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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

MSNBC’s Alex Seitz-Wald weighs in with a post-mortem on the 2014 elections, noting “The Democratic 2012 playbook included aggressive use of opposition research to attack opponents, superior field organization and tight coordination among outside groups and wealthy donors. Republicans’ mistakes during that election included candidates who made lots of gaffes. This year, both scripts were flipped…n 2014, Democrats took the lead in verbal flubs, even as they waited in vain for Republicans to slip up.”
The Center for American progress Benton Strong explains how “Deep Voter Pessimism and Lack of Economic Agenda from Democrats, Not Just Structural Obstacles, Drove GOP Gains in 2014.” Strong quotes TDS founding editor Ruy Teixeira “The path forward for Democrats seems straight,” said Ruy Teixeira, CAP Senior Fellow and a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. “In order to maximize support among core constituencies and reach further into the Republican hold on white voters, they must develop and promote a sharp vision of economic equality and greater opportunity for those left out of the recovery.”
Taylor W. Anderson notes at the central Oregon Bulletin that “In a year that saw perhaps the lowest turnout in decades elsewhere, Oregon probably had the highest voter turnout in the nation, according to preliminary results…Oregon’s 69.5 percent turnout is highest in the U.S. for the second-straight midterm election. States have about a month to certify vote counts, but it is unlikely that any state’s official results will rise above Oregon’s…Elections officials are taking the high turnout to trumpet Oregon’s mail-in ballot system and other election reforms that they say have helped drive up votes.”
On Meet the Press Howard Dean put it this way: “Where the hell is the Democratic party?…You’ve got to stand for something if you want to win…You cannot win if you are afraid…You’ve got to strengthen the state parties. It requires discipline, accountability, but it also requires money to go to the state parties and we have to trust the state parties.”
The Intercept’s Juan Thompson explains “How Voter Suppression Helped Produce The Lowest Turnout in Decades.”
David Lauter of the L.A. Times shares the perspective of TDS founding editor Stan Greenberg on the midterm elections outcome: “On the central issue of the economy, Greenberg said, Obama was “out of touch” and “tone deaf” in his insistence on talking about a recovery that many voters don’t feel…”He isn’t speaking to the main economic problem,” Greenberg said, adding that the lack of an economic message directed at the anxieties of average families had contributed heavily to low turnout of Democratic voters.”
Crystal Ball has some bragging rights about their predictions for the 2014 midterms, and they are not shy about claiming it. As Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley write, “On Monday, we offered our final calls in all 507 of the Senate, House, and gubernatorial races…As of this writing, 490 of those races have been called for one party or the other, and we got 476 correct (97%)…We did best in the category everyone was watching most closely, the battle for the Senate, successfully calling 32 of the 33 called races.”
At Daily Kos Armando considers the role of Gov. Scott’s late ad blitz attacking Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, who had a six point favorability edge going into the election.
Democrats also got clobbered at the state level and now hold majorities of both houses in only 11 states, compared to Republicans majorities in both houses of 30 state legislatures. Maybe it’s time for Dems to show what they can do in these states and set some high standards in infrastructure upgrades, employment and education. National Journal’s Kaveh Waddell addresses some of the possibilities in his post, “When Liberal Causes Don’t Stand a Chance in Washington, Activists Go Local.”

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