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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Bernie Sanders experienced a ressurrection of sorts over Easter weekend, winning three Democratic presidential contests, in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington — all by impressively large margins, 82, 71 and 73 percent, respectively and equally impressive turnouts, reports Amy Chozick in The New York Times.
But Harry Enten explains at FiveThirtyEight that “Bernie Sanders Continues To Dominate Caucuses, But He’s About To Run Out Of Them.”
At The Nation D. D. Guttenplan’s “Keep On Running, Bernie!: An active Sanders campaign through June is good for the party and for democracy” observes “Turnout remains the Democrats’ Achilles’ heel: In Ohio, where Trump came in second, he still pulled more votes than either Democrat. Clinton herself seems to get this, declining to endorse the calls for Sanders to drop out. Any other course would leave Trump in sole possession of the media for the next four months…Winning the nomination would be nice, but it’s neither necessary nor sufficient to bring about that goal. Building a durable nationwide network of mobilized, active supporters prepared to keep fighting for universal healthcare, a living wage, and an end to Wall Street welfare and America’s endless wars–including the War on Drugs–and to occupy the Democratic Party in numbers great enough to take it back from its corporate funders is absolutely crucial.”
Julian Zelizer’s “Is Sanders doing Clinton a favor?” at CNN Politics adds, “..In the long run, Sanders may turn out to have been one of the best things to have happened to Clinton’s campaign…Assuming that she does win the nomination, Clinton will emerge as a much stronger candidate and her campaign operation will be in a better position for the fall, thanks to Sanders’ insurgency. Unlike divisive primaries that hurt a political party — such as Sen. Ted Kennedy’s challenge to President Jimmy Carter in 1980 or, most likely, the internecine battle that is ravaging the GOP this year — the Democrats will benefit as a result of the past few months.”
But Joan Walsh argues, also at The Nation, that Sanders can’t win without broadening his base of support beyond white working-class voters.
In “How the G.O.P. Elite Lost Its Voters to Donald Trump,” Nicholas Confessore breaks it down nicely: “While Republicans debated rhetorical approaches, Mr. Trump took a radically different tack. Announcing his campaign a few months later, he spun a tale of unfair trade deals hashed out by lobbyists, backscratchers and incompetent presidents who were stealing jobs from Americans. He would stop the flow of jobs over the border with Mexico, Mr. Trump promised, and build a wall to stop the flow of people…That message has resonated with lower-income voters, and helped drive Mr. Trump’s string of successes. In Mississippi and Michigan, both of which Mr. Trump won, six in 10 Republican primary voters said that free trade cost the country more jobs that it produced, exit polls showed.”
Again at The Times, Amy Chozick and Trip Gabriel see Trump’s wife-bashing as a big plus for Democrats, and note “Mr. Trump has shown a particular weakness among female voters, who favored Mrs. Clinton 55 percent to 35 percent in a New York Times/CBS News poll released this week, twice the gender gap of the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama defeated Mitt Romney. And 31 percent of Republican women said they would be upset if Mr. Trump were the party’s nominee, according to the most recent CNN/ORC poll.”
At HuffPo Pollster Janie Valencia and Ariel Edwards-Levy have some data on the lack of women’s support of Trump: “TRUMP HAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH WOMEN – Carrie Dann: “This month, about half (47 percent) of Republican female primary voters said they could not imagine themselves voting for Trump. (About 40 percent of male GOP primary voters said the same.) Compare that to their relative willingness to accept Trump’s rivals. Only about three in ten female Republican voters say they can’t imagine backing Ted Cruz (32 percent) and John Kasich (27 percent)….When it comes to the general electorate, Trump has an even more pronounced problem with female voters.Trump’s favorability with women overall is a dismal 21 percent positive/ 70 (!) percent negative. With men, it’s 28 percent positive/ 59 percent negative. And while women traditionally vote for Democratic candidates in larger numbers than men, data shows that a Trump nomination would exacerbate the issue for Republicans.”
WaPo’s Amber Phillips addresses a question that is popping up with increasing frequency: “Do House Democrats have a shot at the majority this year?” Phillips says “Democrats would need to sweep most or all of the 27 Republican-held seats that are currently regarded as competitive and then win even more districts to get the magic number 30 needed for a majority. (The current breakdown is 246 to 188, meaning Democrats need to turn 30 GOP seats blue.)…Republicans are defending some 26 districts that voted for President Obama in the last presidential election. Democrats have just five incumbents trying to win reelection in districts that voted for Mitt Romney.”

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