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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

A new CNN/ORC poll conducted 12/16-19 finds that “Negative attitudes extend to both sides of the aisle: 52% believe that the policies of the Democratic leaders in Congress would move the country in the wrong direction; 54% say the same about the policies of congressional Republicans…”
At The Atlantic, Molly Ball addresses “The Battle Within the Democratic Party: A schism between moderates and liberals over economic inequality is the first front in defining a post-Obama platform.” Ball notes that “Stan Greenberg, a longtime Democratic pollster who advised de Blasio’s campaign, insists that most Democrats, including Obama, are on the same page as Warren. In both presidential elections, he noted, “Obama ran on a future for the middle class of restoring prosperity, raising taxes on the wealthy, and an investment agenda. That’s the mainstream of the Democratic Party; it’s the mainstream of the country.”
I’ve always been interested in those comparison charts showing how the U.S. is doing in providing social benefits in comparison to other developed countries, although I’m not sure how effective such comparisons are in selling policy and candidates. If they are, however, Michael Tomasky’s Daily Beast post “America Joins the Developed World, Thanks to Obamacare” is a good one to share.
Sen. Rand Paul’s argument that “When you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you’re causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy” elicited this response from Wonkblog’s Ezra Klein: “This is a correlation/causation error of staggering size — and, because it’s coming from a sitting U.S. senator whose vote will help decide whether millions of unemployed families lose the paltry checks that are helping them buy food and shelter and fuel, of staggering consequence.”
Sen. Paul’s callous comments notwithstanding, Dems should make sure that the entire GOP owns it, and this video clip is a good start.
The Plum Line’s George Zornick explains what’s good about the video: “It’s a tough spot, and it relies on language that was popular through the 2012 election that paints the GOP as dedicated protectors of the powerful and wealthy at the expense of struggling Americans…What is particularly useful about this approach is that there’s no pressure coming from the other side — unlike, say, the debate over “Obamacare,” there are no well-funded conservative groups out there pressing for an end to the emergency unemployment program. Based on the polls showing bipartisan support for an extension, the conservative grass roots don’t appear to be fired up about the issue. The passion and activism over jobless benefits is essentially just running in one direction, which is a promising sign.”
Robert Kuttner has a part II HuffPo post, “More About a new Freedom Summer,” fleshing out his idea for a nationwide campaign to provide photo i.d.’s to voters in states where new suppression laws jeopardize their voting rights, backed up by an energetic voter registration mobilization. Kuttner adds, “…the same Roberts Court that overturned key sections of the Voting Rights Act also invalidated limits on political contributions. Donors friendly to Democrats could pour unlimited sums into non-partisan voter registration campaigns, whose net effect would be to help elect Democrats.”
At the Campaign for America’s Future website, Lori Wallach has an informative post, “Get Ready for the 2014 Trade Tsunami” on the fair trade battle that lies ahead. Wallach notes, “The fiery international debates over NAFTA and WTO gave birth to a new fair trade movement in our country. The devastating outcomes triggered by the trade pacts unified ordinary Americans against them. Polls show a majority of Americans – Republicans, Democrats and independents -think these sorts of pacts are bad not only for themselves and their families but for the nation.”
There is a downside to Gov. Christie’s blustering persona, which is apparently also reflected in some of his actions, as Kate Zernike reports in her New York Times article “Stories Add Up as Bully Image Trails Christie.”

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