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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Following what HuffPo’s political commentaors Michael McAuliffe and Christine Conetta call “The GOP’s Epic Month Of Dysfunction,” Michael Tomasky puts the Republicans’ current situation in perspective with his Daily Beast post “The GOP: Still the Party of Stupid,” which calls the current GOP pack of presidential wannabes “an astonishingly weak field.” Tomasky notes the GOP field’s “hostility to actual ideas that might stand a chance of addressing the country’s actual problems,” and adds, “The Democratic Party has its problems, but at least Democrats are talking about middle-class wage stagnation, which is the country’s core economic quandary.”
If Jeb Bush wants to be a different kind of Republican, he should end GOP war on voting,” writes Paul Waldman at The Plum Line. Walkman explained, “And while Jeb will happily tout his record on things like charter schools as helping African-Americans, one topic he didn’t raise [when he recently spoke at the Urban League] was voting rights. That may be because on that subject, his hands are as dirty as anyone’s…When he was governor of Florida, Bush’s administration ordered a purge of the voter rolls that disenfranchised thousands of African-Americans, in a happy coincidence that made it possible for his brother to become president. The private corporation they hired to eliminate felons from the rolls did so by chucking off people who had a names similar to those of felons; people who had voted all their lives showed up on election day to be told that they couldn’t vote….At a moment when his party is fighting with all its might to limit the number of African-Americans who make it to the polls, it’s going to be awfully hard to make a case that the GOP has their interests at heart.”
NYT’s Jonathan Martin presents an interesting argument that Jeb Bush benefits from Trump’s campaign because Bush wasn’t going to get those voters anyway, and Trump draws support away from Scott Walker. “Mr. Trump’s bombastic ways have simultaneously made it all but impossible for those vying to be the alternative to Mr. Bush to emerge, and easier for Mr. Bush, the former Florida governor, to position himself as the serious and thoughtful alternative to a candidate who has upended the early nominating process.” Bush can’t have Trump as his running mate, unless he wants to run alongside a loose canon. So how would he keep Trump from running a third party campaign? Cabinet post?
John Sides interviews David Shor at The Monkey Cage on the topic, “Do early campaign polls tell us anything? Let’s ask a campaign data guru.” Much of their discussion is about the utility of early polls to political scientists (they agree that early polls don’t help much with outcome predictions). But I think they missed an important benefit of early polls, which is they help candidates to better hone their messaging.
Marian Cogan’s “Everyone Is Already Freaking Out Over the 2016 Election Polls” at New York Magazine has more to say about the misuse of early polling.
At The Upshot, Lynn Vavreck mulls over “2016 Endorsements: How and Why They Matter,” and shows that there is a relationship between a presidential candidate’s success and his/her endorsements. It’s just not quite so clear that it’s a causal relationship.
In his post at AlJazeera America, “Most Americans don’t vote in elections. Here’s why,” Demos research associate Sean McElwee contends that “The rise of the donor class and the influx of corporate cash have caused many voters to lose faith in politics.”
But many want to vote, but are still being denied their voting rights by Republican-driven suppressive state legislation and court rulings. Jim Rutenberg’s excellent “A Dream Undone” in the New York Times Magazine takes a thorough look “inside the 50-year campaign to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965.”
For Kasich’s campaign, there’s good news and bad news.

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