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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

A good place to begin your Tuesday reading would be John Nichols article in The Nation, “Occupy the Polls: Tuesday’s Critical Tests of Political Power” which spotlights a ten-pack of elections being held around the country today to watch for clues. Number one is the Ohio referendum to restore labor rights, which progressives are expected to win.
Dems should also keep an eye on swing state Virginia, where top Democrats are rallying to prevent Republicans from controlling the state senate, the last Democratic bulwark in the Old Dominion. The Washington Times’ David Sherfinski has a report here.
Seizing on a newly-released Florida poll indicating that a near-majority of respondents believe the Republicans are sabotaging the economy at the same time as the President’s approval rating is 41 percent in the sunshine state, Jonathan Chait makes the case that Obama’s low approval ratings are being overemphasized by the pundits. Chait notes that Bush’s mid-forties approval numbers improved significantly in ’04 as many voters decided they couldn’t cast ballots for Kerry. Says Chait: “…incumbent approval rating isn’t something that’s independent of the opposing candidate. Voters may shape their view of the incumbent by making a comparison…We have to be a little cautious about interpreting the importance of Obama’s mediocre approval ratings in the face of a polarized electorate and a still-discredited opposition party.”
Mounting opinion poll data indicates that the public believes the GOP is intentionally stalling the economy to hurt the President’s re-election prospects, according to Brian Beutler’s post “Three’s A Trend: Polls Show Voters Believe GOP Intentionally Stalling Economic Recovery” in Talking Points Memo. Salon’s Steve Kornacki has more to say about it here.
Ed Pilkington reports in The Guardian on “Koch brothers: secretive billionaires to launch vast database with 2012 in mind.” For those who were unaware of the extent of the brothers’ grandiose ambitions, Pilkington notes “The voter file was set up by the Kochs 18 months ago with $2.5m of their seed money…It has been given the name Themis, after the Greek goddess who imposes divine order on human affairs.”
Martha C. White has a Time Moneyland report “Bank Transfer Day, The Day After.” Although aggregate numerical data is not yet in, some anecdotal reports are impressive. Noting that the facebook-generated campaign had 86K supporters, White adds: “The Denver Post says more than 1,000 protesters marched from bank to bank and urged customers there to close their accounts, while the Colorado Independent says local credit unions have acquired $100 million in new deposits within the past month… In Sacramento, Golden1 Credit Union opened for extended hours, and Vice President of Marketing, Scott Ingram said “It’s a busy day for us. We were anticipating we’d see a lot of new members and that’s what’s happening at every branch,” reported
reported Leigh Paynter of News10 KXTV. Elsewhere, Suzanne Kapner of the Wall St. Journal reports “On Saturday, the Boeing Employees’ Credit Union in Seattle signed up a one-day record 659 new members. At the grand opening of a Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union branch in Pflugerville, Texas, the parking lot was so full that customers had to leave their cars across the street.” You want video? Anna Almendrala of HuffPo has some Youtube footage here.
Most of the action was in the west, but not all of it. Looking to the east, Rashid Mian of the Long Island Press reports in his “Bank Transfer Day: Hundreds Switch to LI Credit Unions” that “Bethpage Federal Credit Union reported that more than 1,200 new accounts were opened on Saturday alone, far more than the usual 300 accounts the credit union opens on average per week.” “We’ve been so busy I’ve been handling customers that are overflow,” says David Glaser, vice president of the National Capital Bank of Washington, in Washington, D.C. The two-branch bank has one location open on weekends, and Glaser says it added six new customers on Saturday. Ordinarily, he says a Saturday might yield just a single new customer or none at all,” according to White’s report in Time, cited above.
Dems need not be intimidated by GOP bluster and cherry-picked polls arguing for a return to “market-based” healthcare,’ because some polls show show quite the opposite, As Sarah Kliff of Ezra Klein’s wonkblog reveals in her “Unexpected chart of the day: Americans want more government in health care.”
Elizabeth DiNovella has a penetrating report in The Progressive on “The Group Behind the Republican Takeover,” the Republican State Leadership Committee, which “played a decisive role in the 2010 elections, and helped flip twenty state legislative chambers from Democrat to Republican. Republicans now control more state legislatures than at any time since 1928.” DiNovella notes that, “Able to raise unlimited funds, the Republican State Leadership Committee is a stalking horse for corporate America. Top contributors to the group include Altria (formerly Philip Morris), Anheuser-Busch, Citigroup, Comcast Cable, Exxon Mobil, Home Depot, Monsanto, PhRMA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Verizon, and WellPoint.” Just thought you oughtta know.
Anyone who has any doubts that ‘felon disenfranchisement’ laws being strengthened by Republicans across the country are racially-motivated, should check out “Who Gets to Vote?,” a revealing NYT op-ed by New York law School professor Erika L. Wood.
Ronald Brownstein discusses “The Two Worlds of Whites” revealed in the Pew Research study last week in his National Journal column. Says Brownstein: “On the day after Barack Obama’s sweeping victory in 2008, veteran Democratic pollster Stanley B. Greenberg described the modern Democratic coalition as diverse America and the whites who are comfortable with diverse America…That appears to be even more true today. The line between whites who are comfortable with the racial and ethnic change transforming America into a “world nation” and those uneasy about it increasingly looks like one of the most important boundaries of the 2012 campaign.”

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