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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From Ashley Parker’s New York Times article, “Democrats Aim for a 2014 More Like 2012 and 2008“: “The Democrats’ plan to hold on to their narrow Senate majority goes by the name “Bannock Street project.” It runs through 10 states, includes a $60 million investment and requires more than 4,000 paid staff members. And the effort will need all of that — and perhaps more — to achieve its goal, which is nothing short of changing the character of the electorate in a midterm cycle…”The question is whether the party’s Obama-era volunteer base will replicate itself for a Mark Pryor or a Mary Landrieu or a Kay Hagan,” said Sasha Issenberg, author of “The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns,” referring to three vulnerable incumbent Democratic senators…Campaigns are realizing that the smartest way to win the next vote is by mobilizing a nonvoter than by trying to win over a voter.”
Here’s a very interesting stat from CNN Political Ticker: “According to the CNN/ORC International poll, which was released Friday, 55% of Americans surveyed say the GOP doesn’t understand women. That number rises to 59% among all women and 64% among women over 50.” It suggests that the Democrats’ best shot at getting a bigger bite of the high-turnout senior vote in non-presidential election years might be to focus on the concerns of senior women.
And here’s an encouraging report from Dan Roberts’ post at The Guardian “Senior Democrats set out strategy in preparation for tough Senate battle“: “Democrats face a common challenge of midterm election due to the propensity for low turnout and are spending millions on voter registration drives in cities such as Atlanta, where an estimated 400,000 African Americans are unregistered.”
What is it with the Republicans’ utterly shameless penchant for deceit as a political tactic? Apparently voter suppression is not enough. Now we have ‘decepticon’ political ads by the NRCC, as Dan Rothberg reports in his L.A. Times post “Republican Party wing creates 18 fake websites for Democrats.” Is it too much to ask that they be called to account for violating FEC rules and the spirit of honest discourse?
At the Plumline Greg Sargent addresses an important question: “Can Dems go on offense over Medicaid expansion in red states?” and notes “The politics of the Medicaid expansion have taken on a kind of life of their own, separate from Obamacare overall. It has allowed red state Dems to embrace parts of the law while implicitly hitting Republicans over their ideological fixation on full repeal, which would take health coverage away from millions. These Dems don’t talk about Obamacare, obviously. But they stand up for the core goal of expanding coverage to those who lack it (as Michelle Nunn has done by calling for the expansion in Georgia), and criticize Republicans for wanting to take it away from folks (as Alison Lundergan Grimes has done in Kentucky, where the expansion is in full force).”
Democrats who want to win statewide elections should be encouraged by the example of Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who is riding a 54 percent approval rate, according to a new Bluegrass poll conducted by SurveyUSA for the Louisville Courier-Journal, WHAS11, the Lexington Herald-Leader and WKYT-TV in Lexington. According to Joseph Garth’s Courier-Journal report, “The poll also found that a small plurality of Kentucky voters said they will vote for Democrats in state House races this year” and a plurality of voters favor Beshear in all age groups.
At CBS News Anthony Salvanto probes “How presidential approval can make or break a midterm.”
For an assessment of Democratic prospects in other “red” states, read “How progressives can turn the deep South blue” by former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous. Among the insights provided by Jealous in his MSNBC post: “There are more than 600,000 unregistered black Americans in Georgia, plus thousands of unregistered Latinos, Asian-Americans, women and millennials. At an average cost of $12 per registration, it would cost less than $8 million to register virtually all of Georgia’s unregistered black voters. If even half of them had voted for President Obama in 2012, we would be having a very different conversation today.” Jealous quotes Stacy Abrams, Minority Leader in the GA state assembly: “2014 is a transformational year. Demography may be destiny, but voter registration is the pathway to the future in Georgia.”
Focusing on the defeat of unemployment benefits extension for the long-term jobless, at The Atlantic James Fallows shames his colleagues in the media for characterizing legislation defeated by filibusters as “failed” measures, and provides several examples in which they don’t even mention that the bill was filibustered. Fallows adds: “Fun fact for the day: By my ballpark count, the 59 senators who voted for the bill represented states with just less than 70 percent of the U.S. population. The 41 who voted no represented just more than 30 percent of the population. With only 70 percent support, no wonder the bill “failed.”

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