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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

The meme that Hillary Clinton is too centrist/moderate for progressives gets a thrashing from Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky, who writes: “If you are a 40-something Democrat who has voted over the years for Bill Clinton and Al Gore and John Kerry and Barack Obama, it’s looking like you are about to cast a vote next year for the most liberal Democratic nominee of your voting lifetime.” Tomasky then reports that Hillary Clinton’s positions on the minimum wage, immigration, family and medical leave, criminal justice reform, child care, and hedge fund taxation loopholes are substantially more progressive than recent Democratic presidents.
AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka calls currency manipulation — when a government buys or sells foreign currency to push the exchange rate of its own currency away from equilibrium value or to prevent the exchange rate from moving toward its equilibrium value — “the No. 1 job killer in the United States.” A few concrete examples might make this a potent campaign issue.
Alan Talaga makes a persuasive argument at Isthmus.com that Democrat Russ Feingold is going to win his race for U.S. Senate against incumbent Ron Johnson. “First of all, he has the calendar on his side. Wisconsin has never been a purple state. Since the 1980s, barring wave years or disruptive third-party candidates, Wisconsin reliably votes for Democrats in presidential elections while putting Republicans in office during the midterm elections. That’s how the same state sends both Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to Washington in the span of two years…Johnson still hasn’t made much of an impression in Wisconsin. In the most recent Marquette poll, in April, 39% of respondents didn’t feel comfortable saying they had a positive or negative opinion about Johnson. After more than four years in office, he’s all but nonexistent to almost four out of 10 Wisconsinites.”
Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik observes, “The respected Marquette Law School Poll shows Feingold leading Johnson by a staggering 16 points as the race begins. That strikes us as high, but we do believe Feingold begins ahead.” However, adds Kondik, “Democrats have a decent chance to win the Senate next year, but the Republicans retain better odds to hold it because of the cushion they built for themselves in last year’s election. If the GOP had only won a total of 51 or 52 seats in 2014, then Democrats might well be hurtling toward a Senate takeover in ’16.” Same goes for a strong Democratic showing in the presidential race.
At Politico Kyle Cheney explains why Jack Conway is in excellent position to hold the Kentucky governorship for Democrats.
Jim Kenney won the Democratic nomination for mayor of Philadelphia with more than 55 percent of the vote in a crowded field, despite entering the race late and being outspent 2:1. With no major opposition in the fall, Kenney is all but assured election in November. Kenney joins New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Greenberg Quinlan Rosner clients who have been elected mayors of 3 of America’s 5 largest cities. This project was led by Anna Greenberg, Ethan Smith and Kelly Higgins.
McClatchy’s Greg Gordon reports that Osama bin Laden had a copy of Bev Harris’s book, Black Box Voting: Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century. In a 2003 op-ed NYT columnist Paul Krugman wrote: “Early this year Bev Harris, who is writing a book on voting machines, found Diebold software – which the company refuses to make available for public inspection, on the grounds that it’s proprietary – on an unprotected server, where anyone could download it. (The software was in a folder titled “rob-Georgia.zip.”) The server was used by employees of Diebold Election Systems to update software on its machines. This in itself was an incredible breach of security, offering someone who wanted to hack into the machines both the information and the opportunity to do so.”
…which makes Rand Paul’s filibuster grandstanding about overzealous national security monitoring look a little ill-timed.
Re Josh Barro’s Upshot post, “Can Republicans Avoid the Romney Tax Trap?,” the most credible response would be, “only if Democrats allow it.”

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