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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

A brutal truth about political messaging from NY Times frequent commenter Mathew Carnicelli: “I think the Democrats are hideous at shaping message,” he said. “They try something for about 10 minutes and when it doesn’t poll well immediately, they drop it. With Republicans, they keep repeating the same message until people believe them.”
Alternet’s Kali Holloway explains “How Delusional Nostalgia Is Killing the White Working Class.” Holloway rounds up data from several public opinion surveys, including The 2015 American Values Survey, and notes “On “reverse racism,” half of white Americans overall agree “discrimination against whites is as big a problem today as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.” But the socioeconomic divide on this opinion is fairly vast. Among working-class whites, a solid majority, 60 percent, believe the tables have turned and anti-white discrimination equals that faced by other historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups. But just 36 percent of college-educated white Americans cosigned this idea. Blacks and Hispanics overwhelmingly reject the notion, by 75 and 71 percent, respectively.”
Just a few weeks before he leaves office, outgoing Democratic Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky has issued an executive order that immediately granted the right to vote to about 140,000 nonviolent felons who have completed their sentences. As Erik Eckholm reports at the NYT, “Kentucky had been one of just three states imposing a lifetime voting ban on felons unless they received a special exemption from the governor. Florida and Iowa still carry the lifetime ban…Convicted criminals in Maine and Vermont do not lose their franchise in the first place and can cast ballots from prison….Despite the policy changes in many states, almost six million Americans are prohibited from voting because of felony offenses, according to the Sentencing Project, a research and advocacy group. The racial disparity is acute: Nationwide, the organization estimates, one in 13 black men cannot vote, a far higher rate than for other groups.”
At The Nation Juan Cole weighs in on the terminology dust-up regarding terrorists-who-claim-to-be-Muslims: “For Baghdadi to call his band of human traffickers, rapists, drug smugglers, and looters the “Islamic State” is rather like a Mexican drug cartel adopting the moniker “the Vatican,” and our adopting that term thereafter (“The Vatican kidnapped 30 people today”) when reporting on its violence. Journalists would resist such linguistic coercion in the case of Catholics; they should resist it in the case of Muslims as well.” Further, adds Cole, “The language of war elevates terrorists to the very status to which they aspire: that of legitimate combatants…The young men recruited by the late petty thief Abdelhamid Abaaoud were, it should go without saying, not soldiers; they were delinquents outfitted with bombs and machine guns instead of stilettos…Abaaoud and his partners in crime deserve no military stripes.”
Arit John of Bloomberg explains “How Snapchat fits into Bernie Sanders’s strategy,” and provides insight into how the platform can be used in political campaigns. “…There is some data to indicate that, while 2016 might not be the Snapchat election, it is, at least, a natural fit for a candidate such as Sanders. Thirty-seven percent of the app’s 100 million daily users are 18- to 24-year-olds, according to the company. After the Aug. 6 Republican debate, Snapchat said 18- to 24-year-olds were more likely to watch the platform’s five-minute “live story” of the debate than watch the debate live on television. Two-thirds of 18- to 34-year-old Snapchat users are likely voters and about a third of all 18- to 34-year-old likely voters use the app, according to an online poll commissioned by Snapchat and conducted by Global Strategy Group and Public Opinion Strategies from Oct. 15-25.”
AP News Wire’s “Democrats planning multi-year strategy to recapture seats” reports on the DNC’s 19-page comeback plan. “Across the nation, Democrats hold 3,172 of the 7,383 seats in state legislatures, or 43 percent. Of the 99 legislative chambers, Democrats only have a majority in 30…The report says the party needs to develop and deploy a “clear, values-based message,” strengthen state parties, protect the right to vote, prepare for redistricting after the 2020 elections and recruit a new generation of leaders.”
Ezra Klein and Alan Abramowitz engage in dialogue at Vox about Nate Silver’s contention that Trump most likely won’t win his party’s nomination. Abramowitz is not so sure, and cites indicators of Trump’s strength: “What I think is different is Republicans are tuned in to a much greater degree than they were at this point in previous nomination contests. You can see that in polling when you ask whether voters are paying attention, and you can see that in ratings for the debates. The idea that voters aren’t tuned in yet and won’t make up their minds till January or later may not prove as true as it has in the past…Because of the higher level of interest and attention this year, these early polls may be more predictive of what’s likely to happen…Trump isn’t only leading in national polling. He’s leading in every state poll I’ve seen. He seems to be ahead in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, Nevada.”
At Salon.com Heather Digby Parton addresses concerns about the term “fascism” being used too loosely in describing Donald Trump, and offers plenty of examples indicating he merits the term. Parton quotes CNN’s M.J. Lee: “”Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” tweeted Max Boot, a conservative fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is advising Marco Rubio…”Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period. Nothing else to call it,” Jeb Bush national security adviser John Noonan wrote on Twitter…Conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Ted Cruz, also used the “F” word last week: “If Obama proposed the same religion registry as Trump every conservative in the country would call it what it is — creeping fascism. Parton adds,”…In his book, “Rush, Newspeak and Fascism” David Neiwert explained that the dictionary definition of the word often leaves out the most important characteristics of the philosophy, which are “its claims to represent the “true character” of the respective national identities among which it arises; and its mythic core of national rebirth — not to mention its corporatist component, its anti-liberalism, its glorification of violence and its contempt for weakness.” If that’s not Donald Trump I don’t know what is.”
One shudders to think who will show for this.

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