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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Dan Balz’s “What voter turnout means for efforts to remedy income inequality” reviews “Who Votes Now? Demographics, Issues, Inequality, and Turnout in the United States.” by Jan E. Leighley and Jonathan Nagler, and notes “The authors found that there have been some important demographic changes in voting patterns within the overall electorate. Women are now more likely to vote than men. And the gap between black and white participation has narrowed significantly. In the most recent election, blacks voted at higher rates than whites in some states…But in other ways, the overall shape of the electorate has been stable since 1972. During a time of rising income inequality, wealthier and better-educated people continue to vote “at substantially higher rates” than poorer, less-educated people. That gap existed 40 years ago and still does.”
Hotline on Call’s Scott Bland discusses 30 possible swing races in “The Hotline’s House Race Rankings: The House Seats Most Likely to Flip.”
Francine Kiefer’s Monitor post “Democrats to push income inequality as top issue of 2014. Winning tactic?” offers this insight from congressional historian Julian Zelizer at Princeton University: “A lot of Democrats feel the last two years have been consumed with health care … and the deficit,” he explains. “Until you shift the debate, you’re not going to be able to get in a position where you can push for legislation like the [higher] minimum wage. And this is the right time because the Republicans are in a moment of division” over whether to obstruct or to compromise.
A.P.’s Thomas Beaumont has excavated an interesting insight for Democratic strategy in winning back some governorships now held by the GOP: “Democratic strategist Tad Devine said his party needs to look beyond its shrinking union base for new blood…”We need new, younger high-tech Democrats who have not come up through the typical political farm system, are conversant in the new economy and can talk to blue-collar voters,” he said. An example is Mary Burke, a former executive for Trek Bicycles, who is the only announced Democratic challenger to Walker in Wisconsin.”
From “Economic inequality, unemployment top Democrats’ agenda as Congress returns” by Terence Burlij and Katelyn Polantz at PBS News Hour, Sen. Chuck Shumer observes, “This year, dealing with declining middle class incomes and not enough job growth will be the number one issue. And if, on the first day of the new session, the Republican Party says they won’t even support an unemployment benefit extension … they’re going to show themselves so far out of the mainstream, it’s going to hurt them in the election,” Schumer said Sunday on ABC.”
In her Bloomberg Politics post, “Democrats Target Unemployment Aid in 2014 Campaign Pivot ,” Heidi Przybyla notes “Democrats may stand a better chance of winning the unemployment insurance debate than they do a minimum wage increase, which Republicans say could hamper the ability of young Americans in particular to secure employment in a down economy.”
Ed Kilgore has a sobering reminder that repealing Obamacare is only one facet of the Republicans’ extremist health “reform” agenda: “…It’s worth remembering that the conservative movement’s goals in health care policy go beyond repealing Obamacare and extend to major “reforms” of the two big health care entitlements. Voucherizing Medicare and block-granting Medicaid remain central and almost universally supported pillars of the GOP’s agenda. At least some Republicans are sure to keep their eyes on that bigger prize instead of making Obamacare their sole boogeyman. ”
And at Talking Points memo, Dylan Scott explains why “ALEC’s New Obamacare Obstruction Plan Won’t Work.”
At The Daily Beast Jamelle Bouie reports “it’s worth reading a recent paper from Keith G. Bentele and Erin E. O’Brien, which brings statistical analysis to bear on the question of voter identification laws. What they found was surprisingly straightforward: Between 2006 and 2011, if a state elected a Republican governor, increased its share of Republican legislators, or became more competitive while under a Republican, it was more likely to pass voter ID and other restrictions on the franchise. Likewise, states with “unencumbered Republican majorities” and large black populations were especially likely to pass restrictive measures. Their broad conclusion, in other words, is that these laws are the result of fierce partisan competition…”

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