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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The Upshot Nate Cohn assesses the political leverage of red and blue state Republicans in the wake of Boehner’s resignation on the road to 2016. Cohn notes some interesting statistics, including: “In 2012, there were more Mitt Romney voters in California than in Texas, and in Chicago’s Cook County than in West Virginia. Over all, the states that voted for President Obama in 2012 hold 50 percent of the delegates to the Republican National Convention, even though they contain just 19 percent of Republican senators…In the last two cycles, relatively moderate Republican candidates won the party’s nomination by sweeping the blue states.”
Trump calls one of his best possible running mates a “clown and a “baby.”
Has Trump peaked? But even if he falls short of the delegates needed for the GOP nomination, there are two ways he could be the kingmaker: He could urge his delegates to support another GOP candidate or he could break his pledge and run as an Independent.
I’m tempted to say that Steven Rattner has nuked Carly Fiorina’s presidential aspirations by detailing the string of embarrassing failures that define her career as a “business leader.” But then I remembered no voters seemed to care that Bush II screwed up every business he touched.
Marcela Valdes has a NYT Magazine profile of Univision’s Jorge Ramos, arguably “the most influential news anchor in the Americas,” who has the unrivaled attention of Latino voters in the U.S. and throughout the hemisphere.
Jeb “free stuff” Bush may have driven a big spike in his own political coffin. Not that he was going to get many African American votes, even before this latest blunder. But the incident does indicate a proclivity for gaffes which even a modestly-astute candidate should be able to avoid. NYT columnist Charles M. Blow explains: “There it is! If you let people talk long enough, the true self will always be revealed. Not only is there a supreme irony in this racial condescension that casts black people, whose free labor helped establish the prosperity of this country and who were systematically excluded from the full benefits of that prosperity for generations, as leeches only desirous of “free stuff,” this line of reasoning also infantilizes black thought and consciousness and presents an I-know-best-what-ails-you paternalism about black progress.”
At Newsweek “Should Voting Be Compulsory?” by William A. Galston and E. J. Dionne, Jr. makes the case for universal voting based on the Australian model, which mandates that all eligible citizens show up to vote or pay a modest fine, which increases with repeated failures to vote. The authors argue “Universal voting would help fill the vacuum in participation by evening out disparities stemming from income, education and age. It would enhance our system’s ability to represent all our citizens and give states and localities incentives to lower, not raise, procedural barriers to the full and equal participation of each citizen in the electoral process…Candidates would know that they had to do more than appeal to their respective bases with harshly divisive rhetoric and an emphasis on hot-button issues…The balance of electoral activities would shift from the mobilization of highly committed voters toward the persuasion of the less committed. Candidates unwilling or unable to engage in persuasion would be more likely to lose. If political rhetoric cooled a bit, the intensity of polarization would diminish, improving the prospects for post-election compromise.”
At Media Matters Hannah Groch-Begley’s “50 Headlines That Reveal Wash. Post Reporter Chris Cillizza’s Obsession With The Clinton Email Story” provides a disturbing indication that Cillizza may be functioning more like a GOP echo chamber parrot than a nonpartisan reporter.
NYT columnist Paul Krugman puts the Boehner melt-down in clear perspective: “John Boehner was a terrible, very bad, no good speaker of the House. Under his leadership, Republicans pursued an unprecedented strategy of scorched-earth obstructionism, which did immense damage to the economy and undermined America’s credibility around the world…Still, things could have been worse. And under his successor they almost surely will be worse. Bad as Mr. Boehner was, he was just a symptom of the underlying malady, the madness that has consumed his party.”

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