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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Greg Sargent calls attention to the importance of the upcoming gubernatorial races, which will decide how much power Dems will have to check GOP gerrymandering. “The 2014 elections left Democrats in a deep state-level hole: Republicans control over 30 governorships and two-thirds of partisan legislative chambers; they are in total control of state government in 24 states, while Democrats can only say that about six states.” Sargent quotes from his interview with CT’s politically astute Gov. Dan Malloy, who will soon take over helm of the Dem Govs Association: “It’s going to take a four year cycle, not a two year cycle, to turn this back. Democrats have to adopt the Republican concept of constant campaigning. Democrats tend to think of elections as cycles. Republicans don’t. It’s ongoing and constant.”
From an AP report on the political fallout of the House votes to cut off Homeland Security funding (then later to restore it for one week) unless President Obama rescinds his executive order protecting millions of immigrants from deportation: “Bad tactics yield bad outcomes,” GOP Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania told reporters. Republican leaders, he said, have engaged “in tactical malpractice, and at some point we’re going to vote on the negotiated Homeland Security appropriations bill,” a bipartisan plan that most Republicans oppose but cannot kill…””We all know how this is going to turn out,” said an exasperated Republican, Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho. “Politically, it’s devastating.”
The NYT editorial The Phony Legal Attack on Health Care cites yet another example of conservatives’ excessive fondness for murderous imagery, in the vein of Norquist’s “drown the baby in the bathtub” : “This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene. I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart, whether we tar and feather it and drive it out of town, whether we strangle it.” Note that the speaker, a former chairman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute was not talking about ISIS; he was talking about legislation that has expanded health care coverage for millions, the ACA.
David Masciotra unravels the infantile psychology that underlays the Libertarian “philosophy” in his post, “You’re Not the Boss of Me! Why Libertarianism Is a Childish Sham” at Alternet.
Here’s an interesting nugget from Chris Turner’s post, “The 5 traits of Winning Grassroots Campaigns” at Campaigns & Elections: “Great grassroots operations no longer rely alone upon vote history to select targets. Instead, they enlist analytics experts like Evolving Strategies on the Right and The Analyst Institute on the Left to generate targets based on turnout propensity scores, persuasion scores, and now (new from Evolving-Strategies.com), essentially a “how engageable is this voter” score…Prices for voter file scoring have dropped significantly, making these tools very affordable. Great grassroots efforts knock on the doors of those voters who indicate they are most likely to actually engage, demonstrate a predisposition toward voting, and will vote your way.”
At Salon.com Sean McElwee reports on an important data-driven study of the effects of voter suppression laws and their linkage to racial motivations, “Vulnerability in Numbers: Racial Composition of the Electorate, Voter Suppression, and the Voting Rights Act” by by Ian Vandewalker and Keith Bentele at the Harvard Latino Law Review. From the abstract at the Social Science Research Network: “…We present new empirical evidence that the proposal and passage of restrictive voting laws, such as photo identification requirements and reductions of early voting opportunities, are associated with racial factors such as larger African American populations and increases in minority voter turnout. These results are consistent with the interpretation that restrictive voting laws have been pursued in order to suppress Democratic-leaning minority voters, and they are suggestive that racial discrimination is a contributing factor to this type of legislation….The evidence we present is relevant to litigation under remaining provisions of the VRA, especially the prohibition on voting laws with a discriminatory effect under Section 2…”
Margot Sanger-Katz’s Upshot post “High Rate of Shopping and Switching in Obamacare Plans Is a Good Sign” shows why those who really believe in market competition should be supporting the Affordable Care Act. But don’t hold your breath waiting for Republicans to put support for genuine market competition before their partisan hatred.
Suzanne Dovi asks and addresses a helluva good question at Talking Points Memo Cafe: “We Spend Billions On Democracy-Building Abroad. What If We Matched That At Home?” Dovi argues that investing in making America a more livable nation could be a more cost-effective way to persuade other nations to embrace democracy. Providing “a living, breathing example of a democracy that supports due process, reduces police brutality, provides a good and affordable education to its citizens, and economically thrives with cutting-edge technology would make other political regimes want to imitate our democracy. A matching funds program for U.S. democratic nation-building would be a small price to pay in the long run.”
Say g’nite, Rudy. This headline provides a fitting epitaph for his political career.

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