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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At HuffPo Pollster, Mark Blumenthal’s post “Obama’s Approval Rating Is Underwater, But Don’t Try To Predict 2012 Yet,” notes that, despite lowered approval ratings, President Obama lead GOP frontrunners Romney and Perry. Although approval ratings are slightly better predictors of election results than trial heats, “none of these polling numbers can predict the winner of the presidency a year or more before the election,” as Blumenthal points out.
Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners has a HuffPo post, “Defining ‘Evangelicals’ in an Election Year” reminding progressives not to write off all evangelicals as conservative Republicans. As Wallis notes, “Now in 2011, the Right still gets it wrong when they claim that most evangelicals are firmly in their base; and the Left still doesn’t get it when they tacitly agree with the Right’s claim that all the evangelicals essentially belong to the most conservative candidates….it is precisely because we are Bible-believing and Jesus following evangelical Christians, that we have a fundamental commitment to social, economic, and racial justice, to be a good stewards of God’s creation, to be peacemakers in a world of conflict and war, and to be consistent advocates for human life and dignity wherever they are threatened.”
Lest you thought there was a limit to GOP electoral scams, Jane Mayer writes in The New Yorker on “State for Sale: A conservative multimillionaire has taken control in North Carolina, one of 2012’s top battlegrounds,” a revealing look at Art Pope’s “REDMAP, a new project aimed at engineering a Republican takeover of state legislatures.”
The New York Times has an update on white house strategy, “Obama Charts a New Route to Re-election” by Jackie Calmes and Mark Landler. The authors believe the Obama campaign is focusing on securing states where demographic trends favorable to Dems have taken root — with rapidly increasing numbers of “educated and higher-income independents, young voters, Hispanics and African-Americans, many of them alienated by Republicans’ Tea Party agenda.”
Some political pundits were shocked when Virginia and North Carolina, as well as Florida cast their electoral votes for Senator Obama in 2008. But demographic trends favoring Democratic candidates are accelerating in the south, as Chris Kromm explains in his Facing South post “Black Belt Power: African-Americans come back South, change political landscape.”
One of the more interesting political history books of the year, “The ‘S’ Word” by John Nichols has a fascinating chapter on Abraham Lincoln’s significant socialist connections and beliefs. That would be Abraham Lincoln, the Republican President, who said “The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of family relations, should be one of uniting working people of all nations and tongues and kindreds.” and that “labor is the superior – greatly the superior – of capital.” There’s lots more here to annoy Republicans, when they trot out the sanitized, hagiographic Lincoln of high school history books.
Donna Jablonski has an update at the AFL-CIO Blog, “Working Families Stall Ohio Voter Suppression,” which should encourage citizens groups around the country to get organized and fight Republican schemes to disenfranchise pro-Democratic constituencies.
Lawrence Lessig, author of “Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – – and a Plan to Stop It,” has a post making the case for small-donor reforms at Bloomberg.com. Says Lessig after reviewing several funding pathways: “There are comparisons to make and lessons to learn. But for now my aim is to talk strategy. If you believe that our Congress is corrupted; if you believe that corruption can be solved only by removing its source, if you believe special-interest funded elections are that source, then some version of small-dollar funded elections is the core to a strategy that could restore this republic..”
Michael Cooper reports at The New York Times on the expected impact of laws enacted in a dozen states “requiring voters to show photo identification at polls, cutting back early voting periods or imposing new restrictions on voter registration drives.” Cooper cites a study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law indicating that the laws “could make it significantly harder for more than five million eligible voters to cast ballots in 2012.”
Well, this is good news. Kyle Trygstad’s “Senate Math Not So Simple” at roll call.com reports that “The conventional wisdom is that odds favor Republicans winning control of the Senate next year. But an examination of the 2012 landscape at the end of the third quarter shows the chamber’s majority could go either way” owing mostly to uncertainty about the outcomes of a number of GOP primaries.

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