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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

You will not be surprised that Donald Trump hogged the most talk time on last night’s CNN debate, with 18.43 minutes, reports Teddy Amenabar at The Washington Post. Trump was followed by Jeb Bush (17:01), Ben Carson (13:53), then Carly Fiorina (13:29) and the also-rans. The lackluster Scott Walker, looking increasingly like the next drop-out, was dead last, managing only 8:24 minutes of talk. Size matters, but length of time is not the only issue. The Washington Post’s impressive stable of commentators all agree that Fiorina dominated the debate with incisive answers. Bush badly whiffed past the giant softball and dissed American women, when asked which woman should be on the ten dollar bill. None of them were well-served by the Air Force One replica backdrop, and I was half-expecting Newt to emerge from the back door.
E. J. Dionne, Jr. summarized the way most Democrats likely saw the GOP presidential debate: “…On the whole, this debate won’t alarm Democratic strategists and the Republican infighting will make them happy. Whether out of political need or genuine conviction, Republicans take very hard-line foreign policy positions that are, I think, well to the right of where a majority of the country is.”
All that’s missing from Republican commentator Ann Coulter’s rancid remark about the GOP debates are the swelling strains of “Deutschland Uber Alles.”
From Jesse Rapport’s post “Alert: New Report Finds Most Voting Machines Are Old, Outdated, And Inaccurate” at Occupy Democrats: “In June, Wichita State University statistician Beth Clarkson published a study arguing that voting statistics suggest voter fraud favoring Republican candidates in a number of elections in which electronic voting machines were used. “My statistical analysis shows patterns indicative of vote manipulation in machines… These results form a pattern that goes across the nation and back a number of election cycles… My assessment is that the data reveals multiple (at least two) agents working independently to successfully alter voting results.”
At The Atlantic Sean McElwee’s “Why Non-Voters Matter: A new study suggests that increasing turnout could have significant ramifications for policy” notes “Jan Leighley and Jonathan Nagler, a pair of political scientists, argue that gaps between voters and nonvoters are real and have widened, and that the divergence in their views is particularly acute on issues related to social class and the size of government…Nonvoters tend to support increasing government services and spending, guaranteeing jobs, and reducing inequality–all policies that voters, on the whole, oppose. Both groups support spending on the poor, but the margin among nonvoters is far larger. Across all four questions, nonvoters are more supportive of interventionist government policies by an average margin of 17 points.”
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas has “Against Short-Termism: The rise of quarterly capitalism has been good for Wall Street–but bad for everyone else” by William A. Galston & Elaine C. Kamarck, who provide this quote from Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign speech: “Large public companies now return eight or nine out of every $10 they earn directly back to shareholders, either in the form of dividends or stock buybacks, which can temporarily boost share prices. Last year the total reached a record $900 billion. That doesn’t leave much money to build a new factory or a research lab or to train workers or to give them a raise.” That’s a pretty good indication that candidate Clinton will not be carrying water for Wall St., as some of her critics have suggested.
Jonathan Allen argues at Vox, on the other hand, that Clinton is now steering towards the center, terming herself “a moderate.”
Meanwhile Salon.com’s Sean Illing explains why “Hillary is no lock, Bernie is no fluke: The Democratic race is wide open.” Illiing writes, “The latest CBS/YouGov poll is particularly alarming if you’re a Clinton supporter. Clinton is trailing Sanders by 10 points in Iowa and 22 points in New Hampshire, although Clinton maintains a sizable (if diminished) lead in South Carolina.”
In his New York Times op-ed “Can Anything Be Done About All the Money in Politics?“, Thomas B. Edsall discusses five possible approaches to solving the problem.

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