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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Today marks the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But the anniversary is likely to be overshadowed by the first major televised debates of Republican presidential candidates. The big debate, the one with the candidates leading in the polls, with Donald Trump and nine others, will be broadcast from Cleveland at 8:50 EDT. There will also be a sort of a pre-game ‘weenie bowl’ broadcast at 5 pm for the 7 candidates who didn’t make the top ten cut, but it’s unclear who will show up for that unhappy affair (Would you?). In any event, the hope is that all of the candidates who participate will be at least asked to address GOP-driven voter suppression on the day our nation commemorates one of the most significant milestones in the history of democracy. For those who can bear it, Fox News is providing an “Election HQ 2016 app.”
Ari Berman, political correspondent for The Nation and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” has an op-ed in the New York Times, “Why the Voting Rights Act Is Once Again Under Threat.” Berman notes that, despite growing protests against voter suppression in NC and other states, “The voting rights landscape today most closely resembles the period before 1965, when the blight of voting discrimination could be challenged only on a torturous case-by-case basis.”
Greg Speed, president, America Votes and America Votes Action Fund, writes at HuffPo: “While there is little prospect of congressional action on strengthening the VRA in the near future, there has been a growing trend of state legislation building modern, more accessible voting systems signaling hope for breaking down some barriers to minority voters and other segments of the electorate…Colorado, Oregon and California have excelled in the movement to modernize election systems with significant changes, such as automatic mail ballots and, in Oregon, automatic voter registration….This year, states like Florida, New Mexico and Indiana also took important steps forward by enacting election modernization laws with strong bipartisan support. America Votes was deeply engaged in the push for online registration in Florida and New Mexico, where state and local officials from both parties strongly supported online voter registration…Seeing bipartisan support in states this year for online registration and other laws expanding early voting, rights restoration and Election Day registration is very encouraging. ”
At The Plum Line Greg Sargent reports on a new Washington Post poll: “…A large majority of Americans now thinks the country needs to continue making changes to give blacks equal rights… 52-43. There’s been a big shift towards seeing a need for more racial change among whites overall (now at 53-44) and independents (62-34)…But Republicans and conservatives differ with majority sentiment: majorities of Republicans (63-34) and conservatives (52-46) say that the country has already made “the changes needed to give blacks equal rights with whites.”
Facing South’s Sue Sturgis has “A Texas-sized reminder of why the Voting Rights Act still matters.” One of her revealing stats: “While the GOP majority in the Texas legislature claimed rampant voter fraud makes strict photo ID rules necessary, number of people who have actually been accused of such ballot fraud since 2004: 4.”
Adel M. Stan reports at The American Prospect on the Koch Brothers grovelfest last week and “why Jeb Bush’s Pitch to the Koch brothers Should Scare You.” Stan defines the stakes in 2016 for Bush in particular. But it could also apply to most of the other GOP presidential candidates: “…The election of a president who is ready to make life easier for the biggest hoarders of private capital could be devastating to any shred of democracy left in our political system…The appointment of Supreme Court justices by a president who holds the shrouded workings of private capital in such high esteem promises future decisions that will make Citizens United look like a ray of sunlight…In his bid to become the third in his family’s dynasty of mediocrity to occupy the White House, Jeb Bush is ready to sell the nation to the most secretive corner of the 1 percent…With masses of private capital to back him–routed through the Kochs’ opaquely funded nonprofits–he could actually win.”
Republicans switching parties to become, gasp, Democrats? It happens …sometimes, reports Nathan L. Gonzales at Rothenblog.
Alan I. Abramowitz and Steven Webster crunch some polling data at Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball and observe “Democratic and Republican primary voters in 2016 are likely to be drawn disproportionately from the angriest segment of each party’s base and that candidates who can tap into that anger are likely to do well…No matter who wins the Democratic and Republican nominations next year, we can expect anger at the opposing party’s candidate to run high, and we can expect both parties’ nominees to seek to tap into this anger in order to energize and mobilize their supporters. It promises to be a long and nasty campaign.”
Hey Republicans, you really think this guy can manage America’s budget?

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