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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“Experts are skeptical,” writes Alex Seitz-Wald at nbcnews,com, addressing the power of ‘Independent’ voters to determine the outcome of New Hampshire’s Democratic primary. Seitz-Wald provides a couple of quotes on point: “Past results show that registered Democrats are likely to make up a majority of the primary electorate. Sanders either has to convince more of these voters to support him or he has to turn out an unprecedented number of independents and brand new voters,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute…Andy Smith, the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said that every year some candidate attempts to capitalize on the ‘myth of the independent voter.’ “It’s just never been the case that independents have really swung an election for a candidate here,” he noted.”
At Rolling Stone Krysten Gwynne predicts “The 5 Next States to See Legal Marijuana” in 2016. All are blue-bluish states, and their Democratic candidates are surely hoping it will boost turnout of younger voters.
From the United States Election Project charts on “Voter Turnout Demographics”:
Turnout chart.png
National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein sees a growing distinction between ‘bridge-builder’ and ‘wall-builder’ populists coming into conflict in the U.S. and Europe: “On both sides of the At­lantic, the lead­ers de­fend­ing an open in­ter­na­tion­al or­der and in­clus­ive do­mest­ic so­ci­et­ies face grow­ing pres­sure to show their ap­proach can im­prove life for the frus­trated, of­ten fear­ful voters flock­ing to the de­fens­ive na­tion­al­ists. The in­su­lar pop­u­lists who would build walls are now banging on the gates.”
In shameless hypocrite news, NJ’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie blasts rival Sen. Rubio for missing senate votes — even though Christie has vetoed bills passed by the NJ state legislature to broaden early voting access and establish automatic voter registration.
At The Upshot Nate Cohn presents an interesting map showing Donald Trump’s strongholds across the nation by congressional district. Cohn comments: “Donald Trump holds a dominant position in national polls in no small part because he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the Republican coalition…He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats. It’s a coalition that’s concentrated in the South, Appalachia and the industrial North, according to data provided to The Upshot by Civis Analytics, a Democratic data firm…Mr. Trump’s huge advantage among these groups poses a challenge for his campaign, because it may not have the turnout operation necessary to mobilize irregular voters.”
AP’s Geoff Mulvihill has an update on “New Laws in 2016 Show States Are Diverging on Guns, Voting.”
While early polls are useless for predicting electoral outcomes, they may have some value to campaigns, argues Elizabeth Williamson in her New York Times ‘Editorial Observer’ post, “The More We Poll, the Less We Know.” As Williamson explains, “Early polls do, however, provide a window into voter concerns, policy preferences and priorities that shift, collide, then eventually coalesce around a single candidate…One recent example is the uptick in support for candidates whom some voters see as best qualified on national security after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, like (inexplicably) Gov. Chris Christie, and the fall of others, like Ben Carson, who haven’t demonstrated fluency on foreign policy.”
I’ll close the year’s Strategy Notes with a question: How can this not spell big trouble for one of the GOP’s top presidential candidates?

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