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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In the wake of tensions, both real and over-hyped, between the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, New York Times reporters Jonathan Mahler and Yamiche Alcindor ask and address an important question: “Bernie Sanders Makes a Campaign Mark. Now, Can He Make a Legacy?” The legacy Sanders wants is a come-from-behind upset win of the Democratic presidential nomination. But it would be a shame if his coalition evaporates in the event of a Clinton victory. Alcindor and Mahler cite three core issues of the Sanders campaign — universal health care, free college tuition and reducing the influence of wealthy donors in politics. There is a concern that these issues will fade into the background without his candidacy or election. The authors discuss some possibilities for future political involvement of Sanders supporters beyond 2016. Win or lose, Sanders can make a significant contribution by mobilizing his supporters to “adopt” the midterm elections and help candidates who support his three core causes.
At Salon.com Michael Bourne makes the case why “Hillary must pick Bernie for VP: She may even need him more than he needs her.”
Salon.com’s Heather Digby Parton discusses Stan Greenberg’s memo, “The GOP Crash and the Historic Moment for Progressives.” Parton comments on Greenberg’s calculation that about 10 percent of conservatives are willing to vote for Clinton over Trump, “The question is what it will take to get them to vote for Democrats in this election…Where Greenberg sees an opening is in national investment, bank regulation and corporate governance which dovetails nicely with the populist agenda coming from the left wing of the party as well…If Greenberg is right and the Democrats pay attention and all the stars align, we could come out of this with a big progressive win, setting the stage for a fertile time of renewal and progress.”
It appears that Hillary Clinton is on solid political ground in calling for stricter gun control. “A New York Times/CBS News poll in January found that 57 percent of respondents wanted stricter laws governing gun sales, and 88 percent favored background checks for all purchases,” reports Amy Chozick at The New York Times.
I disagree with most of the points conservative commentator Matt Lewis makes in his rambling Daily Beast rant, “How the GOP Went South.” But some of his comments on the affected vernacular of various presidential candidates are on target, specifically his observation that “his father, former President George H. W. Bush, had been mocked as a tax‑raiser and a preppy wimp. George W. Bush did everything possible to be the opposite of that. The adoption of the Texas persona helped, but the younger Bush overswaggered and overtwanged. But hey, he managed to win two elections, and winning is everything, right?” Despite his sheltered preppy background, W did somehow have an ear for ‘regular guy’ chatter, his malapropisms notwithstanding. Although Gore and Kerry both had more real world life experience than Bush II, it was frequently noted that they both seemed a little on the stiff side. Could it be that a more casual persona is worth some votes?
Here’s why now would be a good time for Alabama Democrats to get their shite together. Such opportunities often pop up suddenly, and Dems in red states simply must do a better job of identifying, preparing and funding new candidates to meet the challenge.
Interesting statistical nuggets on the relationship between presidential primary turnouts and winning presidential candidates from Rhodes Cook’s “High Primary Turnouts: Any Clues for the Fall?” at Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Only in the open election of 2008 was there a clear correlation between the primary turnout and the November outcome. That year, 16 million more votes were cast in the Democratic primaries than the Republican ones, which proved a precursor of Democratic success that fall…In 2016, the Republican edge in the primary vote is much smaller than the Democrats enjoyed in 2008. Coming out of the May 10 primaries in Nebraska and West Virginia, the GOP margin stands at 4 million votes and shrinking. Among the eight states left to hold their presidential primaries are deep blue California and New Jersey. And in 2008, more than 2 million more votes were cast on the Democratic than Republican side of the California ballot.”
Quoctrung Bui’s Upshot post “Where the Middle Class Is Shrinking” provides some data that might be useful for targeting political messages and political ad expenditures.
Some salient comments from Sean J. Miller’s post “Republican Consultants keeping faith with facebook” at Campaigns & Elections: “Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate. And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world,” says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. GOP digital consultant Phillip Stutts adds “Facebook is the best targeting advertising platform available,” he said. “Older men and women vote and they are the largest segment joining Facebook right now. It would be political malpractice to our candidates to not use it.” Another GOP digital consultant Ian Patrick Hines echoes Facebook’s “data and ad targeting tools are unmatched.”

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