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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his National Journal post ‘Dear Democrats: Populism Will Not Save You,” John B. Judis writes, “I fear that the new populist approach is based on several assumptions–about the economy and the electorate–that are feeding false hopes of success…While incomes and wealth at the very top have soared, and while people at the bottom of the economic ladder–many of whom have only high school degrees or less–are indeed threatened with falling incomes and joblessness, middle America is not dying or disappearing…One problem with predicting more lasting majorities based on demographics is that opposition parties can adjust. Republican successes in 2014 were not just the result of low turnout among young voters and minorities. They were also the result of GOP candidates moving to the center to defuse criticism from their Democratic opponents.”
“Political insiders” of both major parties agree, Republican Sen. Mark Kirk is the most vulnerable incumbent U.S. Senator running in 2016.
Mark Murray notes at NBC News: “American voters say their top concerns about the upcoming presidential election are wealthy individuals and corporations who might have too much influence who over wins, as well as campaigns that spend more time on negative attacks than proposing solutions, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll…Thirty-three percent of voters say the influence of wealthy individuals and corporations is their top concern, while 25 percent say they’re more worried about negative attacks.”
At Business Insider Maxwell Tani explains why Hillary Clinton’s prioritizing voting rights could be good strategy: “A new poll released by Public Policy Polling on Friday shows that her focus on the issue may prove politically popular in 2016 among more than just Democrats. Automatic voter registration, something Clinton proposed earlier this month, enjoys relatively strong support, with 48% approving and 38% disapproving, according to the PPP poll.”
Among the reasons why the political polling industry is struggling, according to Cliff Zukin, past president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, writing in The New York Times: “Political polling has gotten less accurate…and it’s not going to be fixed in time for 2016. We’ll have to go through a period of experimentation to see what works, and how to better hit a moving target…Those paying close attention to the 2016 election should exercise caution as they read the polls. Because of the high cost, the difficulty in locating the small number of voters who will actually turn out in primaries and the increasing reliance on non-probability Internet polls, you are likely to see a lot of conflicting numbers. To make matters still worse, the cellphone problem is more acute in states than it is at the national level, because area codes and exchanges often no longer respect state or congressional boundaries.”
Brendan Farrington reports at The Florida Sun-Sentinel on Democratic prospects for winning the Senate seat of Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, complicated by the possible “spoiler” role of Rep. Alan Grayson.
Current Republican presidential candidates are all evading the confederate flag issue in the wake of the Charleston massacre. But not all white southerners agree with them: “We ought to celebrate family members we love, the kindness of people in South, the land, the culture, the food, the music born there that has changed the world — and a Civil Rights struggle that did, too. There are so many things to be proud of that it strains credibility to believe we need a flag — one which hurts and offends others — in order to appreciate our heritage…The Confederacy was an attempt to create a slave-holding empire throughout the Western hemisphere…South Carolina did not fly the flag of this failed rebellion outside their State House until 1961, when its revival was less about regional patriotism than resistance to the Federal Government’s advancement of civil rights.” — from HuffPo’s “Pride in Southern Heritage Does Not Require the Confederate Flag — In Fact, It’s Now an Obstacle” by Paul Kendrick, a white southerner and author of Douglass and Lincoln: How a Revolutionary Black Leader & a Reluctant Liberator Struggled to End Slavery & Save the Union.
Heather Digby Parton nails “Rand Paul’s libertartian hypocrisy” on racial justice issues and now the confederate flag as emblematic of the GOP’s “rank cowardice at best and pandering to racists at worst” — with the exception of Mitt Romney, who alone among Republicans calls for the removal of the confederate flag from state houses. “For all of Rand Paul’s alleged independence,” notes Parton, “when the chips are down he can’t even match Mitt Romney’s courage and integrity. And that’s really saying something.”
Eric Lichtblau reports at The New York Times: “The leader of a white supremacist group that has been linked to Dylann Roof, the suspect in the murder of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns, including those of 2016 presidential contenders such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul, records show.”

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