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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Indications are, if Hillary Clinton is nominated, she has reason to hope that she can get close to Obama’s percentage of African American voters in the general election. At The Fix Janell Ross reports “June 2015 does seem a bit early to pronounce these hints of an enthusiasm deficit a fatal problem for the Democratic front-runner Clinton. Clinton’s support numbers aren’t that far away from Obama’s at this time in the 2008 and 2012 races, actually…In May, when Washington Post-ABC News pollsters asked black voting-age adults about their preferred presidential candidate in a Clinton-Jeb Bush horse race, Clinton claimed 88 percent. Bush got 8 percent. Similarly, in a June and July 2011 poll centered around an Obama-Romney race, Obama got the support of 90 percent of black voting-age adults and Romney got 6 percent. In February 2008, Obama had 85 percent of black voting age adults with him and John McCain just 9 percent. In both elections, Obama’s black-voter support eventually climbed above 90 percent but sat in the 80s in polls long before Election Day.” The challenge for Clinton is increasing the African American turnout in battleground states through enhanced registration to make up for the small, but not insignificant deficit the polls are showing in comparison to Obama’s numbers with this critical pro-Democratic constituency.
Democratic candidates and campaign workers should read Lindsay Abrams’s Salon.com post, “No one’s buying ALEC’s bullsh*t anymore: The Koch-backed group is losing the clean energy battle: America appears to finally be catching on to renewable energy’s clear benefits.” This could be an important development for mobilizing young voters in particular and immunizing them from GOP propaganda.
Another indication that Ohio’s nimble Republican Governor John Kasich is in it. Kasich has hired John Weaver, who served as a strategist for Jon Huntsman and John McCain and was reportedly “exiled” from the GOP by Karl Rove and worked for a while for the DCCC. Jonathan Chait believes Kasich’s excessive sanity will deny him the GOP nomination.
Yet another argument in support of Hillary Clinton’s rally-the-Democratic-base strategy, this one by WaPo’s Phillip Bump, emphasizing that the percentage of genuinely persuadable voters is much smaller than ’50-state-campaign’ advocates believe and pundits like David Brooks suggest.
Embarrassingly bad news for Jeb Bush: Rubio beats him by 8 points in head-to-head poll — in Florida. But Bush won by 6 when other Republican candidates were included in the poll.
Margaret Carlson explains at Bloomberg View why Vice President Biden is still taken very seriously as a potential presidential candidate: “Obama saw an asset in Biden’s experience as two-time chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and needed the political capital from his 40 years in Congress. The president leaned heavily on his wingman in managing the U.S. troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, coping with the crisis in Ukraine after the failure of Clinton’s reset with Vladimir Putin, and overseeing the $787 billion economic stimulus package. Biden is often the “last person” in the room when a big decision is being made.”
NYT’s Ashley Parker has an update on the GOP’s shaky “digital strategy” for 2016. Parker reports that, of “626 political operatives with experience in digital, data and analytics on every presidential campaign since 2004…The breakdown was stark: 503 of those staff members were hired by Democratic campaigns, 123 by Republicans…They also found that 75 political companies or organizations were founded by those former campaign workers on the Democratic side, but only 19 on the Republican side.”
Richard Alba’s NYT op-ed, “The Myth of the White Minority” provides a timely reminder that, regardless of U.S. Census racial categories, how people think of their racial identities and how others perceive them may be quite different. That, along with an increasing trend in interracial marriages may have more political impact than Census head counts.
Meet the “best presidential bellwethers” since 1896, Ohio and New Mexico. Narrowing the time frame a bit to the last 100 years, Nevada becomes the most bellwether-worthy. But Crystal Ball’s Kyle Kondik adds, “The best predictor of the next election, for instance, might be a state with a below-average record over the past century: our home state of Virginia. After all, no state was closer to the national popular vote in the past two elections…”

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