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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The New Republic Brian Beutler notes that the Democratic debate revealed that all three of the Dem candidates talked about Trump as if he was the likely nominee. On the other hand, adds Beutler, the notion that Trump is “more reactionary than other candidates in the Republican primary” won’t stand up to intellectual scrutiny.
With its impressive civility, Saturday’s Democratic presidential campaign debate provided a stark counterpoint to any of the GOP debates thus far. Sanders apologized for his campaign’s abuse of database security and Clinton responded “I very much appreciate that comment, Bernie…It really is important that we go forward on this.” Imagine how such a conflict might have played out between Trump and Bush.
Bush on September 10: “You can’t insult your way to the White House.” Bush on December 15: “Donald, you’re not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency.” Bush on December 19: “Just one other thing — I gotta get this off my chest — Donald Trump is a jerk.”
At The Upshot Nate Cohn explains “How Donald Trump Could Win, and Why He Probably Won’t.” Basically, argues Cohn, Trump’s GOP opposition is weak and scattered, but polls indicate that he has “a high floor and a low ceiling,” a bit like Buchanan in 1996.
Perhaps the most telling indication that the budget omnibus agreement reflects well-played Democratic strategy is that the wing-nut press is livid about it, as ‘exhibit a‘ makes clear.
The GOP candidates are tripping over each other, exaggerating their respective working-class narratives as if significant numbers of voters cared all that much. They ignore examples such as FDR and JFK who had strong support from white working-class voters, even though they were from extremely wealthy families. Dems would be wise to avoid such ploys. Most voters, working-class and otherwise, know it’s more about who you are than what you were. How candidates communicate to the working-class may be more relevant. In 2004 Bush II and Kerry both came from big money. But Bush II had a more convincing “regular guy” persona, even though his economic policies were tailored by big bankers and oil barons to screw working people, while Kerry advocated progressive economic reforms.
Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley of Sabato’s Crystal Ball weigh “10 Factors That Will Determine the Next President.” Lots of pertinent insights here, including this nugget: “Without a major independent ticket and assuming a close election, there’s a high probability that about 40 states can effectively be called by Labor Day. The campaigning will thus concentrate on the closest swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia. Republicans will make some effort yet again to win over Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (and possibly a few others) while Democrats will try to replicate Obama’s 2008 win in North Carolina. Maybe the VP nominees will add a state or two to the competitive category.”
At Daily Kos Dave Jarman targets “The most vulnerable House members in 2016, in two charts.
Stuart Rothenberg writes at Rothenblog that “While 81 percent of Democrats responded that they had a positive view of their own party in the late October 2015 survey, only 65 percent of Republicans had a positive view of their party. And while only 5 percent of Democrats had a negative view of the Democratic Party, a considerable three times that of Republicans, 15 percent, had a negative view of the GOP…And among independents, whom you probably assumed were the decisive group? More independents did have a more positive view of the Democratic Party than the GOP (24 percent to 15 percent), but neither number was very good. And just as important, independents had almost identical negative views of the two parties, with 38 percent having a negative view of the Democratic Party and 40 percent having a negative view of the GOP…Just as I reported in that March 2014 column, the Republican brand is now dramatically worse than the Democratic brand because Republicans have a much more negative view of their party than Democrats have of theirs.”

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