at prices below which these companies sell to U.S. consumers.

3). Set up a public insurance option offered nationwide that can compete in every market in America. A public option, like Medicare, would have low administrative and marketing costs and major market clout, and would provide an affordable insurance option whenever private carriers abandoned insurance markets. In addition, competition from a public insurance option would force down private insurance costs.

A public insurance option is pretty much a no-brainer. It was passed by the House of Representatives when the ACA was on the way to becoming law, but ultimately dropped by the Senate as a result of a massive insurance industry lobbying and the work of the former “Senator from Health Insurance” Joe Lieberman.

Together, increased subsidies for working people, a public insurance option and lower pharmaceutical prices would solve most of the shortcomings of the current Affordable Care Act.

They work as policy – unlike GOP proposals like health savings accounts that mainly benefit the wealthy. And they are also very popular politically. They represent the high political ground.

Once ordinary people have administered the coup de grace to GOP proposals to “repeal and replace” ObamaCare, Democrats should forcefully advocate these three policies to make ObamaCare even better.

And they should dare the Republicans to pass these proposals that would actually address the issues people care about – increasing the availability and affordability of health insurance coverage – rather than taking health care away from millions of their fellow Americans.

Working America: Be Bold, Be Visible: Central Ohio Midterm Voters’ Outlook on Policies and Politicians

The following article is cross-posted from the Working America Front Porch Focus Group Report:


Working America canvassers held face-to-face conversations with 355 likely midterm swing voters in central Ohio in early June. During these front-porch discussions, we surveyed midterm voters on their top issues and 11 public policies designed to address economic and public health concerns. The list included eight middle-class-oriented policies, two policies targeting low-income workers, and the American Health Care Act, or Trumpcare. We wanted to understand if and where working people are feeling pinched and what solutions they believe will deliver meaningful change to their lives. We also asked about their source for political news and views of politicians. Here are our findings:

There is strong support in Ohio for an array of progressive policies to expand and strengthen the middle class. During our 355 face-to-face conversations, we found solid support across partisan lines and income levels to curb the outsourcing of jobs, address the opioid crisis and pass paid family leave. These three policies have such high levels of support and intensity that they could prove persuasive even for Trump swing voters in 2018. In addition, five other progressive policies promoting middle-class well-being are backed by more than 70 percent of Clinton voters and at least a plurality of Trump voters we spoke with during this project.

Trumpcare is intensely opposed by Clinton swing voters and weakly supported by Trump swing voters. Only 39 percent of Trump voters — and a mere 2 percent of Clinton voters — support the passage of Trumpcare. Overall, 60 percent of Ohio swing voters we spoke with chose it from a list of 11 policies as the one that would have the most negative impact on their family. Voters in both camps identify health care as their most important issue, so a candidate’s stance on Trumpcare could be hugely persuasive in 2018.

While there is a path forward for Ohio progressives in 2018, voters’ low information about elected officials is helping to drive a low opinion of all politicians. Our conversations with Ohio swing voters reveal they know little about their elected officials; half of them say they do not know or have no opinion of either U.S. senator. And a substantial share of voters told us they get their news from right-leaning media sources; 49 percent of Trump voters rely on Fox or other TV news as their primary news source. Overall, voters are far more likely to hold “all politicians” responsible for the state of the economy rather than one political party, Wall Street or corporations. In 2016, Democrats in Ohio tried and failed to use conventional paid media to push back against right-wing messages. In 2018, progressives need to change the way we get information to voters and do far more direct outreach. Having better policies won’t make a difference if voters never hear about them.


  1. Policies to expand and strengthen the middle class have broad and intense support among Ohio swing voters. Stopping outsourcing, addressing the opioid crisis and establishing paid family leave are all backed by at least two-thirds of Trump voters and an overwhelming majority of Clinton voters with whom we spoke. These policies are strongly supported across income and party lines, and appear to have sufficient intensity to be persuasive with voters.
  2. Health care is currently Ohio voters’ No. 1 issue, and the deep unpopularity of Trumpcare could make it a highly persuasive issue. A full 87 percent of Clinton swing voters oppose Trumpcare. Even among Trump voters, the bill is unpopular, with a majority either neutral on (44 percent) or outright opposed (17 percent) to its passage. When queried about health care, voters from both parties and at all income levels prioritize affordable and accessible care. Given the highly negative perception of Trumpcare, even many Trump swing voters could be persuaded by arguments against it.
  3. Ohio voters are highly polarized over raising the minimum wage, but it has strong support with the lower-income voters that Democrats struggle to get to the polls in midterm elections. The partisan divide over the minimum wage is stark: 79 percent of Clinton voters support it, while 58 percent of Trump voters oppose it. However, 68 percent of all low-income voters, including Trump voters, back a minimum wage increase. This could make the issue a powerful mobilization tool for progressives.
  4. Conventional paid media has not been getting through to voters, leaving them with little information about elected officials. In Ohio’s 2016 race for the U.S. Senate, the two top candidates and their supporters spent an estimated $90 million, with a huge share going to TV ads and other paid media. Yet 53 percent of the swing voters we surveyed did not know or had no opinion of Sen. Rob Portman, one of the candidates in that race. This shows the limited effectiveness of conventional advertising and paid media in reaching voters.
  5. Voters’ low information is combining with right-wing media narratives to cement a low opinion of all politicians.Progressives need to change how they get information to the public. Our conversations reveal that voters across the political spectrum do not differentiate between Democrats and Republicans when assigning responsibility for their economic woes during the last decade. Two out of five voters we spoke with told canvassers “all politicians” were at fault. Voters repeatedly said they do not see elected officials dealing with issues important to them. The upshot is that voters blame elected officials writ large for the state of the economy more than they blame the corporate beneficiaries of rigged rules. If progressive candidates want to change that narrative in 2018 and beyond, direct outreach to voters like door-to-door contact will be essential.

The findings in this report are based on “front porch focus groups” — interviews held in person at voters’ front doors.Working America canvassers conducted the interviews from June 5 to June 16 in working- and middle-class neighborhoods in Columbus and several surrounding towns as well as in Circleville, Delaware and Mansfield. The people we spoke with voted in at least one nonpresidential election since 2010, which suggests they are likely to vote in 2018. These voters landed squarely in the middle of the partisan spectrum with an average Catalist Vote Choice partisanship score of 48.2 (on a scale of 0-100, 0 being most Republican and 100 being most Democrat). The estimated household income of voters averaged roughly $88,000 a year. Ninety-eight percent of voters were white, 1 percent were African-American, none were Latinx and 0.3 percent were Asian; the ethnicity of 0.3 percent was unknown.


1. What Voters Think About Policies to Strengthen the Middle Class

Working America canvassers talked with Ohio swing voters about eight policies designed to strengthen and expand the middle class. Their responses show there is broad support, even among Trump swing voters, for many progressive policies.

In South Columbus, one of our canvassers talked with Robert, a 51-year-old white Trump voter who wanted Democrats “to stop with the [Russia] investigation crap.” But Robert supported all eight progressive policies, including making it easier to unionize. He related how he’d tried to form a union at work and feared he’d lose his job. On many issues, Trump swing voters shared powerful stories from their own lives that explained why they backed progressive policies. This doesn’t mean Trump swing voters will automatically pull the lever for a progressive in 2018. But it’s a good reminder that some of these voters swung from Barack Obama to Trump and that policies relevant to their lives may help swing them back in a progressive direction.

For all the policies that follow, we measured both the level of support and the level of intensity that voters had for each policy. We measured the level of support by asking voters whether they supported, opposed or felt neutral about each policy. We measured intensity by asking voters which policies they thought would have the greatest positive or negative impact on their families. For the full set of results, please see the charts in the Appendix.

1.A. Broad, Intense Support for Three Policies to Bolster the Middle Class

Chart 1 shows three middle-class-oriented policies that garnered the support of at least two-thirds of Trump voters and an overwhelming majority of Clinton voters. Trump voters also ranked these policies as the top 3 out of 8 middle-class-oriented policies that would have the greatest positive impact on their lives. All three policies had strong support across income and party lines, and they appear to have sufficient intensity to be persuasive with voters in 2018.

Looking at support, three policies rose to the top across partisanship: curbing outsourcing, addressing the opioid crisis and passing paid family leave. Looking at intensity of support, we see that among the broadly supported policies, these three also ranked as the most likely to have a positive impact on the lives of Ohioans. They resonate across the board. Beneath the charts is a more detailed analysis of each policy.


Stopping Outsourcing – Overall, 79.3 percent of Ohio swing voters told us they want lawmakers to discourage companies from outsourcing jobs and encourage them to provide good wages and benefits through tax incentives. Voters ranked it first among the eight middle-class-oriented policies as the one that would have the greatest positive impact. Stopping outsourcing received more support from Trump swing voters than any other policy, with 83.2 percent of them backing the measure. And it wasn’t just displaced factory workers who complained about outsourcing. White-collar workers had concerns as well.

Teixeira: How Vulnerable Is Trump?

The following article, by Ruy Teixeira, author of “The Optimistic Leftist: Why the 21st Century Will Be Better Than You Think” and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his blog, The Optimistic Leftist:

Some have argued that the emotional bond between Trump and his supporters is so strong that it’s nearly impossible to break.

I don’t believe this is true for a couple of reasons. First, Trump is attached to the GOP and the GOP is remarkably out of touch with the voters who supported Trump. This is a non-trivial problem, as Ron Brownstein explains in The Atlantic.

The Senate Republican health-care bill has been repeatedly crushed in a slow-motion collision between the party’s historic ideology and the interests of its modern electoral coalition. Yet congressional Republicans appear determined to plow right through the wreckage.

Even as the Senate’s latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed on Tuesday, the House Republican leadership released a 10-year federal-budget blueprint that points them toward a similar confrontation, between their dominant small-government dogma and the economic needs of their increasingly blue-collar and older white base.

The Urban Institute found that 80 percent of those who would lose coverage under the Senate repeal-and-replace bill were non-college educated, 70 percent worked full-time and 60 percent were white. Rural areas would be particularly hard hit by the Medicaid cuts and so on. Candidate Trump of course said he would do none of this stuff but that went out the window once he started dealing with Congressional Republicans and their libertarian proclivities.

This matters. Brownstein notes that Trump’s approval ratings among white noncollege women is now 19 points lower than his vote support among this group back in November. Will all of these voters abandon him? No, but if a serious chunk does it will hurt both him and the GOP.

But isn’t it true that Trump’s overall support has been rock-steady? On net, aren’t his voters sticking with him? This is a myth. It is certainly true that he retains most of this support. But that’s different from all. Brendan Nyhan points out in a New York Times Upshot column that the seeming stability in Trump’s approval rating among GOP partisans may be an illusion. This is because Republican identifiers who disapprove of Trump may cease identifying as Republicans, thereby propping up his numbers among that group. But he’s still losing support.

A new Ipsos poll finds that one in eight Trump supporters from last November now say they aren’t sure they’d do it again after the last six months. We don’t know of course whether these voters would actually follow through on their sentiments. But it is not a good sign, either for Trump or the GOP.

People are reluctant, understandably so, to believe in Trump’s vulnerability. People will not soon forget the night of November 8, 2016 when nothing turned out like it was supposed to. But if his supporters have a fear of falling downward economically, what happens if they conclude he can’t stop the fall, much less lift them up? He will be punished like all politicians. It is just a matter of when and how much.

New Survey Provides 2018 Midterms Turnout Estimates, Reveals Challenge Facing Democrats

In a new Lake Research Partners/The Voter participation Center report, “Comparing the Voting Electorate in 2012-2016 and Predicting 2018 Drop-off,” Celinda Lake and Joshua E. Ulibarri offer data-driven projections of voter turnout in the 2018 elections. The study should be required reading for all 2018 Democratic candidates and campaigns. As Lake and Ulibarri report:

  • Using a predictive methodology for population growth and likely turnout patterns, it is projected that the RAE [Rising American Electorate – “unmarried women, Millennials (ages 18-34)*, African Americans, Latinos, and all other people of color (as defined by the Census) – now accounts for more than half of the voting eligible population in this country (59.2%)”] will comprise 61.6% of those who will vote in November 2018. This means that one in three voters who turned out in 2016 will NOT turn out in 2018 (35.1% of those who voted in 2016, or 25.4 million RAE voters, will stay home).
  • The predicted drop-off among non-RAE voters is only 22.1% or 14.4 million voters. In fact, of the nearly 40 million Americans predicted to drop-off from 2016, two-thirds will come from the RAE (remember, the RAE represents 59.2% of the vote eligible population).
  • Turnout is predicted to drop the most among Millennial voters and unmarried women. In fact, this is true in patterns seen between 2008 and 2014. Drop-off among Millennials is predicted to be 54.1% (or 17.2 million voters) and 33.4% among unmarried women (or 11.1 million voters).
  • Regionally, the biggest drop-off of RAE voters is predicted to take place in the Mid-Atlantic states (NY, PA, and NJ – Census defined region). Here, 39.6% of RAE voters are expected to drop-off in 2018.
  • Among target states, Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada are expected to see the biggest drop-off rates among RAE voters. 48.7% (or roughly 1,106,000 voters) of RAE voters are predicted to drop off in Virginia in 2018, while 44.2% (or roughly 309,000 voters) and 43.4% (or roughly 1,135,000 million voters) of RAE voters will drop off in Nevada and North Carolina, respectively.

The study includes national, regional and state data, and the authors note that “Drop-Off – refers to the loss of voters from 2016 to 2018. The average of turnout in 2006, 2010, and 2014 was applied to 2018 population estimates to calculate 2018 turnout. Percentage drop-off is the difference between 2016 and 2018 turnout as a percentage of 2016 turnout. Number drop-off is that percentage of the 2016 electorate.”

The study underscores the profound disadvantage Democratic candidates face in midterm elections, since the RAE is composed of largely pro-Democratic constituencies. The 2018 vote total could be even worse, if the Republicans are able to expand their voter suppression impact. If, on the other hand, Democrats are able to run really good candidates and mobilize more effective voter registration, education and turnout campaigns, the 2018 results could be significantly better in key states.

ABC/WaPo Poll: Dems in Good Position for 2018

Yes, it’s still early, but a new ABC/Washington Post Poll shows Democrats with an impressive lead among potential midterm voters. As Sofi Sinozich writes at abcnews.com:

There is a Democratic preference: Among all adults, 53 percent say they’d prefer to see the Democrats take control of Congress “to act as a check on Trump,” vs. 35 percent who’d like to see the GOP retain control “to support Trump’s agenda.” That said, among registered voters, it’s a 52-38 percent split, and among likely voters, 50-41 percent — the Democratic margin drawing in from 18 to 14 to 9 points as voting likelihood increases.

Drilling deeper, Sinozich adds:

In the question on control of Congress, registered partisans nearly unanimously back their respective parties, leaving the result driven by independents: Half prefer Democratic control of Congress, 36 percent, Republican.

Among white registered voters, men without college degrees, some of Trump’s strongest backers in the 2016 election, prefer Republican control, 60 vs. 34 percent. By contrast, among white women with college degrees it’s the opposite — 59 vs. 35 percent for Democratic control.

Democratic control wins only a slight edge among returning voters, 49 vs. 41 percent, while potential new voters prefer it by 2-1, 64 vs. 30 percent. That reflects the fact that new potential voters are younger and more likely to be nonwhite, two groups that consistently lean Democratic. And it underscores the Democratic Party’s need to boost turnout in these groups.

Sinozich’s report emphasizes that “Despite Trump’s historically low approval rating, opposition to him is not producing appreciably more 2018 voting intention than is support for him” and she notes that “51 percent of registered voters say Trump won’t be a factor in their vote for Congress. The rest split closely between saying they’d vote to support Trump (20 percent) or to oppose him (24 percent), a non-significant gap.” Other poll analysts have noted a long-standing relationship between the midterm performance of political parties and the President’s approval ratings.

In any case, the Democratic Party is not going to hang all of its 2018 midterm elections hopes on Trump’s sinking popularity, despite the media’s narrow construct of Democratic strategy as a choice between focusing on Trump or local issues. Very few Democratic candidates are counting on Trump’s approval ratings to get elected. While Trump is undoubtedly doing some damage to the Republican “brand” among swing voters, the more interesting question at this juncture is how much damage McConnell and Ryan are doing to the GOP’s image with their ‘repeal and replace” follies. All of this may matter less in November, 2018 than the voting public’s perception of economic realities.

Martinez: Virginia Can Light Path to Victory for Dems

Leopoldo MartínezBoard Chair for Latino Victory Project, limns a victory strategy in his HuffPo article “Organizing a Democratic Comeback” at HuffPo — beginning with the Virginia Governorship:

Trump did not win the national popular vote. Further, his margins of victory were dismal in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — less than 0.5%. We know that this was merely due to thousands of registered democrats in those states not showing up to the polls or them being diverted to protest for Johnson or Stein. It is also clear that voter turnout in red states, like Arizona or Texas, was worse for Trump than for the past two Republican presidential candidates. And yes, we now know that according to America’s intelligence community, the Russian government did meddle in the 2016 Presidential election. For these reasons, and Trump’s poor presidential performance thus far, we must maintain our fight for “resistance,” and continue to “re-litigate,” with much help from the media, the 2016 election.

 …Does it make sense to brand “impeachment” and “resistance” the center of the political strategy to regain power? I see the merits of “resistance tactics” to prevent the extreme, such as the possibility of passing Trumpcare 3.0. I do agree that Congress should make Trump accountable for his affair with the wealthiest in America. However, for an impeachment to occur, Democrats need to be in the majority in Congress. Resistance alone, or the prospects of impeachment, are banking on the actions by others, namely Republicans.
Democrats need to convert the popular vote majority we uphold, into seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Furthermore, Democrats need to gain control of the state assemblies where the two biggest threats to democracy are emerging due to voter suppression and gerrymandering. Alternatively, we need to elect a governor who will veto every piece of legislation that could reverse our civil rights, like Governor Terry McAuliffe has done approximately 111 times in Virginia.
It is well over time to move from resistance to action, from being in the defensive to rolling out an offensive. We must communicate how the lives of working Americans, the middle class, and those most vulnerable matter. And, we must move beyond traditional partisan politics and coalitions, and activate independents whose aspirations would be better served with the ideas, laws and policies of Democrats. Also, we need to go local the message, issues and policies. We need to listen and develop progressive common sense responses that can be carried by local and state governments, we also need to find common ground with those who have good ideas to solve those problems.

This strategy will move our country forward and better the chances of electing Ralph Northam for Governor of the state of Virginia. Building a majority in the state legislature would not only stop the bigotry reigning in the DC-VA corridor, it will signal a path to reclaim a Senate majority in 2018.

We cannot win, of course, by negatively campaigning against Trump or making Russia and a potential impeachment the central theme in our narrative…The message in this Virginia governor’s race should be about hope and what the people need, preserving the economic and social progress we have made under President Obama, and fixing what needs fixing with specific proposals to mobilize the majority of the people.

“Let’s make Virginia the case to replicate nation-wide in 2018 and 2020,” Martinez concludes. “Building a majority, empowering and mobilizing a broad coalition, and public engagement with a positive policy message is the winning strategy. This will not only benefit the Democratic Party, but it will bring progress for our nation to move forward.”