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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

A sober warning from TDS founding editor William Galston’s Wall St. Journal column, “American Optimism Rebounds–Cautiously: The encouraging trends are a flashing yellow light for both parties and their 2016 campaigns“: “Everything now depends on the trajectory of real wages and household incomes over the next 18 months. If they trend up noticeably, validating the current wave of optimism, we will have one kind of national election. If they do not, the Democratic nominee will be pressured to go beyond Mr. Obama’s policies, the Republican nominee will have to lay out a new conservative agenda that redeems the promise of real gains for working- and middle-class Americans, and economists of every persuasion will be called upon to explain how wages can remain stagnant even as labor markets tighten.”
At The Crystal Ball Alan I. Abramowitz explains why “the president’s rising approval rating in recent polls is good news for Hillary Clinton or whomever the Democratic Party eventually chooses as its nominee.”
Steve Singiser crunches some worrisome numbers at Daily Kos and discerns a trend in youth and senior turnouts that presents Dems with “tricky options.” As Singiser explains: “They will either need to reverse the recent trend with older voters (which would relieve the pressure on running up the score elsewhere) or they are going to need a massive youth turnout, and they will need, arguably, no less than 60 percent of them to vote Democratic. Neither are implausible, but both are tall orders. Democrats are better equipped to do so in 2016 (especially if this is anywhere in the realm of reality), but they have four years to figure out how to thread that needle to avoid another midterm meltdown.”
Blue Nation Review’s Jill Bond reports that depite the November elections downer, American unions had a pretty good year, including +92K new members for AFSCME, impressive victories in anti-labor states, including AL and TX, along with minimum wage hikes in 21 states.
Yikes. “A report released by the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP) at UC Davis finds a mere 8.2 percent of eligible California youth, those aged 18-24, bothered to cast a ballot in the 2014 November election. That means more than 90 percent of young voters sat out the election…Youth comprised a paltry 3.9 percent of all ballots cast in California but accounted for 14.5 percent of the eligible voting population, according to the report authored by Mindy Romero, CCEP Executive Director. By contrast, voters aged 65-74 were overrepresented. This group constituted just 10.4 percent of eligible voters but cast 19.4 percent of all ballots…The study also found that the youth share of California votes is projected to steadily decline over the next 20 years. “Assuming youth maintain their 2012 eligible turnout rate (30.2%) constant through the 2040 general election, we project a steady decrease in the youth share of California’s vote, from 8.1% in 2012 to 6.9% in 2040…”
In Iowa Santorum stakes his claim as the GOP’s champion of blue collar workers. Robert Costa reports on his pitch at the Post.
Cokie Roberts has generated some buzz with her statement on ABC News This Week that President Obama “lost almost 70 Democrats since he’s been president, and more than 900 state legislators. So he needs to give Democrats something to run on.” Politifact says the stats are accurate. But the buzz around Roberts’s blame Obama’ meme fails to adequately address a key factor, the GOP’s new and highly effective strategy of sabotaging bipartisan cooperation at nearly every opportunity noted by James Vega. Also, it seems fair to ask if Democratic state parties’ candidate recruitment and development has atrophied and why.
Stu Rothenberg forecasts a Dem House pick-up between 5 and 20 seats in 2016, well short of the 30 needed to win a majority.
Are draconian parking restrictions reducing voter turnout? When you search “election day” +”parking problems,” google pulls up more than 14 thousand reports from all over the U.S. Some states have tax-free “holidays” for buying computers as the beginning of the school year approaches. Since parking restrictions seem to be on the rise in many cities, How about well-publicized parking ticket-free holidays on election day? Mayors, even in red states, could probably make it policy without legislation.

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