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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his bid to win the governorship of Ohio, Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald may be creating a potent template for Dems in statewide races. Fitzgerald is getting out front and generating buzz in attacking voter suppression. “He is asking the federal government to investigate efforts by state lawmakers to limit voting this election cycle,” reports Samnatha Lachman at HuffPo. (“Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) announced in February that voters won’t be able to vote on Sundays before November’s general election, while Kasich signed a measure eliminating the so-called “Golden Week” during which voters can both register to vote and cast an early ballot.”)
Further evidence that Ohio Dems are getting their act together from MSNBC’s Zachary Roth: “The effort to push back against Ohio’s new voting restrictions hasn’t been limited to Cuyahoga. The state Democratic party is mulling a legal challenge to the early voting cuts. African-American leaders are working to get a “Voters Bill of Rights” on the ballot this fall. And national Democrats are lending key backing to state Sen. Nina Turner, a voting rights champion, as she runs for secretary of state against Husted this fall.
The Big Dog gives Chief Justice Roberts and his fellow vote suppressers on the High Court a proper lashing for their partisan hackery: “Is this what Martin Luther King gave his life for? Is this what Lyndon Johnson employed his legendary skills for? Is this what America has become a great thriving democracy for? To restrict the franchise?..Clinton called the Supreme Court’s decision “one of the most radical departures from established legal decision-making in my lifetime,” said restrictions on voting rights were “risking the future of this great experiment” and could “put us back in the dustbin of old history,” reports Adam Serwer in his post “Clinton slams voting restrictions in civil rights speech” at MSNBC.com.
Sue Sturgis has a by-the-numbers rundown in her “INSTITUTE INDEX: A Supreme Court win for the plutocrats sparks protests” at Facing South, which includes this nugget: “Number of protests against the McCutcheon decision held across the U.S. the same day the Supreme Court handed down its ruling: more than 150
“Un-American” is the word that best describes GOP voter suppression. As President Obama put it in his speech in Texas: “”The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American. How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.” Elsewhere, reports Edward-Isaac Dovere at Politco, “Campaigning in minority communities in Florida, Charlie Crist often reminds people of his decision to extend voting hours in 2008, and contrasts his decision while governor to restore the vote to nonviolent felons to Gov. Rick Scott’s reversal to do so. In Wisconsin, Mary Burke is calling a state Legislature plan to cut back early voting “voter suppression.”
Democrats have a painful must-read in the AP article titled “How The Republican Party Constructed An Ironclad Advantage In The Midterm Election” at Fox News Latino. The article is not brimming with new revelations, and politically-engaged Democrats will be familiar with most of the content. It’s just a well put-together article that nicely encapsulates history and analysis of the Dem’s current predicament — a good one to share with those who are wondering how we got into this mess. It doesn’t offer any solutions. But understanding how the knot got tied is helpful for figuring out how to fix it.
At The Atlantic Molly Ball pooh poohs Democratic bragging about an edge in targeting/turnout technology: “In short, claims that one party or the other has built up a tactical advantage based on the latest in campaign science are always to be taken with a grain of salt…Party committees’ boasts about their tactical arsenals are probably largely for the benefit of their donors, who must be reassured their money is going somewhere useful. (Why else would they reveal techniques that surely would be all the more effective if they caught opponents unawares?). On the other hand, if a technology edge gives a candidate just 1 percent more, that’s often enough to win an election. Worth the effort, if not the brag.
Former DNC Communications Director Bob Neuman’s “Advice for Democrats on Winning the Midterm Elections” explains how Dems recovered from Reagan’s 1980 landslide: “Despite some misgivings by the more noble of our colleagues, we set out a two-pronged attack, despite our woeful financial situation, and focused on those two issues under the mantel of fairness. We held a “mini issues convention” in Philadelphia that emphasized fairness…It worked. We did very well in the [1982] midterm election. Thanks to a weak economy and a spot-on message, the Democrats picked up 27 House seats, and one in the Senate. By midterm standards, it was an impressive comeback.” The political dynamics are not parallel to 2014, but the success of the message theme “fairness” may be instructive.
Alex Roarty’s Hotline on Call post “Inside the War to Win over Women” includes this interesting quote from GOP strategist Wes Anderson: “If you’re a single woman, the message that Republicans will abandon you has had some effect in the past…There’s some resonance there with single parents, especially single moms. They paint that with a thick coat of class warfare to it, and they’ve had success with that in some places.”

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