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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Lots of buzz about Nate Silver accurately predicting the electoral vote allocation of all nine battleground states, as well as the other 41 states. At the moment he also is on target for the popular vote percentage spread, which may change a little when all of the votes are finally tallied.
Mark Blumenthal has a compelling wrap up explaining how the serious pollsters and poll analysts way outperformed the poll skeptics, including the confident but clueless Peggy Noonan, who wrote on Monday, “While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. …I suspect both Romney and Obama have a sense of what’s coming, and it’s part of why Romney looks so peaceful and Obama so roiled.”
Noam N. Levey has an encouraging L.A. Times post explaining that “Obama’s win means his healthcare law will insure all Americans.” Levy says “Starting in 2014, millions of Americans should be able to get health insurance for the first time. Millions more who don’t get coverage through work should be able to buy a health plan that meets new basic standards. Critical GOP state leaders “must decide in days whether to implement it or have the federal government do it for them.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, on Tuesday Dems gained upcoming control of five state legislatures (CO, MN, NY, OR and ME), while the GOP gained control of three (AK, WI and AR), with NH not yet decided. Republicans will have control (both/all houses) of 23 state legislatures, while Dems will control both houses in 14 states, with 12 split. Reuters reports: “Heading into the election, Republicans filled almost 55 percent of all partisan legislative seats and controlled 59 legislative chambers, while Democrats controlled 36 chambers and three were tied.” Most of the governorships, lieutenant governorships, secretaries of state and half of the nation’s attorneys general are still held by Republicans.
It will be interesting to see what California Democrats can do with a supermajority (two-thirds) in the state senate, while nearing the two-thirds threshold in the state assembly. CA may once again become a model for progressive government, however tempered by formidable economic and immigration problems. As AP’s Don Thompson writes, “If Democrats win two-thirds majorities in both chambers, it would be the first time since 1933 that one party held simultaneous supermajorities.”
An AP/Edison Research exit poll in VA shows half of state voters favoring tax hikes on those earning $250K+ and two-thirds “favored keeping abortion legal in most or all cases.”
At PBS NewsHour, Judy Woodruff has a revealing interview about the presidential campaign strategy and tactics with WaPo’s Phillip Rucker, WSJ’s Carol Lee and Slate.com’s Sasha Issenberg, author of the much-buzzed “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns.”
At the National Journal, Beth Reinhard’s post-mortem credits President Obama with doing an excellent job of making the election more about Romney’s character than Obama’s track record. “President Obama won his first term by being the right guy at the right time. He won his second term making Mitt Romney the wrong guy…Obama turned what could have been a stinging referendum on his economic stewardship into a pass-fail test on Romney’s character.” It was a potent meme, but Romney (and most of the pundits also underestimated the nation’s demographic transition since ’08.
Kyle Scott opines at the Houston Chronicle that “Obama won by saying yes to more Americans.” Says Scott: “President Barack Obama’s victory was secured by a politics of yes. Telling voters yes is essential to victory since most voters do not like to be told no. The key to political victory is figuring out how to tell the most people yes and the fewest people no. The president secured a second term by successfully employing this strategy.” It’s an appealing notion, but it doesn’t help to explain the collective outcome of the House races — unless Dems just didn’t have enough strong “yes” candidates.
The “Ya Think?” award for headline writing should probably go to the Washington Post for “Long voting lines suggest a need for reform.” It’s a good editorial, though.

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