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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Melissa R. Michelson’s “How to increase voter turnout in communities where people have not usually participated in elections: Research brief” from the Scholars Strategy Network, (via Journalist’s Resource) offers some insightful observations, including: “Voter turnout among members of different groups of Americans varies widely, with Latinos and Asians generally lagging behind other groups. Blacks usually fall in between, with turnout usually ahead of other minorities but behind whites…Nonpartisan experiments have not shown that messages designed to appeal to ethnic or racial solidarities are any more effective than general appeals to “civic duty” or other broad concerns…For example, experiments conducted in cooperation with community organizations using “Green Jobs” or other non-racial issue-based appeals have successfully mobilized African American voters, while another experiment that stressed racial solidarity produced negligible increases in turnout.” Michaelson is co-author, with Lisa García Bedolla, of “Mobilizing Inclusion: Transforming the Electorate through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns,” which analyses “268 get-out-the-vote experiments conducted repeatedly across six electoral cycles from 2006 to 2008.” The book won the American Political Science Best Book Award for 2013.
Janet Hook’s “2014 Voter Turnout: GOP Has Advantage, But It’s Not 2010” in The Wall St. Journal notes “The Rhodes Cook Letter, a nonpartisan political report, has analyzed turnout in 25 states that had held primaries by the end of June and found that 9.66 million Republicans and 8.28 million Democrats had voted-a 1.38 million edge for the GOP…The Cook analysis found that 2014 turnout so far has fallen short of the tidal wave of interest in the 2010 midterms. So far, 17.6 million have voted in major party primaries this year, compared with 21.1 million at this point in 2010…That is a 16% drop, which Mr. Cook says could be “the voters’ way of saying to both the Democrats and Republicans, a pox on both your houses.”
Republicans have to defend 22 of the 36 governorships that are up for election this year. Normallty this would translate into a huge advantage for Dems. But the improving economy is helping many Republican governors, report Jonathan Martin and Nicholas Confessore in their New York Times article “G.O.P. Replays 2010 Strategy at State Level.” Worse, Democratic Governors Association Chairman Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont said his group expects to be outspent 2-1 buy the RGA, a discrepancy which you can help reduce right here.
Gov. Christie isn’t out of trouble yet, but he has managed his scandal effectively and continued to wield influence in his party, despite revelations that should be career-enders. CNN Politics’ Julian Zelizer explains how he has survived thus far.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren “is quickly becoming a top Democratic fundraiser and campaign powerhouse, hitting the road on behalf of candidates in key races the party will need to win to retain control of the U.S. Senate in November,” reports AP’s Steve LeBlanc.
Also at the Times, Jonathan Weisman reveals how Senate Republicans kill popular legislation, simply because it is being sponsored by Democrats they want to defeat in 2014. To cite just one example, 26 Republicans supported a successful filibuster of a widely-popular sportsman’s bill because it was being sponsored by Democratic Senator Kay Hagan. Dems hope the GOP blockade participants will be seen as obstructionists, while Republicans hope Sen. Hagan will be seen as ineffective.
AP’s Thomas Beaumont reports that the “Democrats Scour Records for Provocative Comments” in hopes of turning up game-changing gaffe’s.
But, at the National Journal, Emma Roller does a good job of putting into perspective “What Really Matters in Midterm Elections? Hint: it’s not gaffes.”

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