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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Democratic hopes for winning back control of the House of Reps are nearly shot, owing in large part to diminished prospects in CA, where Dems had hopes to pick up as many as 8 House seats, but now 1 or 2 seems more realistic as a result of the new independent redistricting system and/or Democrats’ failure to front strong enough candidates, reports Dan Walters in the Modesto Bee.
Aaron Blake and Rachel Weiner suggest a similar outcome in their post at The Fix, “The Terminal Ten: The most vulnerable House seats in the country,” Six of the ten are currently held by Democrats.
At The American Prospect, Jamelle Bouie takes a look at the big picture surrounding all of the fuss about presidential campaign war chests and spending and sees only a “marginal” benefit in the presidential race, but adds “If you want to know where money will have its greatest effect, look to congressional elections. A few million dollars in a few states can–and likely will–mean the difference between the status quo, or an ability to direct the nation’s agenda..”
Caroline Winter has a long — and revealing — Bloomberg Businessweek piece on “How the Mormons Make Money,” which sheds some light the church’s vast holdings and Romney’s business ethics and values.
Drew Westen,author of “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation,” presents a strong case for enacting the Fair Elections Bill in his NYT Op-Ed, “How to Get Our Citizens Actually United,” and he suggests a messaging strategy: “Voters aren’t interested in “process” issues. They want to know about outcomes. Voters from right to left will tell you, for example, that they overwhelming reject the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision to allow unlimited, anonymous money to flood our political system. But getting them worked up about election laws isn’t easy. You have to connect the dots to something that matters to them — like the fact that once-middle-class workers have seen their incomes drop by nearly 8 percent in three years and their wealth disappear by a staggering 40 percent. And you have to make sure they believe that the problem is not, as the right would have it, the extravagant pensions of teachers like my 82-year-old mother (who taught for over 30 years before retiring from the Atlanta city schools), but the actions of bankers and C.E.O.’s who’ve engineered a system that is decimating the middle class.”
If this new Gallup poll is right, Dems have some work to do in convincing voters who have health insurance that their health security won’t be damaged by the Affordable Care Act.
Paul Begala crunches some numbers about ‘swing voters’ at The Daily Beast,’ and concludes: “…The whole shootin’ match comes down to around 4 percent of the voters in six states….Four percent of the presidential vote in Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado is 916,643 people. That’s it…Who are these people, these few, these proud? Well, pollsters tell us swing voters are mostly women. They are younger–which blows away the myth that the president has the youth vote locked up. Older voters, like older consumers, are just more set in their ways. Young people are more persuadable about nearly everything. Many swing voters have a high-school diploma but no college degree. And a chunk of them are Hispanic.”
A new poll by The Hill indicates that President Obama’s tax proposal has the support of a plurality of voters. As Sheldon Alberts reports at The Hill, “The Hill’s poll found likely voters support Obama’s $250,000-a-year threshold, although by a relatively narrow margin…Forty-seven percent said existing tax rates should be extended only for families earning less than $250,000, while 41 percent believe they should be extended for everyone.” Maybe increasing the cut-off to $400k would win him more support.
I don’t know why we never see or hear about political ads that focus on the difference between political parties, instead of individuals. In their recent book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism,” Ornstein and Mann have a paragraph that should make it an easy sell to sentient swing voters: “One of the two major parties, the Republican Party, 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. When one party moves this far from the center of American politics, it is extremely difficult to enact policies responsive to the country’s most pressing challenges.”
Nate Silver does the math at his FiveThirtyEight NYT blog and concludes of new voter i.d. laws, “I do think these laws will have some detrimental effect on Democratic turnout.” But he adds, “Pennsylvania, for instance, went from having no voter ID laws to a strict photo ID requirement. Based on the academic studies, I estimate that this will reduce turnout by about 2.4 percent as a share of registered voters. And based on my formula to convert changes in turnout to changes in the popular vote, I estimate that this would reduce President Obama’s margin against Mitt Romney by a net of 1.2 percentage points.”

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