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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At last some action to at least weaken Mitch McConnell’s abusive veto power. In his NYT article, “Democrats Plan Challenge to G.O.P.’s Filibuster Use,” Jeremy T. Peters reports that “The rule change they would seek is intended to be limited. It would allow senators to continue to filibuster legislation and judges, but not appointments to federal agencies or cabinet posts.”
And McConnell’s re-election is by no means a sure thing, as Micah Cohen explains at FiveThirtyEight.com.
At The Fix Chris Cillizza explains why Dems are in serious need of young congressional candidates: “In 2011, the average age for a Democrat in the House/Senate was 60.8 years old while the average Republican was 56 years old.Compare that to ten years ago — the 107th Congress — when the average age was 55.7 for Democrats and 54.7 percent for Republicans.”
While Cillizza’s article sheds no light on which states are doing better or worse at recruiting younger congressional candidates, there are indications that some Democratic parties are in crisis. In Georgia, where Obama got 46.9 percent in 2012, for example, Jim Galloway reports in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the state Democratic party had only $15K banked at the end of May, which “won’t quite buy you a new Hyundai Elantra.”
Also writing in the new York Times, Cornell University economics professor Robert H. Frank reports on the success the Germany has had with their no-nonsense commitment to infrastructure investment and the folly in postponing needed infrastructure repairs in the U.S.: “The Germans are investing in infrastructure not to provide short-term economic stimulus, but because those investments promise high returns. Yet their undeniable side effect has been to bolster employment substantially in the short run…The Germans didn’t become bogged down in debate over stimulus policy, and they didn’t explicitly portray their infrastructure push as stimulus. But that didn’t hamper their strategy’s remarkable effectiveness at putting people to work. The unemployment rate in Germany, at 5.3 percent and falling, is now substantially lower than in the United States, where it ticked up to 7.6 percent last month. (By contrast, in March 2007, before the financial crisis, the rate in Germany was 9.2 percent, about five percentage points higher than in the United States.).”
The GOP’s filibuster dictatorship in the Senate notwithstanding, Greg Sargent says it well at the Plum Line: “The problem isn’t generic “Washington gridlock.” It’s the House GOP.”
The Crystal Ball’s Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley see a GOP net gain in the Senate in 2014, but a takeover is a little more problematic. At this juncture they see Dems with 48 safe seats, vs. 47 for the GOP, with 5 toss-ups. If Brian Schweitzer runs in MT and Michelle Nunn runs in GA, the picture brightens considerably for Dems.
Texas Governor Rick Perry’s decision not to run for re-election in 2014 has kick-started buzz excitement for Democratic rising star Sen. Wendy Davis as a possible replacement. But Davis faces the possibility of stiff competition from San Antonio’s Democratic Mayor Julian Castro. Either way, The extremely well-financed Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott seems to have the GOP field all to himself, which gives any Democratic candidate a hard way to go, reports Sean Sullivan at The Fix.
TNR’s Nate Cohn explains why “Winning More White Voters Won’t Save the GOP.” Says Cohn: “Reversing the anti-GOP trend among non-southern white voters will probably require changes in messaging or policy, probably by moderating on both economic and cultural issues. The Electoral College encourages the GOP to make gains across a diverse swath of swing states, and they need to push back against the equally diverse Democratic attacks that have hobbled the GOP: the attacks on cultural issues that hurt Republicans around Denver, Washington, and Columbus; the depiction of the GOP as the party of the elite, which has hurt the GOP just about everywhere; and yes, the challenges immigration reform poses in Las Vegas, Denver, Orlando-Kissimmee, and Miami.”
Michael Tomasky flags a clever new Koch brothers television ad designed to whip up opposition to Obamacare. At the Daily Beast Tomasky argues that Dems need to get equally-creative to confront the GOP’s latest assaault on the Affordable Care Act. “The pro-reform side isn’t going to get very far with statistics. They need their own army of sympathetic mothers.” He cites the impassioned pro-ACA presentation of Stacy Lihn, mother of a toddler with congenital heart disease at the Democratic convention last year as an excellent template.

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