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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

It’s too late to do much about it until next year, but at Washington Monthly’s ‘Political Animal’ blog TDS managing editor Ed Kilgore makes an important, if overlooked point about the renewed talk about filibuster reform: “…Our friends in the MSM continue to struggle to call a filibuster a filibuster, and instead persist in talking about bills being “voted down” in the Senate because they don’t receive 60 votes. If it takes live demagoguery on the Senate floor to make it obvious what’s going on, maybe it’s worth the effort.” Kilgore adds, “But in any event, progressives should not shut up about filibuster reform until something significant is actually done about it.”
This Economist ‘Lexington Blog’ post on “The politics of purity” argues that the GOP’s current deliberations about their primary system will do more to determine their political future than all of their agonizing ideological reappraisals.
Some good talking points for gun control advocates in this report by Yamiche Alcindor of USA TODAY on a new study by Boston Children’s Hospital, based on data from all 50 states between 2007-10: “States with the most laws had a mortality rate 42% lower than those states with the fewest laws, they found. The strong law states’ firearm-related homicide rate was also 40% lower and their firearm-related suicide rate was 37% lower…The study also found that laws requiring universal background checks and permits to purchase firearms were most clearly associated with decreasing rates of gun-related homicides and suicides.”
Timothy Noah’s “If Democrats Want to Solve the Sequester, They Should Move Left” at TNR argues, that, while centrist policies are good for winning elections, “If Democrats shift leftward, their governing prospects will improve because Republicans will shift leftward, too. Then compromise with Republicans will produce acceptably centrist results.”
In his Otherwords.org op-ed, “A global spotlight on voter suppression,” Ron Carver, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow and former Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee field organizer, raises an issue that Justices Roberts and Kennedy ought to think about in their deliberations on the fate of the Voting Rights Act. Carver quotes from a letter signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa and human rights luminaries from 22 countries: “America’s leadership in voting rights has been a beacon of hope for millions around the world who have made their own sacrifices for freedom and democracy…Beyond your borders, the global march toward justice will suffer grievous harm should you surrender to those who seek to disenfranchise American citizens.” Gutting the law could do serious damage to U.S. credibility as an advocate of democracy.
At the Columbia Journalism Review Brendan Nyan continues his discussion on “The third party fever dream, revisited” regarding prospects for the emergence of a viable third major political party amid growing public grumbling about both parties.
Daniel Marans, an executive producer for Take Action News has “An Open Letter to MSNBC: Disclose Ed Rendell’s Conflicts of Interest” up at HuffPo. Marans takes MSNBC to task because Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, “as co-chair of the Fix the Debt campaign…frequently uses his platform as an MSNBC analyst to call for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.” Rendell is a frequent commentator on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ program, which has a lopsided pro-austerity bias.
Those who have been searching for a sensible progressive analysis of how to insure Social Security solvency without inflicting unfair burden on working people should start with Thomas B. Edsall’s New York Times ‘Opinionator’ post “The War On Entitlements,” which includes a persuasive case for lifting the payroll tax cap.
You already knew that the wealthy have different economic policy priorities than average working people. But this data-rich Demos report, “Stacked Deck: How the Dominance of Politics by the Affluent & Business Undermine Economic Mobility in America” documents the process with exceptional clarity.
Taegan Goddard takes a stab at a daunting task, selecting the “10 dumbest things Republicans said last month,” the most bizarre of which may be Alan Keyes assessment of the rationale behind the president’s gun control proposal: “They are going to cull the herd, so that instead of having billions, we’ll only have hundreds of millions of human beings on the face of the planet.”

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