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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

It looks like strategic voting by the French left has dashed Front National leader Marine Le Pen’s hopes for the presidency, report AP’s Elaine Ganley and Angelina Charlton.
Waleed Shahid, political director of Pennsylvania Working Families Party, has a perceptive post on “Donald Trump and the Disaffected, White, Working Class Voter” at Colorlines. Shahid observes, “Today the political poles are again moving farther and farther apart. An angry base of White, working and middle class voters emboldened by the Tea Party movement, Fox News and Trump are pulling Republicans in the direction of xenophobia and racism which Millennial movements for racial and economic justice and immigrant and LGBTQ rights are pushing Democrats toward a more inclusive society. Just like before the Civil War, these differences concern central, competing ideas about the heart of the United States. They explain why common sense reforms on gun violence, immigration, welfare, policing and finance have virtually no chance in passing in our broken system.”
Apparently the “back room deal” trial balloon of the GOP establishment isn’t playing so well.
Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball sketches “The Down-Ballot Outlook as 2016 Approaches,” noting that “The upcoming battle for the Senate depends to a large extent on the presidential race; Democrats should gain House seats but not truly threaten the GOP’s big lower chamber majority; and Republicans are positioned to add to their already-substantial majority of governorships. That’s the early line on next year’s down-ballot contests…”
At Demos Policy Shop Sean McElwee reports on a new study “by political scientists Stephen Ansolabehere and Brian Schaffner, the most comprehensive examination of voters and nonvoters that has ever been performed,” reveals serious problems regarding voter turnout and the data behind it, including: “…Very few Americans vote regularly, in fact, only 25% of Americans voted in all four elections. A whopping 37% voted in none of the elections. The other 39% of the population participated with varying frequency: 13% voted in only one election (generally Presidential), 12% in two, and 14% voted in three (most missed a single midterm)…Ansolabehere and Schaffner find that a stunning 63% of those who did not actually vote in 2010 reported that they did vote on CCES.”
“In 2008 only 8.1 percent of voters reported voting for a different party than in 2004. In 2012, it hit an all-time low, with only 5.2 percent of Americans voting for a different major-party nominee,” reports Peter Grier in his Monitor cover story, “Why swing voters are vanishing from US politics.” Grier adds, “Meanwhile, the percentage of “standpatters” – people who vote for the same party over a series of consecutive elections – has risen correspondingly and is now approaching 60 percent of Americans of voting age. (Nonvoters and periodic voters account for the rest.).”
GOP voter suppressers on a roll in Michigan.
WaPo columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. explains why “Trump should be no match for the moderate majority.” Dione says “We have heard the words “Trump leads in the polls” for so long, you’d think he had taken the entire country by storm. In fact, Trump is not broadly popular. He leads only in a minority subset of the population — depending on the survey, projected Republican primary voters or Republicans combined with Republican-leaning independents. Neither of these groups represents a majority of Americans…But it also matters that Republican primary voters constituted only 38 percent of those interviewed by the Times/CBS pollsters. If you take 35 percent of 38 percent, you are talking about 13 percent of Americans. This is almost exactly the same percentage that George Wallace, who ran a racist-populist third-party presidential campaign, won in 1968 against Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey….Was the Wallace campaign important? Yes. Did Wallace speak for anywhere close to a majority of Americans? No. The same is true of Trump.”
National Journal’s Jake Flanagin explains why “Ted Cruz Is More Dangerous Than Donald Trump”: Flanagin notes, “The thing is, Cruz isn’t merely a toned-down ver­sion of Trump. He’s just as con­ser­vat­ive, just as volat­ile, though prob­ably a little less er­rat­ic. And this makes him all the more dan­ger­ous, from a pro­gress­ive point of view…Es­sen­tially, he matches Trump tit-for-tat on most every con­ser­vat­ive idea­lo­gic­al mark­er. But un­like Trump, Cruz is ut­terly and com­pletely de­voted to a pur­ist, con­ser­vat­ive cause. And his abil­ity to mask zealotry with polit­ic­al rhet­or­ic renders him an ex­po­nen­tially more po­tent can­did­ate.”

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