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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From John Stoehr’s “The Donald’s Trump Card Isn’t an Ace: The media narrative that Donald Trump is winning over white working-class voters is false” at U.S. News: “That Trump performed more or less on par with his rivals in Rust Belt states suggests that his supporters were already firmly conservative or already primed to choose any Republican, populist or otherwise, according to Andrew Levison, author of “The White Working Class Today” and analyst for “The Democratic Strategist,” a journal of public opinion and strategy. Indeed, Levison observed in a March white paper, Trump performed best not with Midwestern Reagan Democrats but with white working-class Southerners. This, he argued, isn’t due to Trump’s “right-wing version of economic populism” but “the racial and xenophobic elements of his platform.”

In his NYT op-ed explaining why Trump is perpetrating “Working-Class Fraud,” Timothy Egan observes, “Trump’s solution to the woes of working families is to slap a 45 percent tariff on goods coming from China. The Chinese would retaliate, of course, meaning American companies that sell aircraft, medical equipment and vehicles to China — part of the $116 billion in exports there last year — would have to cut jobs to make up for losses.”

Ed Kilgore has a reminder that “The Working Class Isn’t All That White Anymore” at New York magazine: “While Sanders has (by my back-of-the-envelope calculation) carried non-college-educated white voters in 14 of the 24 primaries and caucuses with exit polls (Hillary Clinton won them in six states, and they were basically tied in the other four), he’s lost non-white non-college-educated voters just about everywhere. That shouldn’t be a footnote. Nor should the frequent comments on the political left about Clinton betraying “the working class” and now suffering the electoral consequences go unchallenged without some attention being paid to her robust support among working folks who happened to be non-white or non-male.”

At The American Prospect Rich Yeselson has a review article discussing Tamara Draut’s pre-Trump book, “Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America” and prospects for rising class consciousness as a political force. Yeselson observes, “..People make their own history, but not always in the humane ways we would hope–working-class agency isn’t always a positive social force. The weakness especially of private-sector unionism is critical here because, as Draut notes in a perceptive aside, when unions wane, “what’s also lost is the civic participation and political education unions provide.” While unions don’t guarantee interracial and ethnic solidarity–again, see Western Europe–they are, as of now, the only organizations we have that, in their normative goals and often their actions, encourage just that.”

In his post, “Bernie Sanders’s Legacy? The Left May No Longer Need the Rich,” Nate Cohn reports at The Upshot that “According to exit poll data, liberals represented a majority of white Democrats without a college degree in nearly every primary contest. It’s a huge change from just a decade or two ago, when so many white working-class Democrats were conservative (check out this 1995 Pew Research typology of voters if you want to see what the Democratic base used to look like). Mrs. Clinton tended to win “moderate” white voters without college degrees in these states, but she lost among the self-described liberals…A lot of this is a generational divide. Mrs. Clinton won among white voters without a college degree who were over age 30, but she was pummeled among those who were younger.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 of his state’s citizens who have completed their felony sentences has awakened the fury of the Republican establishment, which threatens to sue to prevent it, mostly because VA is a major swing state. The New York Times editorial board notes that “Virginia’s voting ban, like most of the others that collectively disenfranchise about six million Americans, is a 19th-century relic rooted in racism — a direct reaction to the passage of the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed African-Americans the right to vote…Politicians in Virginia were blunt about their motivation. In 1902, when Virginia’s voting ban was expanded at the state’s constitutional convention, Carter Glass, a state senator, said its purpose was to “eliminate the darkey as a political factor in this state in less than five years, so that in no single county of the Commonwealth will there be the least concern felt for the complete supremacy of the white race in the affairs of government…Before Mr. McAuliffe’s order, one in five black Virginians was permanently barred from voting because of a past felony conviction.”

It’s just a snapshot, but Clinton and Trump are in a stat tie in a new GA poll.

At The Fix Chris Cillizza explains why “The GOP’s electoral-map problem is not about Trump. It’s about demographics.” Cillizza reasons, “if Clinton wins the 19 states that every Democratic nominee dating to her husband has won and she wins Florida (29 electoral votes), she wins the White House. It’s that simple…Or if she wins the 19 reliable Democratic states and Virginia (13 electoral votes) and Ohio (18). Or the 19 states plus Nevada (6), Colorado (9) and North Carolina (15)..You get the idea. There are lots and lots and lots of ways for Clinton — or any Democratic nominee — to get to 270 electoral votes. There are very few ways for Trump — or any Republican nominee — to get there.”

The Cook Political Report puts it this way: “As a result, we are shifting 13 ratings on our Electoral Vote scorecard, almost all of them favoring Democrats. Our assessments are based on publicly available polling, data on demographic change and private discussions with a large number of pollsters in both parties. Much could change, but undecided voters begin more hostile to Trump than Clinton…With these changes, 190 Electoral Votes are in the Solid Democratic column, 27 are in Likely Democratic and another 87 are in Lean Democratic – enough for a majority. Yet another 44 Electoral Votes are in Toss Up. Although Iowa, New Hampshire and Ohio could shift to Lean Democratic and Nevada could shift to Likely Democratic, we are holding off on changes in these states until we see more evidence. “

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