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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Newsmax, frequently a source for Republican spin, has an interesting post, “Democrats Cashing In on Email Strategy” by Drew Mackenzie. Among the share-worthy nuggets is this one from Brandon English, hailed as the Dems’ top email fund-raising wizard: “English estimates that one-third of the people who read the DCCC emails do so on a mobile phone, so he makes certain that no messages are longer than 70 words before the first donation link…We know we have to get to the point quick,” he said. “I’m very incredibly nit-picky about every single word in our emails. Any extra words, extra sentences, unnecessary anything can just kill an email.”
There’s “No dominant issue leading into midterm elections,” say Washington Post opinion poll analysts.
NYT’s Adam Nagourney reports that “Midterms Give Parties Chance for Sweeping Control of States,” reminding Dems that a lot more is at stake in November than just control of the U.S. Senate. “Republicans now control 59 of the 99 partisan legislative chambers, and have complete political control — both legislative houses and the governor’s mansion — in 23 states, while Democrats control 13. The total number of states ruled by a single political party, 36, is the highest in six decades…Today, Republicans, even after losing some chambers in 2012, control about 55 percent of all state legislative seats.”
Amid pessimistic reports about Democratic prospects for actually picking up seats in the U.S. House in the midterms, Susan Davis notes that Charlie Cook sees only 16 or so seats as genuinely competitive, with 13 of them being defended by Democrats. However, writes Davis, “Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who runs the House Democrats’ campaign operation, maintains that the election climate is still unfolding. He believes Democrats could easily benefit from mounting voter frustration at the House GOP’s ongoing struggles with governing. “You’re going into a midterm election with voter revulsion aimed at Republicans,” he says.”
At the Wall St. Journal Beth Reinhard’s “GOP Ads Go On Attack Over Border: TV Spots Slam Democratic Senate Candidates on Immigration Policy” exposes the Republicans’ media strategy to whip up nativist frenzy for the midterms.
Michael Barbaro writes at the New York Times that Republicans are exploring all kinds of gimmicks in a dubious attempt to distract Latino voters from their party’s embarrassing track record on immigration and other issues.
The Plain Dealer’s Thomas Suddes’s “Ohio’s out-of-power Democrats need to emulate ’80s GOP in the grass-roots grunt work that can turn the political tide” offers some advice for Ohio Dems that might work in lots of places: “…Three years and a cloud of dust…That is persistence, not spectacle…Rank-and-file grunt work – and that’s what electing state legislators is – seems to offer too little glamor (compared to, say, a Hillary Clinton appearance) to draw workers. But…running opponents even in politically hopeless General Assembly districts at least had a chance of distracting the other party’s campaign managers.” Suddes has other insights meriting consideration by Dems in other states.
Despite all of the pundit doom-saying for Democratic midterm prospects, Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik observes “…It’s possible — though perhaps not plausible — for Republicans to net the six seats they need to flip the Senate simply by winning six Democratic-held Senate seats in six states where President Obama won less than 42% of the vote.” As for the House of Reps, Kondik says “for now we’re sticking with a GOP gain of five to eight…Unlike this year’s Senate map, the competitive races this year are not being held on obviously Republican turf.”
Here’s some evidence that we may have reached a turning point at which Obamacare is becoming more of an asset in wooing voters. As Greg Sargent reports, “The other day, Gallup released a major new survey finding that the steepest drops in uninsured rates had occurred in two states that could decide control of the Senate — Arkansas and Kentucky. The sharpest drop in the nation was in Arkansas, where the uninsured rate was practically cut in half…Dem Senator Mark Pryor is greeting this development as good news, and — get this — is even noting that he voted for the policy that has helped make this happen.”

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