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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Alan I. Abramowitz offers an observation in his concluding chapter in The Surge, the U.Va. Center for Politics’ new book about the 2014 and 2016 elections, which ought to inform the strategy of all Democratic campaigns in 2016: “In 2014…Republican House candidates defeated Democratic House candidates by a whopping 30 percentage points among white voters without a college degree, according to the national exit poll. The ability of the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate to reduce the Republican margin among white working-class voters, who were once a vital component of the Democratic electoral coalition, may be just as important as turnout among nonwhites in determining the outcome of the election.”

At Reuters David Adams reports that a Feb. 26-7 poll by Beyond the Beltway found that “most American voters support expanding trade, travel, and diplomatic relations with Havana…Some 64 percent of those surveyed supported ending the embargo, including 74 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of Republicans, and 64 percent of independents…A larger majority of voters – 72 percent – supported expanding travel and trade by Americans and having diplomatic relations with Cuba. Of those, 64 percent of Republicans under the age of 50 agreed that the recent policy changes “are in the best interests of the U.S. and Cuban people.”
For a small state, Maryland has a lot of impressive Democratic political talent, and the upcoming U.S. Senate race to fill retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s seat is shaping up as a marquee contest with tough choices for progressives. Sheryl Gay Stolberg has the story at The New York Times.

“As compared with non-right-to-work states, wages in right-to-work states are 3.2 percent lower on average, or about $1,500 less a year,” according to Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute. So how about a poll that asks respondents “Would you support a ‘right to work’ law, even though states that have these laws have 3.2 percent lower average wages?”

From the report, “America Goes to the Polls 2014“: “States with Election Day Registration (EDR) far outpaced states that don’t allow voters to register or fix a registration problem on Election Day. Voter turnout in the EDR States averaged 48%, 12 points above voter turnout in non-EDR states. Four states used EDR for the first time in a midterm in 2014, bringing the total number of states using EDR to 13…Seven of the top ten states in voter turnout were Election Day Registration states.”

But it’s not all about EDR: The report also notes that “Nine of the top ten had competitive statewide races. In contrast, the 19 states with the lowest turnout states in 2014 had no competitive statewide races. Nor did any of those bottom 19 states allow voters to correct a registration issue when they went to vote. Nevada, Tennessee, New York, Texas and Indiana made up the bottom five with barely more than a quarter of their state’s voters participating.”
From the same report, here are the leading reasons given for not voting in the 2014 midterm elections: 1. Schedule Conflicts with Work or School – 35%; 2. Too Busy, Out of Town, Sick, or Forgot – 34%; 3. Didn’t Like Candidates, Didn’t Know Enough or Didn’t Care – 20%; 4. Missed Registration Deadline, Recently Moved, or No Transportation – 10%.

In his Washington Monthly post, “Beware the Narrative,” TDS managing editor Ed Kilgore adds to an insightful observation in a “The Week” post by Paul Waldman. Kilgore notes: “I became really phobic about “narratives” during the 2014 election cycle, when the “Great-Big-Adults-of-the-GOP-are-back-in-charge” narrative first drove primary coverage, and then affected the general election as MSM types refused to see The Crazy in GOP candidates like Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis and Tom Cotton–because The Narrative said it had been banished. That’s one of the larger lessons I wrote about in Election 2014, as a matter of fact…Media types should know their own temptations well enough to be on constant alert of narrative-driven coverage of Hillary Clinton. Once they go there, it will be hard ever to come back.”

The New York Times editorial “Republican Idiocy on Iran” observes “Besides being willing to sabotage any deal with Iran (before they know the final details), these Republicans are perfectly willing to diminish America’s standing as a global power capable of crafting international commitments and adhering to them.” The editorial also quotes President Obama: “It’s somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hard-liners in Iran,” he said. “It’s an unusual coalition.”

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