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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Alan I. Abramowitz writes on “Why Barack Obama Has a Good Chance of Winning a Second Term, And why Nate Silver may have underestimated his chances” in Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball. As Abramowitz says, “According to the Time-for-Change forecasting model, which has correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote in every presidential election since 1988, Barack Obama has a good chance of winning a second term in the White House next November. The main reason for this is that the Democratic Party has only held the White House since 2008. That makes Obama a first-term incumbent, and first-term incumbents rarely lose…Could Barack Obama be the next Jimmy Carter? There is clearly a chance that he could, if the condition of the U.S. economy deteriorates in 2012 and/or the president’s approval rating slips further into negative territory. But because of the first-term incumbent advantage, the model gives Obama a good chance of winning a second term even with fairly modest economic growth next year and an approval rating in the low- to mid-forties…”
Also at the Crystal Ball, Glen Bolger’s “Obama’s Destiny: Does It Lie in Demographics, or in the Political Environment?” gives Obama the edge in demographics, but the shaky economy makes it too close to call.
Nation of Change has has an update on Bank Transfer Day, noting “The day was a huge success with over 250 events in every corner of the country and over 10,000 people attending, and that’s counting only the events tracked by MoveOn.org and Rebuild The Dream…Move Your Money made local news all over the country – in Madison, Oakland, Detroit, Atlanta, Baltimore, Seattle, Albuquerque, St. Louis, and dozens of other cities…Let’s make every day Bank Transfer – continue to spread the pledge to your neighbors and communities. Demand that banks be held accountable.”
In his Washington Post column, “The right-wing’s shellacking,” E. J. Dionne Jr. has an insightful observation about the one downer in the Ohio vote: “One of the only referendum results the GOP could cheer was a strong vote in Ohio against the health-insurance mandate. While health-reform supporters argued that the ballot question was misleading, the result spoke to the truly terrible job Democrats have done in defending what they enacted. They can’t let the health-care law remain a policy stepchild.”
For the centrist take on Tuesday’s elections, check out Mark Trumbull’s Monitor post, “Election results 2011: Voters signal that GOP overreached.” Also Joe Klein’s Swampland post “Election 2011: A Victory for the Silent Majority.”
Seniors may be a fairly quiet high-turnout demographic. But that doesn’t mean they are not pissed off. Jennifer C. Kerr reports for the AP that “The Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll found a baby boom generation planning to work into retirement years — with 73 percent planning to work past retirement, up from 67 percent this spring…In all, 53 percent of boomers polled said they do not feel confident they’ll be able to afford a comfortable retirement. That’s up from 44 percent who were concerned about retirement finances in March.”
A blue tide is rising in the once-red ‘burbs of Philly. The Inquirer’s Anthony R. Wood and Josh Fernandez have the skinny here.
Guess who is taking Michigan for granted. Lisa Lerer and David J. Lynch report at Bloomberg.com on “Romney Defends Auto Bailout Opposition in His Native State.” Their article quotes David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor: “”Without the intervention of the Bush and Obama administrations, we would have seen the liquidation of both Chrysler and probably GM,” Cole said in August. “That would have taken the whole industry down. We would have seen a disaster in terms of the job impact.” Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder agrees: “It wasn’t just one or two companies at risk, but the entire national supply chain,” Snyder told the Detroit News. “Losing that would have had a devastating impact on the economy.” But Romney just doubled down in last night’s debate: “My view with regards to the bailout was that, whether it was by President Bush or by President Obama, it was the wrong way to go…”
Romney nonetheless got a free ride from his competitors last night, according to Paul Begala’s zinger-rich review of the proceedings at The Daily Beast. Begala observes: “I am astonished that no one laid a glove on Mitt Romney. They didn’t even take a swing. (And yet his hair was oddly tousled. How much you wanna bet he focus-grouped the new ‘do?).” As for Perry, Begala eulogizes “It was as dramatic and cringe-worthy a self-immolation as I’ve ever seen. I was in the room, 10 feet from Howard Dean when he screamed in Iowa. I was in the hall in Richmond when George H.W. Bush looked at his watch in the middle of a debate. But I have never seen a more devastating moment of self-destruction. What’s next, Perry endorsing Cain’s 9-9… ummm, what’s the third number?”
Perhaps this video clip of tea party Congressman Joe Walsh’s meltdown could be a useful resource for Psych 101 classes studying the “type A” and “authoritarian personality.”
Where are the Democratic women candidates? Democratic gains notwithstanding, there wasn’t much in Tuesday’s elections to cheer about in terms of women’s empowerment, as the Center for the American Woman in Politics reports: “Women failed to gain ground in the 2011 state legislative elections…With legislative contests in four states, even if every outstanding race is decided in favor of a woman, the national total will drop from the current number of 1740,” observed CAWP director Debbie Walsh…”The national total of women elected statewide will increase by just one — to 72 — as a result of elections in three states. It’s discouraging that we’re nowhere near the peak statewide number of 92 women, achieved in 2000.”

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