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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In connection with the Trump dust-up, Marcus Brenton makes a compelling argument at the Sacramento Bee that Latino consumer power is a more mighty force at this juncture than Latino political power. “Latinos were only 15.4 percent of California voters in 2014, Romero said. Of course, voter turnout was awful in 2014 – it’s usually lower for all groups during midterm elections. But in the previous midterm cycle, Latinos were 16.7 percent of voters…”In the Texas race for governor, Democrat Wendy Davis won the Latino vote 55 percent to 44 percent but lost the election to Republican Greg Abbott,” wrote Jens Manuel Krogstad and Mark Hugo Lopez for the Pew Research Center. “In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott won re-election despite losing the Hispanic vote to Democrat Charlie Crist by a margin of 38 percent to 58 percent, according to the state exit poll. That’s a marked decline from 2010, when 50 percent of Hispanics voted for Scott, and from 2006, when the Latino vote was split 49 percent to 49 percent between the two parties,” Krogsad and Lopez wrote…The Nielsen Company recently published a study showing that the average age of Latinos in America is 27, meaning they have more years of prime purchasing power than any other group…But if these consumers don’t find their ways to the polls, they will never realize their true power to affect change…Focusing on the numbers, it is clear that Latino purchasing power is a force in American culture – one that caused those big companies to move away from Trump for fear of offending customers.”
At The week Paul Waldman’s “Donald Trump is a complete lunatic on immigration. But he’s no crazier than much of the GOP” puts Trump’s Latino-bashing in perspective: “A Pew poll from last month asked people whether they thought that “Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing, and health care,” or that “Immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents.” Republicans preferred the first statement by 63-27, while Democrats chose the second statement by 62-32.”
Here’s an encouraging post by Murphthesurf3 at Daily Kos: “A GOP strategist, columnist at the Houston Chronicle who goes by the handle GOPLifer, Chris Ladd, has declared that the week of the Midterm Elections “was a dark week for Republicans, and for everyone who wants to see America remain the world’s most vibrant, most powerful nation.”…In a careful analysis, Ladd builds a case: The Midterms of 2014 demonstrate the continuation of a 20 year old trend. Republicans are disappearing from the competitive landscape at the national level where the population is the largest utilizing a declining electoral base of aging, white, and rural voters. As a result no GOP candidate on the horizon has a chance at the White House in 2016 and the chance of holding the Senate beyond 2016 is vanishingly small.”
Here’s why pundits who jabber about “social issues” are probably wasting your time.
Peter Grier’s Monitor post “Honey, we shrunk the undecided voters” notes that “At the beginning of President Obama’s reelection campaign about 20 percent of voters overall were persuadable, since they were either undecided or committed to a candidate other than Mr. Obama or Mitt Romney, according to John Sides and Lynn Vavreck, another pair of political science professors…Mr. Sides and Ms. Vavreck then followed this cohort of the undecided through the ups and downs of the campaign. They found that dramatic gaffes made little difference to these voters, as the miscues were lost amid the tsunami of general campaign coverage…Then came the kicker: In November, almost half of the persuadable voters didn’t vote at all. Those that did vote, split. About half went for Obama, and half for Mr. Romney.”
Jamelle Bouie has an interesting argument at Slate.com, “Why Hillary Clinton Should Go Full Nerd: The Democratic front-runner should offer voters her authentic, geeky self.”
In his New York Times op-ed “The Democrats’ Fractured Views on Trade,” Vikas Bajas explains: “…Both sides assign far too much importance to individual trade agreements, pro or con….The economic gains from the agreement will most likely be modest. The most frequently cited study on the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, by the economists Peter Petri, Michael Plummer and Fan Zhai, says it will boost gross domestic product in the United States by 0.4 percent by 2025 — hardly a significant economic stimulus. Economists who are more skeptical of trade deals say the income gain could be even smaller and would mostly benefit people at the top of the income distribution…The way to shore up the economy and expand job creation is to make investments in public goods, like transportation systems, better housing, stronger schools and skills training, especially for the most disadvantaged Americans.”
Both major political parties will likely spend considerable time, energy and verbiage trying to paint the opposition as “the party of the past” in 2016. At The Plum Line Greg Sargent explains why Democrats will have the edge on issues in this contest of memes, while Republicans will probably focus on the Democratic nominee’s “longevity.”
After spending a weekend in Blue Ridge, GA, I was somewhat surprised to see that a huge Confederate battle flag usually seen above a gas station on the main highway had been taken down and replaced by an American flag, perhaps for the Independence Day weekend. But there were lots of pick-up trucks flying the Confederate battle flag, driven by young men, who I gather were being egged on by local reactionary ideologues. But most of the people on the street, locals and visitors alike, seemed bored or indifferent about all of the flag fuss. Mary Francis Berry, former chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has a good article on the subject, “The Confederate Flag is Just a Distraction.” putting it all into sensible context. Yes, take it down from all government facilities. But don’t let the issue become a substitute for needed racial justice reforms.

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