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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Nate Silver has some insights about the “poll-deflating feedback loop” phenomenon, which afflicts many presidential candidates, most recently Hillary Clinton and possibly Scott Walker. It has to do with “self-reinforcing cycles of negative media attention and declining poll numbers.” Clinton is experiencing her share of it, with “a total of 29 days of negative coverage in just over seven weeks” and a slew of downward-trending polls. It’s a serious problem for her campaign, though not a fatal contagion, as Silver explains. “In the assessment of betting markets, she’s still a reasonably heavy favorite for the Democratic nomination. That’s my assessment too,” notes Silver, who then provides a half-dozen ways she could rebound.
Further, Michael Tomasky’s Daily Beast post, “Hillary Was the CNN Debate’s Real Winner–Seriously” offers one of the more perceptive takes on last week’s big GOP presidential debate. Among Tomasky’s observations: “She is still the overwhelming favorite to be the Democratic nominee. She still leads the Republicans in a strong majority of the general election head-to-head matchups. And that’s after two horrible media months in which, by Silver’s count, she has endured 29 negative news stories while enjoying just one positive one. All that, and she’s still mostly ahead…And being the Democrat, she has the Electoral College advantage that any plausible Democrat has these days because the GOP has just positioned itself too far right to win states that it regularly won back in the Nixon-to-Bush Sr. era…” Tomasky also has well-crafted zingers about the lack of serious policy proposals among the GOP field.
For one-liners that sum up the GOP debate, it’s hard to top NYT columnist Paul Krugman’s “the only candidate who seemed remotely sensible on national security issues was Rand Paul, which is almost as disturbing as the spectacle of Mr. Trump being the only voice of economic reason.”
No telling how long the Fiorina bump will last in the polls. But Dems will have no problem shredding her policies or disparaging her “accomplishments,” as have NYT columnists Timothy Egan and Charles M. Blow.
I didn’t think this was possible. Has any heavily-promoted presidential candidate ever tanked so badly?
Jim Rutenberg reports on “The De-Reaganization of the Republican Party” at The New York Times Magazine — “The dissonance between the Republican Party’s pious exaltation of Reagan the man and its break with much of his policy record.” But it’s hard to imagine any of the Republican nominees making a big break with Reagan’s core policies, such as union-bashing, tax cuts for the rich and a bullying foreign policy, regardless of what they say.
In “GOP wants to broaden appeal; will candidates get in the way?,” AP’s Kevin Freking and Julie Pace pinpoint the GOP’s dilemma, with an apt quote from Republican strategist Steve Schmidt: “Of course it’s worrisome if you have a party that’s perceived as anti-Latino, anti-Asian, anti-gay, intolerant of Muslims.” Schmidt, like all other GOP strategists, candidates and pundits, dodged referencing the Republicans’ relentless efforts to disenfranchise as many African Americans as possible.
For an excellent update on Hispanic electoral activism and a moving tribute to influential voter empowerment advocate Willie Velasquez, read “Latinos are fighting Republican racism by registering voters” by Denise Oliver Velez at Daily Kos.
New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait explains why Jeb’s “He kept us safe” comment is an exceedingly generous gift to his adversaries in both political parties.

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