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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Michael McLaughlin has a HuffPo update on the price of felon disenfranchisement laws across the U.S. Would you believe 5.85 million voters disenfranchised —600K more than in 2004? More than 4 million of them are no longer in prison. “A majority of felons and ex-cons blocked from voting reside in a core of six Southern states — Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia — where more than 3 million people are banned from the rolls….7 percent of blacks are disenfranchised compared to 1.8 percent of the rest of the country…In Virginia, 20 percent of blacks can’t vote. In Florida, that number is 23 percent…”
If that wasn’t disturbing enough, see Steven Rosenfeld’s Alternet post, “Not Again! How Our Voting System Is Ripe For Theft and Meltdown in 2012.”
I side with those who believe that Dems need to exercise a little more party discipline, not so much with occasional renegade/mavericks, but with chronic DINOs and the worst offenders, like the five Dems who voted to repeal Obamacare and who also joined 17 other Dems in voting to hold Attorney-General Holder in contempt of Congress. Perhaps a point system that adversely affects their committee assignments.
Speaking of DINOs, sad that the once-promising and now retiring Sen. James Webb joins Joe Lieberman in opposing the President’s tax plan and taking a stand in favor of the 2 percent who earn more than $250K.
At his FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver deploys a regression analysis to determine “Why Obama May Be Stronger Than His Approval Ratings,” but also notes that “the small set of voters who take a favorable view of Mr. Obama but do not approve of his job performance are very much worth fighting over for the campaigns.”
I suppose bipartisan congratulations are in order for Republican Senator Susan Collins on casting 5,000 consecutive votes, although a great many of them in recent years were in groveling service to the fattest of cats at the expense of working people. Collins’ achievement reminds me of the scene in “About Schmidt,” in which the proud mom played by Kathy Bates shows Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) her grown son’s framed certificate for good attendance in an electronics course.
In The Economist, “What’s Eating Appalachia?” probes the underlying reasons for Democrats’ failure to get traction in the region.
I like Timothy Egan’s ‘tribal analysis’ of constituencies favoring Obama and Romney in the NYT ‘Opinionator.’ I think he also hit on a particularly useful insight for ad-makers: “The two images — rich guy on a Jet Ski, skinny kid with Grandma at the Howard Johnson’s pool — tell you why Obama continues to hold a narrow lead in most of the swing states, despite the terrible economy. People don’t mind rich politicians; 75 percent of voters in a Gallup poll this week said Romney’s wealth would not be a factor…But a significant number are bothered by people who fetishize their wealth or use tricks (like offshore tax havens) to avoid the burdens of normal citizens. In that Gallup poll, one in five independents, a crucial block, said Romney’s wealth made them less likely to vote for him…The pictures of Romney and his fellow suits at Bain Capital ravenously stuffing bills in their mouths and pockets is repulsive for the same reason that almost two-thirds of Americans have an unfavorable view of the Romney surrogate Donald Trump…This is the tribe that Obama has to connect with if he expects to win a second term. They fill their beer coolers with motel ice, because it saves a couple of bucks, and are looking for a president who has their back.”
Class warfare seems to be raging all across the Times op-ed page, where, Krugman takes on the 0.01 percent and their tax-avoidance heritage and even David Brooks gives the aristocracy a proper thrashing in his column, “Why Our Elites Stink.”

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