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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released this week found that fully 60 percent of millennials say government should do more to solve problems, rather than leaving things up to businesses and individuals. Only 37 percent say government shouldn’t shoulder more responsibility,” reports Tom Shoop at the National Journal.
Democrats should be forgiven of they pause to gloat, just for a moment. You may have seen several articles during the last week or so, like this one, about how generally devoid of anything resembling substance are the debates going on between the GOP candidates. Nothing to be surprised about, when you consider the ‘claims to fame’ of top Republican contenders: a brother of a former president who wrecked the world economy, a Koch brothers errand boy/union buster and an immigrant-bashing, misogynistic birther — and that’s the top tier.
Gloating aside, Jeb Bush’s super-PAC “Right to Rise USA” is springing for “an eight-figure ad buy in the early primary states.”
E. J. Dionne, Jr. provides an astute observation about the Trump phenomenon in a global context: “Trumpism does have its uniquely American characteristics. Not many places would turn a loudmouthed real estate tycoon first into a television celebrity and then into a (temporarily, at least) front-running presidential candidate…a gift to us all from a raucous entrepreneurial culture that does not hold bad taste against someone as long as he is genuinely gifted at self-promotion…Trump is a symptom of a much wider problem in Western democracies. In country after country, traditional, broadly based parties and their politicians face scorn. More voters than usual seem tired of carefully focus-grouped public statements, deftly cultivated public personas and cautiously crafted political platforms that are designed to move just the right number of voters in precisely the right places to cast a half-hearted vote for a person or a party.”
Estimable political analysts Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley have designated Trump “The Un-Nominatable Frontrunner.”
Jim Rutenberg’s “Nine Years Ago, Republicans Favored Voting Rights. What Happened?,” follows up on his much-cited New York Times Magazine article, “A Dream Undone.” Rutenberg cites dim prospects for legislation to reinstate some of the voting rights weakened by the Shelby vs. Holder Supreme Court decision, which sparked a rash of Republican-driven voter suppression laws in the states. Only a Democratic presidential victory in 2016 can insure that the next Supreme Court justice will not be another advocate for voter suppression.
In an NPR interview, Ari Berman, author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America,” makes it plain when asked “what is behind the wave of new voting restrictions”: “I think it’s an attempt by elements in the Republican Party to make the electorate older, whiter and more conservative as opposed to how the electorate was in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected, which was younger, more diverse and more progressive. If you look at the methods that Republicans are using to try to make it harder to vote, they disproportionately affect minority voters, younger voters who are the core of Obama’s coalition, but they also disproportionately target the methods that the Obama administration used so successfully to win election and then re-election.”
A new Jewish Journal poll, which includes Jews who are not religiously observant, indicates that 63 percent of respondents “of the three-quarters who said they knew enough to offer an opinion on the deal” support the Administration’s proposed lifting of sanctions against Iran in exchange for arms reduction.
Good luck with all that.

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