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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The Plum Line Greg Sargent quotes from an interview he conducted with pollster and Democratic strategist Stan Greenberg, focusing on white working-class voters and Hillary Clinton’s prospects: “Michigan will end up making her a stronger candidate, both in the primary and the general election,” Greenberg told me this morning. “It will lead her to be focused more on change and the economy…This will enable her to unite the party, and compete for working class voters in the general against Trump,” Greenberg concluded. “She’s going to win. She’ll be stronger when she wins in the right way.”
Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein of Brookings write, “”The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier–ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” That passage, which framed a core part of the argument of our 2012 book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, was vilified by conservative commentators, called a rant and a parody…Fast forward to 2016. Incredibly, Republican destructiveness is even worse than it was four years ago–and the party is paying for it with a surge of anti-establishment populism that is tearing apart its coalitional base…The Trump disaster, especially if it leads to a Democratic sweep of the 2016 elections, may provide the basis for a major rethinking and realignment of a deeply dysfunctional Republican Party.”
Naturally the media is full of let’s-you-and-her-fight yada yada about how tense and angry was last night’s Democratic presidential debate. For a more level-headed take, however, read “Anti-Trumpism Won the Democratic Debate: Both Sanders and Clinton went all-in on pro-immigrant policy, making a good long-term bet for Democrats.” by Pat Garofalo at U.S. News.
Lots of agonized hand-wringing from pollsters and poll analysts about the utter failure of polls in Michigan. Carl Bialik does a painful post-mortem in his FiveThirtyEight post “Why The Polls Missed Bernie Sanders’s Michigan Upset.”
Sorry GOP establishment whiners. Trump is not winning your decaying party’s presidential nomination because Dems are crossing over in the primaries.
For a more in-depth look at underlying issues presaging the collapse of the GOP, read “Why Donald Trump Is Winning and Why His Nomination Could Shatter the Republican Party” by Alan I. Abramowitz, Ronald Rapoport, and Walter Stone at the Crystal Ball. Among the authors’ observations, reporting on their national survey of 1,000 registered Republican and independent voters: “…We examined the relationship between Trump support and a variety of factors that have been identified as possibly explaining reactions to Trump’s candidacy: authoritarianism, nativism, and economic liberalism. The results…show that there were strong relationships between all three of these predictors and where respondents ranked Trump among 11 possible Republican candidates…In addition to authoritarianism and nativism, economic attitudes also predicted support for Trump. In contrast to most other Republican presidential candidates and, indeed, most other prominent Republican officeholders, Trump has sometimes veered from conservative orthodoxy on economic issues…If we combine authoritarianism with nativism and economic liberalism we get an even stronger prediction of Trump support…a Trump candidacy would almost certainly produce serious divisions among GOP leaders and voters, potentially leading to the election of a Democratic president and major Republican losses in down-ballot contests, including key U.S. Senate races.”
Need a lift from the political doldrums? Try David Nir’s Kos post, “In a miraculous set of victories, Kentucky Democrats keep their state House out of Republican hands.”
One of the stronger arguments for Democrats nominating Hillary Clinton is that her presidency would serve as a source of inspiration for more women to get into politics. It seems obvious, which may be why there has been surprisingly little discussion about it. I say stronger because the gross underrepresentation of women in federal, state and local elective offices is highly consequential. How can we have legislatures that do a good job of serving American families and children when women are largely locked out of the decision-making process? Of course all of the caveats apply, e.g. – women can be reactionary leaders too (Palin, Bachman etc.) and, yes, a progressive male is going to be more family-friendly than a right-wing female. But overall, we can’t expect balanced decision-making in our democratic institutions when women are only 20 percent of the U.S. Senate, 19.3 percent of the House of Reps, 12 percent of Governors, 24.5 percent of state legislators, and 19 percent of the mayors of America’s 100 largest cities? (sources also at: Center for American Women in Politics) Getting more women into elective office across the U.S. should be a much higher priority for voters. A Clinton presidency can only help that and the argument is made stronger by her impressive experience. When girls and young women see a woman leader in the white house, more of them will see themselves as potential leaders. America needs that.
You can make a case that the real “Super Tuesday” is March 15, when FL, OH, IL, NC and MO pick their delegates. That’s not as many states as the 13 on March 1, but it does include 4 of the 11 most populated states. Plus MO ranks 17th in population. That’s a big bundle of delegates, and it includes several major swing states. Further, writes Leada Gore at Al.com: “The day is particularly important as it marks one of the first times a winning candidate can take all of a state’s delegates. Past primaries awarded proportionately, with the highest vote getter getting the most delegates. The March 15 primaries include some winner-take-all states – Florida, Missouri and Ohio,” with FL as the largest of the 50 states to award all of its delegates to one candidate.

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