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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At Politico Ben White and Tarini Parti have an interesting post, “Democrats ask: What debt crisis?” which notes the growing confidence with which Democrats like Sen. Tim Kaine and Chris van Hollen are attacking austerity as an economic policy: “…aided by a pile of recent data suggesting the deficit is already shrinking significantly and current spending cuts are slowing the economy, more Democrats such as Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen are coming around to the point of view that fiscal austerity, in all its forms, is more the problem than the solution…This group got a huge boost this month with the very public demolition of a sacred text of the austerity movement, the 2010 paper by a pair of Harvard professors arguing that once debt exceeds 90 percent of a country’s gross domestic product, it crushes economic growth.”
In “Germany Should End Austerity, Not Ireland,” at Bloomberg Megan Green reports from a centrist perspective on the politics and economcs of relaxing austerity in Europe.
But Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog post, “Reinhart and Rogoff aren’t the problem. The Republican Party is” cuts straight to the chase: “The real debate right now is with a Republican Party that won’t permit any more stimulus, won’t permit any more deficit reduction if it includes tax revenues, and won’t even permit the federal government to make it easier for people to refinance their homes. That’s a position that often gets called “austerity,” and so cloaks itself in the work of more serious deficit hawks, but it’s actually something very different, and much less coherent…”
Hope Yen’s post “Black Voter Turnout Passed White Turnout For The First Time In 2012” at Talking Points Memo notes that “Unlike other minority groups, the rise in voting for the slow-growing black population is due to higher turnout. While blacks make up 12 percent of the share of eligible voters, they represented 13 percent of total 2012 votes cast, according to exit polling. That was a repeat of 2008, when blacks “outperformed” their eligible voter share for the first time on record.” Imagine what the turnout might have been if there was no voter suppression.
The online sales tax issue is driving yet another wedge into the GOP, reports Jonathan Weisman at The New York Times.
At Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Geoffrey Skelley takes a look at state-by-state unemployment rates in the context of the 2012 elections and concludes that “Demographics Overtakes Economy as Prime Presidential Election Indicator.”
Also at The Crystal Ball Kyle Kondik’s “Senate Update: Baucus Leaving Could Be Blessing in Plain Sight” has the latest inside skinny on some key upcoming Senate races.
Historical patterns notwithstanding, Dems are in pretty good shape to wage battle for majority control of the House of Reps, according to DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, quoted by Abby Livingston in Roll Call: “”We are ahead-of-schedule on recruitment, ahead-of-expectations on fundraising, and ahead-of-the-curve on defining the Republican Congress,” Israel wrote of his second cycle leading the DCCC…To retake the majority, Democrats need 17 seats, which is the exact number of Republicans currently sitting in seats that President Obama won in 2012.”
Harold Meyerson’s Washington Post column, “It’s not the left that’s changed, it’s the economy” provides several perceptive insights, including “…Gallup released a poll showing that 72 percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, would support a major federally financed infrastructure repair program and a federal program creating 1 million jobs. Nearly 80 years after Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration, it seems the American people would like the government to re-create it.”
As if any amount of “personal charm” would make Republicans negotiate in good faith.

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