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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Former Mayor of Denver Wellington Webb weighs in on where Dems went wrong in the midterm elections: “Unfortunately, we Democrats had little to no respect for, and therefore almost invisible identification with, the accomplishments of President Obama, who had accumulated a litany of successes. We, as Democrats, should have been proud of and owned up to our record of sterling accomplishments from 2008 to 2014: Gasoline prices are down, unemployment is down, health care accessibility is available to all, and, we even justifiably assassinated Osama Bin Laden. Not once, did we mention one Democratic success. This omission was the most shameful outcome of this 2014 election…We ran away from our successes – and Republicans fought against them, even though our efforts improved the lives of Americans. We should have been talking about everything from increasing the minimum wage across the nation, to fighting to protect Medicare and Social Security and providing a national security plan to protect America. But we didn’t. Shame on us Democrats for not amplifying our improvements to the country.”
Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has a point here. But a big tent party is going to have its public spats, and right after an election is better than before one.
E. J. Dionne, Jr.’s “How Obama and the Democrats Can Save Their Agenda” cuts through the GOP’s triumphalist fog with a salient overview: “Now, it will be a Republican Congress vs. a Democratic president. Voters will have a much easier time seeing who stands for what…Obama and progressives should spend the next two years accomplishing as many useful things as they can, blocking regressive actions by Congress, and clarifying the choices facing the nation’s voters. And they’ll get much further by doing all three at once.”
Politico’s Alex Isenstadt takes a look at “The Obama Republicans,” who hold congressional seats in 26 districts President Obama won in 2012, and concludes that the thinning of the vulnerables in the Democratic herd may free up resources to win back a healthy portion of those seats in 2016.
At The Hill Tim Devaney and Lydia Wheeler report on “The GOP’s Strategy to block Obama’s Regs.”
The National Journal’s Alex Roarty probes a much-buzzed question, “Can Clinton Win Back the White Working Class?” and quotes TDS Founding Editor Ruy Teixeira: “Democrats, to win regularly, not just the presidency but other levels of government, they need to do better among … noncollege whites than they’ve been doing,” said Ruy Teixeira, a demographer who has written extensively about the electoral advantages inherent in the nation’s changing demographics. “You can’t … just rely on the coalition of the ascendant…Are they going to convince the majority of these voters that they have a plan and it’ll definitely work?” Teixeira asked. “Well, that’s probably not going to happen. You don’t have to convince most of these voters. You just have to convince a persuadable part of them.”
At The Plum Line Paul Waldman makes a good point, that the future makeup of the Supreme Court is a hugely consequential and substantive issue. Making it a pivotal issue with swing voters will require some creative messaging.
From Paul Rosenberg’s wonky Salon.com post, “Why are these clowns winning? Secrets of the right-wing brain“: “There are things going on in our social and political world that we don’t have names for–and because we don’t have names for them, we can’t think and talk about them coherently. So, we have conservatives on the one hand acting on their mythos, mistakenly believing it’s true as a matter of logos–which is one kind of incompetence–and yet, nonetheless reshaping reality through the power of reflexivity. (Think of how invading Iraq in response to 9/11 helped bring ISIS into existence, for example.) On the other hand, we have liberals seeing things only in terms of logos, who can’t understand how wildly mistaken conservatives can nonetheless reshape the world to reflect their paranoid fantasies, because they’re missing the crucial concept of reflexivity (and even the very concept of missing concepts, the concept of hypocognition)–which is another, very different, but very real form of incompetence.”
What took him so long?

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