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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The Plum Line Greg Sargent interviews Elisabeth Pearson, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, on the topic of Democratic prospects for winning governors races over the next four years. Pearson says, “The big years are 2017 and 2018, when we have 38 races. Nine out of 10 of the largest states are up in that cycle. There will be at least 20 or more open seats. We see the greatest ability to change governorships when there are open seats. There’s a huge amount of potential, particularly in open-seat states that Obama won twice: Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, Iowa. There are 12 states in the 2018 cycle that have Republican governors that Obama won. That’s huge for us. That’s why we see a four year cycle…Eighteen of those 35 states are states that we are targeting as important for potential pickup. Let’s say we had fair maps in those 18 states. By our calculations, that would mean about 44 Congressional seats that would move from Republican to Democratic.”
Vice President Biden goes into candid detail about the real reasons for and myths about his decision not to run for President in 2016, and leaves readers with enhanced respect for his character and decency, as well as his life of distinguished public service. Few politicians are more deserving of the high compliment, ‘first-class human being.’
In his National Journal article, “Biden Exit Opens Door For Powerful Clinton Coalition,” Ronald Brownstein writes, “Vice Pres­id­ent Joe Biden’s de­cision not to enter the Demo­crat­ic pres­id­en­tial race clears the path­way for Hil­lary Clin­ton to as­semble an im­pos­ing demo­graph­ic co­ali­tion in the nom­in­a­tion con­test. It also vastly in­tens­i­fies the pres­sure on Sen. Bernie Sanders, her chief re­main­ing rival, to make in­roads with voters of col­or…the vice pres­id­ent had the po­ten­tial to di­vide two of the con­stitu­en­cies she is re­ly­ing upon: eth­nic minor­it­ies, par­tic­u­larly Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, and blue-col­lar white voters. Biden’s choice not to run im­proves Clin­ton’s chance of con­sol­id­at­ing most of those voters–and could make the math for Sanders much more dif­fi­cult than if those two con­stitu­en­cies were frag­ment­ing in a race with three ma­jor can­did­ates…Just as Biden’s de­par­ture in­creases the pres­sure on Sanders to court non­white voters, it also height­ens the need for Clin­ton to mo­bil­ize the di­verse con­stitu­en­cies that loom as her fire­wall in what now has more clearly be­come a two-per­son race.”
Capping Clinton’s happy week, Bloomberg Politics Mark Halperin makes the case that “The Most Likely Next President is Hillary Clinton.”
For an exceptionally-impressive analysis of a state legislative election, read Geoffrey Skelley’s Crystal Ball post Vying for Virginia: The 2015 General Assembly Elections: All eyes are on the race for the Virginia Senate, which notes: “In the Senate, Republicans currently hold a 21-19 advantage. However, the lieutenant governor is Ralph Northam (D), who is in a position to break ties in Democrats’ favor. Thus, a net gain of one seat for Democrats would enable them to take back the upper chamber, though they would still need 21 votes sans Northam to pass budgetary legislation (the presiding officer can’t vote on such measures).” It may come down to a suburban Richmond senate district, according to Skelley. “The SD-10 race is a total toss-up, and it may keep everyone up late on Election Night. If Democrats win, they may well regain control of the Senate; if Republicans win, they are almost certain to retain the upper chamber.”
Governor O’Malley challenges Democrats to “find our backbone” on gun control.
There is some good news for Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well. It’s just a snapshot, but Zaid Jilani’s “Poll: More Democrats Now Favor Socialism Than Capitalism” at Alternate reports on an October YouGov poll, which indicates that 49 percent of surveyed Democrats say they have a “favorable opinion of socialism,” while 37 percent said they have a “favorable opinion of capitalism.” This is a significant uptick from May in views toward socialism, when YouGov asked the same question and got a 43/43 tie for socialism/capitalism.
Anything can happen in politics, given the right circumstances. Still, I have trouble putting the words “Trump and “electability” together. But apparently 70 percent of Republican voters don’t have that problem, according to a new Associated Press-GFK poll.
Polls, schmolls. “Betting Markets Call Marco Rubio Front-Runner in G.O.P.,” reports Justin Wolfers at The Upshot. Conservative columnist Russ Douthat also sees increasing an likelihood that Rubio wins the GOP nod, despite polling data suggesting the contrary.

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