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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Gerald F. Seib’s “Blue-State Math Is Boon to Obama, Target for GOP” in today’s Wall St. Journal discusses the President’s Electoral College edge: “Specifically, there are 18 states plus the District of Columbia that have voted Democratic in all five presidential elections since 1992. Combined, they carry 242 electoral votes–90% of the votes needed for victory.” Seib also notes Obama’s trouble spots, most notably Ohio, “the juiciest target for Republicans.”
Media Matters for America reports on the Fox News week-long attack on government regulation, ordered by Roger Ailes. Elsewhere, ProPublica’s Marian Wang debunks the myth that government regulation is a job-killer.
In The Nation, John Nichols reviews the arguments for primary challenges to President Obama, noting Ralph Nader’s foray as an activist working inside the Democratic Party to change it. Although many progressives hold Nader’s hard-headed political analysis in high regard, CNN Opinion’s Donna Brazile makes a strong case that the net result of his campaigns thus far has been of great benefit to Republicans.
Lew Daly’s post “The Church of Labor” at Democracy addresses a provocative notion — that “collective bargaining is, ultimately, a victim not just of America’s right-leaning politics and market liberalism, but of America’s pervasive institutional and legal secularism–our so-called “wall of separation” between church and state.”
Republicans favorite tax stat these days is the one about the top 1 percent of all earners paying 40 percent of the taxes, usually followed by the question “isn’t that enough?” Robert Frank has a smart answer to the question in his Wall St. Journal article “Why the Rich Pay 40% of Taxes“: “…the top 1% share of income grew nearly five times faster than their share of taxes..”
On October 1, the CalTech-MIT Voting Technology Project will hold a major panel discussion on “Election Integrity — Past, Present and Future” at M.I.T.’s Kirsh Auditorium in Cambridge, MA. According to the Keene Sentinel, “The event will host a wide range of panelists from academia, systems and elections offices, and will have a relevance to all Americans with an interest in voting integrity where machines are involved — meaning practically everybody.” Indeed.
NPR’as Pam Fessler’s on line story “Voters May Face Slower Lines In 2012 Elections” suggests that there is more than a little to worry about regarding voting machines: “One of the big concerns is the impact budget cuts will have on voting machines. Most places bought new electronic equipment after the 2000 elections. But Charles Stewart, an election expert at MIT, says this new equipment is much more costly to maintain than the old punch-card and lever machines…”I don’t think many people, myself included, really recognized back a decade ago that this computerized equipment has a relatively short lifespan,” he says…”The worry, of course, is that either machines will fail, causing localities to have to kind of double up or to borrow machines, or not have enough on Election Day…”
In “Analysis: Democrats Hit Reset on Health Care,” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of the Associated Press writes that Dems are betting a lot on the GOP’s recent fumbles on Medicare. He quotes Democratic pollster Celinda Lake: “This is not a theoretical issue, it is a place where Republicans have taken votes that are very unpopular…It would be foolish of Democrats to waffle on this issue…Cutting Medicare is a much more dicey proposition in the general election. Medicare is popular even among the people who think it’s in trouble.”
Emily Ekins of the libertarian magazine Reason addresses the question “Is Half the Tea Party Libertarian?“, analyzing Reason-Rupe polling data indicating that the tea party is divided between social conservatives and “libertarian-leaners.” The data indicates that the tea partiers are fairly unified on economic questions, but some tea partiers may balk at voting for social conservatives.
Republicans are making a lot of noise about jobs, ‘job-killers’ and job-creation. But James Surowiecki argues in his “Jobs and the GOP” post in the New Yorker that Republican office-holders tend to get more of a free ride on jobs from voters – as a result of low voter expectations. The opposite holds true for Democratic political leaders and Democratic voters.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham has never provided a voice of sanity on foreign policy in his party. Having advocated military conflict with Iran, he now urges escalating U.S. military confrontation with Pakistan, despite their nuclear weapons, standing army of more than 600K and 500K in reserves. Juan Cole has the takedown here.
Maria Cardona’s “No Casa Blanca for the GOP” at HuffPo may be the definitive dismissal of Republican hopes for winning the Latino vote in 2012.

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