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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

The next Democratic President should do this:

From M.J. Lee’s “Strong economy could help Hillary Clinton, Democrats” at CNN Politics: “The Labor Department announced Friday that the U.S. economy added 271,000 jobs in October, pushing the unemployment rate down to 5%. To put that figure in perspective, the last time the jobless rate was 5% was in April 2008…The most striking bright spot in Friday’s report was wage growth. After remaining stubbornly stagnant, average hourly earnings rose 2.5% — the best gain since 2009″…”This is a very good report. And it’s not just the headline number but the fact that average hourly earnings are up,” said Gus Faucher, a PNC senior economist. “If I were a Democrat I would be making a lot of hay out of it.”
Austerity’s fruits even worse than progressive economists predicted, writes NYT columnist Paul Krugman.
At The New Yorker Margaret Talbot’s “The Populist Prophet: Bernie Sanders has spent decades attacking inequality. Now the country is listening” provides one of the best 2016 presidential candidate profiles to date.
“The presidential race is the main event. It has everything: It has glamour, it has money, it has power — it’s showbiz. It’s an attraction,” Pelosi said Thursday. “And off years are like the lounge act. Who goes there — right?” — from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, as reported in Eric Bradner’s CNN Politics post, “The Democrats’ off-year election crisis.” Some other observations from Bradner’s post include the suggestion that “the DNC launch and fund a national training program for state parties — which would then train local parties. A particular focus: Teaching the new voters the party has attracted in recent years the importance of voting in every race — not leaving the polling place with the first few boxes filled in an a massive “undervote” by failing to vote down-ballot. That problem reached record levels in 2008.” Other Democrats pointed to messaging…”I think it’s communicating a clear message on policy and policy differences,” said Holly Shulman, a Democratic strategist and former DNC official…The now nearly nine-month-old DNC task force document suggested a “national narrative project” to advance the premise that electing Democrats everywhere — not just to top national offices — is what’s necessary to promote some policy priorities.”
Bradner’s article also contains a clue that the Kentucky governor’s race may not have been just a spanking for Democrats: “Some Democrats said Kentucky’s results aren’t a useful check on where the two parties stand a year away from the presidential election…Their argument: The Democratic candidate, Attorney General Jack Conway, shied away from taking any Democratic-sounding positions. And two other statewide candidates, including failed 2014 Senate nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes as secretary of state and another Democrat as attorney general, actually won.” — despite a 31 percent turnout.
The Guardian’s Washington political correspondent Ben Jacobs praises Rachel Maddow’s forum with Democratic presidential candidates: “The forum may not sway many voters. It lacked fireworks and the type of “gotcha” moments that have defined the most widely seen presidential debates. However, the format did lend itself to substance and serious discussion. It may not have altered the arc of the Democratic campaign, but it left voters knowing a lot more about all three candidates who appeared.
Patrik Jonsson’s Monitor post “Do Democrats have a viable strategy to win back the South?” explores the possibility that Democrats are doing poorly in the South in large part because they have neglected the white working class in the region, as well as nation-wide. Johnson quotes Andrew Levison, who notes “The “harsh reality for Democrats is that they cannot achieve … [their] objectives without increasing their support among white working class Americans,”… it’s impossible to write off working Americans in all of the Red states or in all non-urban areas and still have a stable and enduring Democratic majority…”
in Politico’s ‘Democrats look to ride Clinton wave to Senate control:The party is angling to expand the electoral map by fielding strong recruits in red states like Missouri and Arkansas,” Burgess Everett and Kevin Robillard survey the Democratic senatorial field for 2016 and find some unexpected opportunities and a couple of problem races. The most glaring weakness for Dems seems to be the lack of a formidable candidate in NC to beat Sen. Richard Burr, who currently has dismal approval ratings.

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