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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The New York Times Thomas B. Edsall frames a question many are wondering about: “How could a candidate with as much baggage as Trump be neck-and-neck with one of the most admired, best credentialed and most broadly experienced nominees in the history of the Democratic Party?” Edsall elaborates, “The unrelenting assault from the right and the left on her integrity and competence, conducted both by Republicans and by her opponent for the Democratic nomination, appears to have taken a toll. Clinton has been under attack from the right throughout her 25 years in the national arena. The Sanders critique from the left has served to deepen her negative ratings…One alternative for Clinton is to try to elevate the campaign debate to issues of judgment, temperament and experience, as Lyndon Baines Johnson was able to do when he ran against Barry Goldwater in 1964. This is clearly terrain where she holds an advantage. But so far this year no one who has faced Trump has been able to change the conversation.”
Paul Krugman has a ‘Conscience of a Liberal’ post up on “The Truth About the Sanders Movement.” Krugman offers a list of categories to pidgeonhole Sanders voters including: Genuine Idealists; Romantics; Purists; “Clinton Derangement Syndrome” Victims; and “Salon des Refuses.” Krugman may be too dismissive here of issue-oriented Sanders voters. He should also add a category for “Strategic Lefties” — those who see support for Sanders as a way to push Clinton to embrace a more progressive policy agenda, which has worked out rather well.
At Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Alan I. Abramowitz explains “Why Democratic Unity Could Be Easier to Achieve This Time: Donald Trump and Barack Obama.” Among Abramowitz’s observations: “…Because of the extraordinarily negative opinions that Democratic voters currently hold toward Trump, even a fairly tepid endorsement by Sanders may be sufficient to convince the vast majority of his supporters to cast their ballot for Clinton in the general election…A somewhat greater concern for Democrats in 2016 may be ensuring that Sanders’ youthful supporters actually make it to the polls. A much larger share of Sanders backers than 2008 Clinton backers are under the age of 30, which means they are probably less reliable general election voters. The Clinton campaign clearly will need a strong get-out-the-vote effort and all the help they can get from Sanders in motivating his young supporters to turn out in November.”
Dan Roberts of The Guardian sees Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a potent unity advocate for Democrats. “Warren remains a senior party figure,” explains Roberts, “perhaps the only one other than Barack Obama who is respected by both halves of a divided Democratic party.”
And Warren’s message on the essential role of government in facilitating entrepreneurship and private enterprise still resonates:
Warren's Message.jpg
It’s time for Democratic candidates and campaigns at every level to start raising holy hell about the need for infrastructure upgrades that will provide millions of needed jobs. Rene Marsh, David Gracey and Ted Severson spotlight the public safety threat [posed by “America’s infrastructure: Beams disintegrating under bridges” at CNN Politics. As the authors note, “As former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says, “We’re like a third-world country when it comes to infrastructure…Nearly 60,000 bridges across the country are in desperate need of repair…According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, every state has some degree of bad bridges that need to be repaired. In Los Angeles, CNN found trees growing out of cracks in a bridge. In Chicago, netting is in place to protect drivers from falling concrete….According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, bridge infrastructure investment needs to be increased by $8 billion annually. The society said that increase would address the estimated $76 billion in needs for deficient bridges across the United States.”
When your crazy uncle starts ranting about Clinton’s emails, refer him to this link.
At The Upshot Josh Katz and Kevin Quealy review historical data since 1980 to provide an answer to the question, “When Should You Start Worrying About the Polls?” With respect to this political moment, the authors note, “At this point – 167 days before the election – a simple polling average has differed from the final result by about nine percentage points. …But this far out, a simple polling average is not particularly helpful at predicting the final result. (An analysis from the political scientists Robert Erikson and Christopher Wlezien concurs. That analysis focused on the correlation of polls with the final result, instead of the difference in percentage points.)…The day before the voting, an unadjusted polling average has been about 3.5 points off the final result.”
Also at The Crystal Ball, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley say “Libertarians Should Have Their Best Presidential Election Ever.” Kondik and Skelley note that “early polls suggest that the Libertarian ticket is taking about equally from the two major parties.” My hunch is that later polls will show the Libertarians doing significantly more damage to the GOP.

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