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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

NYT columnist Charles M. Blow rounds up the latest pundit predictions re the battle for control of the U.S. Senate and sums it up: “Who will win control is at the moment basically a tossup, but Republicans get the nod by narrow statistical margins.” Given the exposure of Democratic incumbents and candidates in pro-Romney states, it could be worse, and none of the top prognosticators is ruling out an upset.
Lynn Vavreck explains “Why Polls Can Sometimes Get Things So Wrong.”
Phillip Rucker reports on the launching of “every town for Gun Safety,” by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg — “the first big step by Bloomberg — who has committed to spending $50 million of his personal fortune this year to build a national grass-roots movement that will pressure lawmakers to pass more restrictive gun laws — to devise a political strategy heading into the November elections…Bloomberg has promised to spend more than double the roughly $20 million the NRA spends annually on political campaigns. Still, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said it will be difficult for Everytown to counter the political network and clout that the NRA, with its 5 million dues-paying members, has built up over decades.”
Mighty big stretch here, especially assuming the tea party would suddenly come to it’s senses, such as they are.
Also at The Times, Paul Krugman’s “Beliefs, Facts and Money: Conservative Delusions About Inflation” takes on a different kind of failed prognostication, about the supposed ill-effects of monetary activism: “In fact, hardly any of the people who predicted runaway inflation have acknowledged that they were wrong, and that the error suggests something amiss with their approach. Some have offered lame excuses; some, following in the footsteps of climate-change deniers, have gone down the conspiracy-theory rabbit hole, claiming that we really do have soaring inflation, but the government is lying about the numbers (and by the way, we’re not talking about random bloggers or something; we’re talking about famous Harvard professors). Mainly, though, the currency-debasement crowd just keeps repeating the same lines, ignoring its utter failure in prognostication.”
Looks like Dems have a strong candidate to take away Republican Rep. Michael Grimm’s House seat.
Just to wrap it up, Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley have an 8-point takeaway post-mortem on Thad Cochran’s Mississippi victory.
E. J. Dionne, Jr. has an interesting case for challenging the constitutional “originalists'” argument that stokes the GOP’s hard right turn. Dionne notes: “In the May issue of the Boston University Law Review, Joseph R. Fishkin and William E. Forbath of the University of Texas School of Law show that at key turning points in our history (the Jacksonian era, the Populist and Progressive moments and the New Deal), opponents of rising inequality made strong arguments “that we cannot keep our constitutional democracy — our republican form of government — without constitutional restraints against oligarchy and a political economy that maintains a broad middle class, accessible to everyone.”…Their article is called “The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution,” though Forbath told me that he and Fishkin may give the book they’re writing on the topic the more upbeat title “The Constitution of Opportunity.” Their view is that by empowering the wealthy in our political system, Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United directly contradict the Constitution’s central commitment to shared self-rule…The idea of a Constitution of Opportunity is both refreshing and relevant. For too long, progressives have allowed conservatives to monopolize claims of fealty to our unifying national document. In fact, those who would battle rising economic inequalities to create a robust middle class should insist that it’s they who are most loyal to the Constitution’s core purpose. Broadly shared well-being is essential to the framers’ promise that “We the people” will be the stewards of our government.”
Has it come to this? A Libertarian pizza delivery guy may be the key to Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan holding her senate seat– and Dems keeping their senate majority.

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