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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Here’s an excerpt from Democrat John Bel Edwards’ inspiring victory statement on winning the Louisiana governorship: “This election shows us that the people of Louisiana in a time of deep cynicism about our politics, and also about our future, that the people have chosen hope over scorn, over negativity,” Edwards told a crowd of supporters at his victory party at the Monteleone Hotel. “I did not create this breeze of hope that’s rolling across our beautiful and blessed state. But I did catch it…”This breeze has its roots in the songs of the Louisiana Hayride, the food of our cajun ancestors, the spirituals of our African-American churches and the faith of our Italian … strawberry farmers, and the energy of Native Americans and our Hispanic immigrants. No I didn’t start the breeze of hope, but I did catch it. And so did you.”
Wish we could say that Edwards’ win is a beachhead for Dems in the South. But, with benefit of hindsight, it’s hard to imagine a more beatable incumbent than Vitter, as The Fix’s Phillip Bump explains — nor a tougher candidate to take him on. Still the 12-point margin of victory is impressive, and Edwards deserves credit for relentlessly pounding Vitter’s scandal and shrewdly coupling it with Vitter’s failure to support veterans. Edwards won’t be sworn in as Governor until January. But don’t be surprised if he makes the short list of potential 2016 running mates.
Here is the “answering the call” ad that has been credited with helping Edwards:
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Perfect storm that it was, the reverberations of Edwards’ victory may indeed help Dems get some traction down the road, as Tim Murphy’s Mother Jones post “Louisiana Just Voted to Give a Quarter of a Million People Health Care” suggests. Matthew Yglesias adds at Vox, “This was the issue on which Edwards positioned himself as an orthodox Democrat and he won. It’s also the issue on which a number of Republican governors in the midwest and southwest have felt the need to compromise.”
The Republicans’ Medicaid expansion blockade is also starting to crumble in Georgia, reports Jim Galloway in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “On Dec. 4, up in the northwest corner of Georgia, Hutcheson Medical Center will close its doors for the last time….The Fort Oglethorpe institution, which once employed 900 and had an annual payroll of $29 million, will be the fifth hospital in Georgia to fail in the last two years. To describe the clientele that the 179-bed facility once served as overwhelmingly Republican is to dabble in understatement. The hospital’s obituary is sure to reignite the debate over whether the state should find a way to come to terms with Obamacare and extend Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands of Georgians who lack health insurance…”This greatly hinders the state’s hopes of ever bringing another industrial or IT firm or any other major employer into that area. It really hurts those efforts,” Robinson said. “All those jobs move to Chattanooga, at the closest.””
Already he’s waffling about a third party run, and that’s a good thing…for Dems.
Alec MacGillis’s NYT Sunday Review article “Who Turned My Blue State Red? is generating buzz with his explanation why “Parts of the country that depend on the safety-net programs supported by Democrats are increasingly voting for Republicans who favor shredding that net.” MacGillis presents Pew Research polling data indicating that “likely nonvoters” more often need or receive government assistance than do “likely voters.” Further, argues MacGillis, those who are doing a little better than aid recipients are often quite critical of government benefits and its recipients. But rather than voting against Democrats, it’s more the reality that they have “become profoundly disconnected from the political process” and don’t vote, which has turned some blue states and localities red. MacGilliss’s proposed policy remedies seem like very long-term solutions. Democrats may need to focus more on targeting their GOTV with a little more precision to reach the “profoundly disconnected” nonvoters.
CNN’s Eric Bradner reports that “Republicans split on guns for terror watch list members,” forcing GOP candidates to make a problematic choice: piss off the NRA or voters concerned about national security.
And the most unpopular governor in the U.S. is…

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