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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Run, Wendy, Run, say national Dems. Win or lose, she could energize the Texas Democratic Party. Even apart from her much-celebrated filibuster against an anti-abortion bill, Sen. Davis has a really good story, as Trip Gabriel reports in the New York Times: “Raised by a mother with a sixth-grade education after her father left, she became a single mother herself, living in a mobile home. She worked her way through community college, won a scholarship to Texas Christian University and eventually graduated from Harvard Law School…She served nine years on the Fort Worth City Council before defeating a Republican incumbent for the State Senate in 2008…Ms. Davis’s number crunchers are telling her, in essence, that if she can win her Senate district — much of Fort Worth and its suburbs — she can win statewide. It is the only district out of 31 in the state that is a true battleground, not drawn to protect one of the parties…In winning re-election in November, Ms. Davis outpolled Mr. Obama in her district by 15,000 votes. She appealed to ticket-splitters, who preferred Mitt Romney on the presidential ballot by 8 points. Many were white suburban women, independents who were not driven by wedge social issues like abortion, Ms. Davis’s advisers determined.”
For what ought to be the last word on the absence of Republicans at the 50th anniversary commemoration of Dr. King’s dream, check out James Wimberly’s link-rich post, “How Today’s GOP Celebrated MLK’s Speech” at the Washington Monthly.
Jonathan Weisman has a New York Times update on the candidacy of Michelle Nunn for the U.S. Senate seat now held by the retiring Saxby Chambliss, which many believe could be the Democrats’ best hope for a pick up. The relatively young Nunn has already done more good for her potential constituents than all of her rivals in the GOP clown car put together. As Weisman writes, “She co-founded Hands on Atlanta, a volunteer organization, and led the Points of Light Foundation, the volunteer group started by former President George H. W. Bush. Organizing is in her blood, she says. Her first effort after declaring her candidacy was to mobilize thousands of volunteers — even before she develops a policy platform beyond a promise of bipartisan cooperation and fiscal rectitude.”
In the Virginia Governor’s race, it’s all about turning out the base, as Ben Pershing and Fredrick Kunkle report in the Washington post. Here’s why: “Only Virginia and New Jersey elect their governors the year after presidential contests, and turnout typically seesaws as a result. In Virginia, the proportion of registered voters who voted careened from 75 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2009 — a record low for a gubernatorial contest — back to 72 percent last year…”You have to do much more work to figure out who to target in a 45 percent turnout election” than in a presidential year, said Jeremy Bird, Obama’s 2012 national field director.”
Alabama Dems have a plausible strategy for ending Republican domination in the state legislature, according to Tim Lockette’s Anniston Star report, “Rural east Alabama race key to Democrats’ 2014 strategy; Wounded party hoping to blunt GOP supermajority“: “The district [S-13], now represented by Sen. Gerald Dial, is one of five Senate seats targeted by a prominent Democratic group in its strategy to bring Alabama Democrats back from near oblivion. And it’s the only Senate district where a Democrat – Heflin resident and union representative Darrell Turner – has so far emerged to challenge a sitting Republican…”This is doable,” said Mark Kennedy, leader of the group Alabama Democratic Majority. “It’s not a mountain too steep to climb.” No ActBlue link yet.
How public opinion shakes out on U.S. military intervention in Syria: “According to the Pew Research Centre, 56% of Republicans support military action compared with 46% of Democrats; 24% of Republicans and 34% of Democrats are opposed…While these are not majorities in opposition to intervention, they are sizable portions of the American public.” Ben Adler explores the conflict over intervention among progressives in his post, “Why liberal America is in two minds over military action” at The Guardian.
In his Labor Day column, E. J. Dionne, Jr. notes that a new grand strategy may be emerging for organized labor, with an intensified effort to increase the minimum wage in the fast foods industry to complement a more fair distribution of taxes. “There’s a new idea that brings these approaches together: “Pre-distribution.” The term was coined by Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker as an alternative to “redistribution” that involves “government taxes and transfers that take from some and give to others.” …Redistribution is necessary, but Hacker thinks that a more promising long-term solution is to begin changing “the way in which the market distributes its rewards in the first place.” We need a fairer distribution “even before government collects taxes or pays out benefits.”
Also recommended, for an even broader vision for organized labor and progressives, “Back to Basics on the Question of Labor” by Wake Forest proff David Coates at HuffPo.
This New York Times editorial rolls out a pretty good Labor Day agenda for Dems: “…What’s missing are policies to ensure that a large and growing share of rising labor productivity flows to workers in the form of wages and salaries, rather than to executives and shareholders. Start with an adequate minimum wage. Provide increased protections for workers to unionize, in order to strengthen their bargaining power. Provide protections for undocumented workers that would limit exploitation. Add to the mix regulations to prevent financial bubbles, thereby protecting jobs and wages from ruinous busts. Adopt expansionary fiscal and monetary policies in troubled times to sustain jobs and wages.”
But The Wall St. Journal wins the award for the most ridiculous headline of the month (August) with this slam dunk: “A Wish for Labor Day: Visionary Union Leaders: Unions have won key battles, but they are losing the war by insisting on inflated wages.”

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