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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From former DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-NY), reported by Kate Nocera at Buzzfeed: “The Republicans have done a much better job of laddering up taxes and spending where Democrats ladder down to 16-point plans. That’s our problem,” Israel said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “We have to the ladder up to that one theme that voters identify with…. We’re building out an infrastructure we’ve never built out before.”
At The Plum Line Greg Sargent laments the Democrats’ position at the state level, and wonders if “the Democrats’ best near-term hope for winning back the House may be a Republican president who is unpopular enough to trigger big Dem wave elections, like those in 2006 and 2008.”
The “Dems should skip the south” argument is back, big-time, notes Sargent in another post. No one doubts that the GOP has a lock on most southern states, but the case is always compromised with the rather large exceptions of FL, NC and VA, the 3rd, 10th and 12th largest states. Still, the electoral votes of GA, the 8th most populous state, are probably out of reach in 2016, and it may be wiser to put campaign resources in the other three.
Kyle Trystad wonders “What’s Next for Michelle Nunn?” at Roll Call. Democrat Nunn lost her race for U.S. Senate to David Perdue by 8-points, but left a good impression on political observers, who noted that she became a much more confident debater and speaker by the end of the campaign. It seems unlikely, however, that she could best the popular Republican Senator Johnny Isakson in 2016, who perfectly fits the genteel reactionary style Georgians seem to like in their Senators.
James Hohmann’s Politico post, “Can Southern Democrats make a comeback? The populist, middle class “vision” that could turn it around for them” offers a slightly sunnier take on Democratic prospects in the south. Hohmann notes, “Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove said…Democrats need a broader, more comprehensive plan. “To me, the sweet-tea-and-grits crowd still likes our economic issues,” said Musgrove, who served from 2000 to 2004 and narrowly lost a 2008 Senate race. “Democrats need an economic message based on opportunity: education, job training, infrastructure rebuilding, and even health care – where voters know that Democrats can make a difference in these issues…[Atlanta Mayor Kasim] Reed praised Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in 2012 and Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2013 for not running away from Obama, espousing progressive principles and aggressively attacking their opponents. “The Virginia model is the model we need to follow in the South,” he said.
In similar vein Caitlin Huey-Burns explains “How Democrats Can Get Their Mojo Back” at Real Clear Politics.
The election of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock to head the Democratic Governors Association may signal a new emphasis on strengthening state parties in the mountain west, says Reid Wilson at The Washington Post.
For a disheartening tale of meddlesome digerati screwing around in political journalism, read Dana Milbank’s WaPo column, “The New Republic is dead, thanks to its owner, Chris Hughes.” TNR had threaded numerous crises over the decades to become a reliable source of nuanced progressive political analysis. But now it’s suddenly gone. Is there no chance that a wealthy liberal can somehow clean up this mess?
The demise of The New Republic is not the only indication that American journalism has taken a turn for the worse.

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