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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Romney’s gloatfest about his big Florida win has been gished by his latest gaffe. But the most interesting statistic of the election — the 14 percent decline in GOP primary turnout from ’08 — does not bode well for Republicans in the general election. Granted, there was a big property tax initiative on the ballot in ’08. But Janet Hook’s Wall St. Journal report, “Florida Turnout Falls Short of Hopes” notes that leading voter turnout experts believed it to be lower than expected nonetheless, all the more disappointing to the GOP because Florida is hosting the Republican national convention this summer.
Gov. Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s shameless corporate toady, signs the ‘right-to-work’ bill into law — the first rust belt state to do so. The great Hoosier, Eugene V. Debs, turns in his grave as workers begin protests.
But it looks like a ‘Stop the Insanity’ movement may be afoot among some other GOP governors, according to Michael Cooper’s New York Times article “Second Year In, Republican Governors Moderate Tone.” Well, maybe just a ‘Reduce the Cluelessness’ trend.
Jamie Stiehm’s “What’s a Republican Feminist To Do?” at the NYT ‘Campaign Stops’ blog explains the dilemma facing Republican women who don’t think women who have abortions should be criminalized. Stiehm doesn’t directly address whether some pro-choice Republican women will vote Democratic, but it’s clearly a possibility for those who strongly believe that women ought to have dominion over their own bodies. Her post also illuminates Romney’s flip-flops on the issue, in stark contrast to both of his parents. Stiehm’s best quote comes from Ted Kennedy in his victory over Romney in the ’94 Senate race: “I am pro-choice. My opponent is multiple choice.”
Richard Cohen’s WaPo column “Republicans Have Only Themselves to Blame” provides a condensed catalog of GOP folly from the primary trail, along with some sharp zingers, among them “Yahoos stride the stage” and “The GOP is brain-dead.” As for the cause, Cohen explains: “The Republican establishment acts as if this season’s goon squad of presidential candidates has come out of nowhere, an act of God — a tsunami that hit the party and receded, leaving nothing but nitwits standing…For too long it has been mute in the face of a belligerent anti-intellectualism, pretending that knowledge and experience do not matter and that Washington is a condition and not a mere city.”
This should be Thursdays’ most unappealing event.
TDS’s James Vega did a worthy takedown of the recent WaPo article in the Fix, “Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever.” Now Jim Manley, a longtime aide to Democratic Sens. Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid has a rebuttal, also in the Fix, featuring quotes placing the blame for polarization where it more plausibly belongs, including this gem by Thomas Mann, of the Brookings Institution, and Norman Ornstein, of the American Enterprise Institute: “One of our two major parties, the Republicans, has become an insurgent outlier–ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science, and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
Josh Dzieza has a rogues’ gallery, “Who Gave $1 Million or More to Super PACs? A Daily Beast Roundup“.
Mindful that “after all, presidents are elected in 51 individual battles,” Geoffrey Skelley reviews the latest unemployment rates of the 50 states at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, and discusses the possible implications. For example, “Nevada is a toss up state that…However, the terrible state of the Silver State’s economy — it has the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 12.6% — might be a drag on Obama…Then there are toss ups such as Virginia (6.2%) and Iowa (5.6%), which have jobless rates considerably lower than the national average. That could make these states more likely to support the status quo and vote for the incumbent. For the same reason, recent good news regarding the economies of many Rust Belt states could improve Obama’s reelection chances…Obama barely won North Carolina in 2008, and the state’s 9.9% unemployment rate helps explain why we believe, at the moment, the Republicans are slightly favored to take back the Tar Heel State in November. Conversely, New Mexico, a state with a large Hispanic population that has been trending more Democratic, has a fairly low unemployment rate, making it more likely to remain in the president’s column.”
At FiveThirtyEight.com John Sides sorts out the available data to address the question, “Did Romney’s Ad Advantage Help in Florida?” Lots of significant caveats here, but Sides concludes that “I would say there is suggestive evidence that Mr. Romney’s advantages in advertising helped him win in Florida – but it qualifies as circumstantial.”
Nate Berg reports at the Atlantic that “Increasing Density and Diversity Likely to Make Western States More Blue.” Berg notes that “much of this shift to the blue side of the spectrum is due to the heavy concentration of new growth in the urban areas of these six states and, not unrelated, their increasing minority populations…The Las Vegas metro area, for example, is now home to three out of four Nevadans. The state’s minority population also increased by about 11 percent between censuses, bringing the non-white population to nearly 45 percent. Two-thirds of Arizonans live in the Phoenix metro area. Arizona’s minority population also increased from 36.2 percent in 2000 to 42.2 percent in 2010. The Albuquerque metro area now houses about 44 percent of New Mexicans. Nearly 40 percent of all Idahoans live in the Boise metro area.”
Don’t miss this moving photo tribute to Obama’s leadership

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