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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In political boomerang news, Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo reports on “The 5 GOP Presidential Hopefuls Most At Risk If SCOTUS Guts Obamacare.”

It’s just a student vote at one university, but there’s a hint for increasing college student voter turnout in this headline and story. Lots of students care strongly about environmental issues and they just might turn out in more impressive percentages for candidates who do the same.
Here’s another disturbing example of college student voter apathy, and another indication of the failure of California to leverage the NVRA motor voter provision, as referenced in our March 6 staff post. As Benjamin Genta reports at The Daily Bruin, “Less than 9 percent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 turned out to vote in the 2014 midterm election this past November in California, a historic low, according to a January UC Davis report…In Los Angeles county, it was even less, with only between 5.5 and 7.5 percent of the same age demographic casting their ballots.” Quite a downer for those who remember a time when California college students lead the nation in political action…

At HuffPo Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, writes, “More than 20 countries around the world mandate voting. I had the opportunity to visit Australia last year, where citizens either vote or pay a small fine. Voter turnout there is nearly universal. In Canada, registrars go door to door registering citizens to vote, like we do with the census. In elections there, about 70 percent of voters regularly go to the polls…Mandatory voting would ensure that all voices were heard, that fewer could be shut out. It would broaden the pool of voters and limit the concentration of power that is now enjoyed by certain wealthy and corporate interests of our society. It would help build a sense of duty and responsibility in our citizenry. And it would be healthy for our democracy.”

In his column, “50 years later, Selma’s struggle is not over,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. makes the case for compulsory voting: “…Let’s be more adventurous and make voting in federal elections an obligation of citizenship…Yes, “compulsory voting” seems a nonstarter in the United States, as my political scientist friends Tom Mann, Norm Ornstein and I well know. The three of us have been arguing for this idea based on our experiences in Australia, a country for which we have great affection, where voters are required to go to the polls. The system works well, raising turnout especially among the less well-to-do and the less ideological. This creates a more moderate and more representative electorate. Crucially, such a law tells state and local governments that instead of creating barriers to voting, they should ease the way for citizens to fulfill their civic duty.”

From Clarence Page’s syndicated column “Democrats must connect with working-class whites“: “Two decades later, many Democrats still ask why so many working-class whites “vote against their economic interests.” Blogging in the New York Times after November’s elections, Tom Edsall said Democrats really should be asking themselves: “What has the Democratic Party done for these voters lately?”…I think the most important question in politics, regardless of race, creed or color, is simply, “Who’s on my side?”

Quote of the day goes to Eric Alterman, from his post “Why Nobody Seems to Mind That Bill O’Reilly Is a Total Fraud” at The Nation: “…Fox News has become a kind of Frankenstein’s monster of the mainstream media’s own creation. O’Reilly, Ailes and Murdoch are not trying terribly hard to fool anyone. They know what business they’re in; they are feeding red-meat propaganda to (mostly elderly, white) right-wing knuckleheads.” It’s a ‘preaching to the choir’ operation, unlikely to persuade anyone looking for credible information to make an informed voting decision.

Republican Governors of AL, MI, NV, OH, ME, KS, and IA are prepping to raise taxes or user fees of one sort or another, reports Mark Niquette of Bloomberg Politics.
Many have noted the absence of Republican leaders, other then George Bush II, in Selma for the 50th anniversary commemoration of the voting rights movement. Taking a tip from the late Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once said, “In the best tradition of our committee, there is hardly anyone here. . . . We know we are not discussing capital gains,” maybe O’Connell and Boehner should hold hearings on capital gains in Selma.

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