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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“The states with consistently high turnout tend to make it easy to cast ballots. Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin allow voters to register on Election Day. Colorado, Oregon and Washington state hold elections exclusively by mail. Washington often has high turnout but was closer to the middle of the pack this year at 41 percent.” — from Associated Press’s Terrence Petty and Jonathan J. Cooper.
Looking at it from other angles, six states, Maine, Wisconsin, Colorado, Alaska, Minnesota and Oregon had voter turnouts of more than 50 percent. Four of the six states, allow election day registration, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Reefer referenda were on the ballot in Alaska, Oregon and a couple of cities in Maine. Dems won races for both Governor and U.S. Senate in OR and MN, Gov in CO and Republicans lost the Gov race in AK. Republicans won the Senate seat in AK and ME and won the WI and ME Gov races.
At TPM Petty and Cooper also credit Oregon’s impressive turnout to “A century-old tradition of civic-mindedness that dates to the Progressive Era, convenient voting procedures and especially contentious races or ballot issues.”
From Ronald Brownstein’s “Shellacking: The Sequel“: “Voter preferences recorded in the Edison Research exit poll posted by CNN virtually reproduced the 2010 outcome. Pending possible small final adjustments, the national exit poll found that Republican House candidates captured 60 percent of whites, 10 percent of African-Americans, and 35 percent of Hispanics; the comparable 2010 numbers were 60 percent, 9 percent, and 38 percent. This year, Republicans won 43 percent of voters under 30, and 57 percent of voters over 65; the 2010 numbers were 42 percent and 59 percent. On Tuesday, 44 percent of voters approved of Obama’s job performance and 55 percent disapproved–exactly replicating 2010.” However, adds Brownstein, “Even if Republicans in 2016 match Tuesday’s dominant three-fifths showing among whites, they will almost certainly lose the White House if they can’t also narrow the Democrats’ traditional presidential-year edge with minorities–who could make up 30 percent of the electorate by then.”
HuffPo Pollster’s Ariel Edwards-Levy and Mark Blumenthal quote David M. Drucker: “Contrary to the many public opinion polls that showed Democrats and Republicans deadlocked heading into Election Day, most internal campaign surveys were correctly forecasting the GOP rout….Properly predicting the correct partisan and demographic turnout model was the difference. Campaigns and party committees got it right, while many, though not all, of the public polls were wrong…This time around, Republicans took seriously the Democrats’ strategy to expand the midterm electorate. In private conversations, Republican strategists working targeted House and Senate races often revealed that their own surveys showed a closer race than what was suggested by the public data….. in the homestretch of the campaign, Republicans started to notice that the voter data scores were revealing a crucial dynamic. The most likely Republican voters were also among the most interested in the upcoming elections, while the most likely Democratic voters were much less interested…”
At Facing South Chris Kromm explains how gerrymandering has eliminated so many southern white Democrats from the House of Representatives.
Republicans can keep spewing outrage about the president’s immigration initiative. But Jonathan Chait has an eloquent response from which Dems can craft their comments: “This is the point of contrast that Obama drew out clearly and effectively. After years of legislative muddle, he was able to detach himself completely from Congress and articulate his own values. His remarks, met with rapt attention in immigrant communities, continued his rhetorical tradition of expanding the American family, accurately presenting himself (and, by extension, his party) as an ally to marginalized Americans. Speaking with evident passion, the president deemed the children of undocumented immigrants “as American as Malia or Sasha.” He cited scripture: “We shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger — we were strangers once, too.” He drew an emotional bond between immigrant communities and the Democratic Party’s ideal of compassion and tolerance. That bond will be his announcement’s most enduring legacy.”
At Campaign for America’s Future, Terrance Heath put it this way: “It’s actually a modest plan, but the beauty part is that Republicans can’t shut it down. Even better, conservatives worried that the president’s move was aimed making them look even crazier by driving their wingnut brethren to go new extremes. Republicans can’t bow to tea party rage without alienating Latinos. The president’s move left the GOP stuck between the voters it still needs now, and the voters it will need in the future — in order to have a future. Ya gotta admit, it’s a pretty slick move.”
One national news outlet pegged her chances of re-election at 12 percent, but Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1) didn’t just win, reports Abby Livingston at Roll Call. She expanded her margin of victory against the lavishly-funded Republican Speaker of the AZ House. Dems need to study such upset victories.

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