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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Dan Balz’s “If voter turnout is key, why is it so low?” rounds up the reasons and possible cures for low voter participation in mid term elections.

Brendan Nyhan has a good post at The Upshot on the folly of the ‘Green Lantern Theory of the Presidency.”

Long-term unemployment is plummeting.
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The GOP appears ready to squander many millions of taxpayer dollars on a doomed impeachment effort —even though 65 percent of voters think it is a bad idea, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Friday.

How many millions would the Republicans spend? One clue is that they spent more than $40 million taxpayer dollars on Ken Starr’s impeachment ploy, and Republican leaders are even less anchored to prudent management of taxpayer dollars today.

From The Hill, Mike Lillis quotes DCCC chair Steve Israel on Democratic strategy to use the House’s August break to underscore who is really responsible for “the do-nothing congress”: “August will be about our action versus their inaction,” Israel said…”We’ll be talking about how they have stalled on everything, and we have a specific series of initiatives to jumpstart the middle class. That is going to be August.”

Tim Devaney writes, also at The Hill, that “Business groups alarmed by rise of ‘micro-unions’ in workplace.”

Some disturbing stats from Robert Reich’s “The rise of the non-working rich” at The Baltimore Sun: “In 1979, the richest 1 percent of households accounted for 17 percent of business income. By 2007, they were getting 43 percent. They were also taking in 75 percent of capital gains. Today, with the stock market significantly higher than where it was before the crash, the top is raking even more from their investments…The six Walmart heirs have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined (up from 30 percent in 2007).”

So why aren’t voters more ticked off about inequality? Eduardo Porter mulls over some possible answers at The Upshot. “Researchers at the University of Hannover in Germany propose a simpler reason: Voters don’t demand more redistribution because they don’t grasp how deep inequality is…Evidently, nobody has a clue: In every one of the 26 nations, most of them in the developed world, for which they collected data, people believe that the income gap is smaller than it really is. And using perceived rather than actual inequality, the median voter theory works much better: Where people believe inequality is worse, governments tend to redistribute more…Unsurprisingly, Americans suffer from a pretty big perception gap. They think an American in the middle of the income distribution makes only 4 percent less than the national average, according to Ms. Engelhardt and Mr. Wagener’s research. In truth, the American in the middle makes 16 percent less.”

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