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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

For a more thoughtful take on the problems at the Veterans Administration, try John Nichols’s post, “Instead of Austerity and Slogans, the VA Needs Full Funding and Accountability” at The Nation.
Sam Stein reports that NC Republican Senator Richard Burr has stepped in it just in time for Memorial Day. “In their own letter, Veterans of Foreign Wars responded to Burr by calling his letter a “monumental cheap-shot” and labeling it “one of the most dishonorable and grossly inappropriate acts that we’ve witnessed in more than forty years of involvement with the veteran community.” If the tone wasn’t clear, the group added that Burr’s conduct and allegations were “ugly and mean-spirited in every sense of the words and profoundly wrong, both logically and morally,” in addition to breaching “the standards of the United States Senate.”
At Mother Jones David Corn explains “This Is How the Right Milks Benghazi for Cash: And more proof it’s all about Hillary Clinton.
At the NYT Upshot Lynn Vavreck illuminates the ticket-spliiters, those who vote for candidates from different parties on the same ballot. She notes, “In 2012, nationwide, only 7 percent of voters who cast ballots for both the presidency and the Senate split their votes across the two major parties, according to the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project run by YouGov. Vavreck tested a large, representative sample and concludes “While you’re more likely to be a ticket-splitter if you are a moderate or independent, the single best predictor of cross-party voting is still how much you know about politics: the less you know, the more you vote for two parties.”
In his column “GOP’s right turn opens door for Democrats,” Eugene Robinson offers some well-stated observations: “Anyone who hopes the party has finally come to its senses will be disappointed. Republicans have pragmatically decided not to concede Senate elections by nominating eccentrics and crackpots. But in convincing the party’s activist base to come along, establishment leaders have pledged fealty to eccentric, crackpot ideas…As for the “government’s too big” part, this traditional GOP mantra has become — thanks to the Tea Party — a weapon of spite, not a statement of policy…The victories by establishment-backed Republicans in Senate primaries hold no promise that the party is ready to stop throwing tantrums and begin governing. They do ensure, however, that Democrats will have few, if any, “gimme” races this fall…Republican candidates simply cannot risk being called “moderate”…Democrats can, though. The Republican Party’s move to the right opens political space for Democratic incumbents and challengers trying to win in red states.”
Ashley Parker’s “Political Ad Man Finds the Personal in Democratic Hopefuls” profiles Democratic “image guru” Mark Putnam, who has worked on campaigns for President Obama, Alison Lundergan Grimes, Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich, Ben Cardin and Heidi Heitkamp. Putnam advises “I do try to find an emotional hook to every ad — sometimes it’s humor, sometimes it’s a poignant story, sometimes it’s just passion.” Parker notes further, “During the 2012 cycle, campaigns, parties and outside groups poured record amounts into television ads — roughly $3.8 billion, according to Kantar Media/CMAG, which monitors political advertising. Kantar has projected that as much as $2.8 billion will be spent on local broadcast ads by the end the 2014 cycle; local cable representatives anticipating as much as $800 million more than that.”
Just because NC’s Moral Monday movement hasn’t got much MSM coverage lately, don’t assume it is winding down. The demonstrations resume big time on Tuesday, with a strong focus on fighting NC’s outrageous voter suppression laws. As Facing South’s Sue Sturgis describes the voter suppression laws that will be addressed: “Besides requiring photo ID to vote by the 2016 election, the law also has provisions that are set to take effect this year. They include ending same-day registration, repealing out-of-precinct provisional voting, shortening the early voting period, ending pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and expanding the power of poll observers and ballot challengers.”
Paul Rosenberg’s Salon.com post “GOP’s trifecta of doom: How candidates, issues and culture are building a 2016 calamity” makes an interesting case that cultural side-shows, like the Sterling mess do matter in shaping party preference on election day.
At Slate.com Jamelle Bouie probes an MTV poll of young people and addresses a provocative question, “Why Do Millennials Not Understand Racism?.” Bouie also wonders about “the irony of this survey: A generation that hates racism but chooses colorblindness is a generation that, through its neglect, comes to perpetuate it.”

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