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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten examines “Why Harry Reid Chose Chuck Schumer,” while The Nation’s John Nichols explains why “Harry Reid’s Replacement Must Be Progressive and Effective.”
Meanwhile, National Journal’s Andrea Drusch profiles Catherine Cortez Masto, “The Woman Harry Reid Wants to Replace Him in the Senate.”
Associated Press reports on “Florida Democrats Look For A Way To End Election Woes,” and notes: “Then there’s money. Florida has 12 million voters and 10 media markets. It costs millions to get a message across the state and Democrats have been badly outspent in non-presidential years. Obama had the money to win in Florida, but that doesn’t help two years later when the governor and Cabinet seats are on the ballot…There just is no short-term answer to our money problem,” said Screven Watson, a Democratic political consultant. “The gubernatorial candidate has to be able to raise 40 to 50 million (dollars), and I don’t see anybody out there right now that can do that. Nobody.”
At The Upshot Brendan Nyhan argues that “Republicans Have Little to Fear From a Divisive Primary.”
At ThinkProgress Alice Ollstein explains why “California Looks To Take A Page From Oregon’s Voter Turnout Playbook.” Says Ollstein: “…Such a move in California could sweep millions into the political process…the nearly 7 million eligible but unregistered voters in the state, many of them low-income, people of color, and younger Californians — whose participation rates are in the single digits.”
Huckabee outs his strategy on “Face the Nation”: “”I think the untold secret is a lot of the support that I have, and that I anticipate I will have, is from the working-class, blue-collar people who grew up a lot like I did – not blue-blood, but blue-collar…”
More evidence that Democrats can cite in making a case to voters that democracy itself is under siege by Republicans, who protect only the wealthy: At Talking Points Memo Brendan James reports on a new Princeton study which finds that “U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy.” As James explains, “Asking “who really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power…Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.”
Robert Kuttner’s post, “The Dance of Liberals and Radicals: As LBJ and MLK needed each other, so does today’s left-of-center establishment need the leftist vanguard–and vice-versa” at The American Prospect puts Democratic Party politics into some much-needed perspective, all but lost on too many commentators these days. As Kuttner writes, “Which role the state plays depends on the balance of activism. As current politics reveal all too vividly, government’s default setting in a capitalist economy is to serve the wealthy and the powerful. Liberals can write policy proposals to their hearts’ content. But unless they are backed by radicalism on the ground, they are playing in a sandbox…Policy is frozen politics–the legacy of an earlier era and earlier political struggles. But policy can always be reversed by elites. That’s why it takes hot politics–liquid politics, current politics, radical politics–to defend and refresh policy.”
Political map afficionados should peruse “Daily Kos Elections presents our fully interactive visualizations of the 2014 federal elections.

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