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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Although “Republicans hope public anger over the Benghazi attacks and their aftermath will besmirch congressional Democrats in next year’s midterm elections,” reports AP’s Charles Babbington, “a major independent inquiry largely absolved [former Secretary of State]Clinton of wrongdoing.” Further, ”The unsubstantiated Republican allegations about Benghazi disintegrated one by one,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the House committee’s top Democrat. ”There’s no evidence of a conspiracy to withhold military assets for political reasons, no evidence of a cover-up.”
Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas argue in “The good reasons for the IRS’s dumb mistake” at Wonkblog that it the IRS should target political groups like the tea party to insure that they are not abusing their 501(c)4 status with political activity. “The IRS is supposed to reject groups that are primarily political from registering as 501(c)4s. If they’re going to do that, then they need some kind of test that helps them flag problematic applicants. And that test will have to be a bit impressionistic.” What would be wrong, say Klein and Soltas, is if progressive groups were not also scrutinized.
The Newark Star-Ledger editorial, “Christie’s early voting veto will hurt turnout” pretty much shreds NJ Governor Chris Christie’s bogus image as a leader committed to bipartisanship.
At The Fix Chris Cillizza asks “Can Democrats rebuild Obama’s winning coalition?” and answers, “Black voters, the census study makes clear, were the story of the 2012 election. For the first time since the bureau started measuring voter participation in 1996, the African American turnout rate (66 percent of eligible voters) surpassed that of whites (64 percent)… The bigger problem for the party in attempting to rebuild the Obama coalition is the youth vote. The census study of the 2012 electorate found that just 41 percent of eligible voters ages 18 to 24 actually voted, well below the overall turnout rate of 62 percent of eligible voters. The youth voting rate was a significant dip from the 49 percent of voters ages 18 to 24 who turned out in 2008….Voters ages 18 to 29 made up just 15 percent of the 2012 electorate — lower than exit poll data have shown for the past few elections. That decline should be of significant concern to Democratic strategists, particularly without Obama on the ballot in future elections.”
That the Obama Administration is leveraging private and nonprofit sector support for publicizing and implementing the Affordable care Act is commendable; That it should have to as a result of GOP obstruction of funding is a sad commentary on the Republican party’s willingness to endanger the health of millions of Americans for political advantage.
At Daily Kos, Joan McCarter reports that “Maine became the 13th state in the nation to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission..Maine joins West Virginia, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for that Constitutional amendment…Outside of the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court, Republicans hate corporate spending in campaigns [pdf] almost as much as Democrats (71 percent versus 73 percent, respectively) and want to see reform. A Constitutional amendment is not an easy thing to achieve, but the time is right for this one.”
Michael Wear’s post at The Atlantic “How the GOP Can Win Back the Values Debate–and How Dems Could Lose It” should probably be put in the “not likely, but worth a quick read” category. His point that Dems should tone down the “strident moralizing” and embrace a little more civility in dialogue is not a bad one, although the Republicans are worse offenders by far.
In the Washington Post editorial “The GOP’s Politics of Dysfunction,” the editorial board calls out the Republicans for their “absurdly flimsy pretexts” in blocking cabinet appointments needed to enable proper functioning of government: “Americans elected Barack Obama president, and reelected him. He’s entitled to his Cabinet. It’s possible that Republicans will muster the 41 votes needed in the Senate to block both nominations — despite their strong qualifications and high ethical standards. If they do, Americans will be under no illusions that the GOP has led Washington to new lows of dysfunction.”
Joseph E. Stiglitz’s “Student Debt and the Crushing of the American Dream” at the New York Times Opinionator spotlights an issue of increasing concern to middle class voters, and one which Dems would be wise to address with more assertive leadership.
Bout time.

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