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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Here we have an excellent example of the self-defeating myopia of single-issue politics. If one of these GOP Senators wins, and his victory denies the Democrats a Senate majority, not only would President Clinton’s ability to enact significant gun safety legislation be destroyed, but her ability to get a strong gun safety advocate confirmed to the Supreme Court would also be badly compromised.

At Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Alan I. Abramowitz reports on the findings of the Generic Ballot Forecasting Model, including: “…In order for Democrats to gain the minimum of four seats they need to regain control of the Senate (if there is a Democratic vice president to break a 50-50 tie), they probably would need a lead of at least two or three points on the generic ballot and to gain the minimum of 30 seats they need to regain control of the House, they probably would need a lead of at least 13 points on the generic ballot…According to HuffPost Pollster, results of recent national polls give Democrats an average lead of five points on the generic ballot. If that lead were to hold up until the week after Labor Day, the traditional cutoff date for the generic ballot forecast, Democrats would be expected to gain about 16 seats in the House and about four seats in the Senate — not enough to flip control of the House but enough to flip control of the Senate if Clinton wins the presidential election.”

Crystal Ball also spotlights another model, which is more more favorable to Democrats, “The Seats-in-Trouble House and Senate Election Forecasts” by James E. Campbell, which finds that “Based on seven House Democratic seats being rated as only leaning to the Democrats, toss-ups, or tipped toward going to the Republicans, and 33 House Republican seats being rated as only leaning to the Republicans, toss-ups, or tipped toward going to the Democrats — a net of 26 more Republican than Democratic seats-in-trouble — the model predicts that Democrats will gain 32 House seats in November. This would bring the number of House Democrats up to 220 members, two seats more than required for a bare majority. The forecast was made on Aug. 18, 2016…Based on one Senate Democratic seat being rated as a toss-up or tipped toward the Republicans and eight Senate Republican seats being rated as toss-ups or tipped toward the Democrats — a net of seven more Republican than Democratic seats-in-trouble — the model predicts that Democrats will gain seven Senate seats. This would bring the number of Senate Democrats (including two Independents who caucus with Democrats) up to 53 seats, a majority. The forecast was made on Aug. 19, 2016.”

Too often tragedies like the mass poisoning of Flint, Michigan’s water supply fade from the headlines after a short burst of public outrage, with few corrective measures in place, thanks to obstruction by Republicans. The crisis in Flint is symptomatic of other disasters in waiting as result of decades of Republican infrastructure neglect all across America, and there is a disturbing pattern of law enforcement making examples of mid-level officials bureaucrats and letting it go at that, while the more culpable CEO’s and top administrators who threw public safety under the bus are let off. Chase Madar’s NYT op-ed, “The Real Crime Is What’s Not Done” explores the political ramifications of infrastructure neglect, noting “A well-enforced regulatory regime lacks the TV-movie narrative arc of a criminal trial. But none of these crimes could have been committed if the government had been doing its job properly.” What Democrats must do is make it clear that it is the Republicans who are putting public safety at risk with obstruction and neglect across the nation.

Steve Bousquet of the Miami Herald reports that “Republicans and their allies in the state Capitol are flexing muscle in at least three hotly contested Democratic primary races in a covert attempt to define the makeup of the Florida Senate for years to come…In Tampa Bay’s most hard-fought Senate primary where black Democrats could be decisive, a new mailer in support of Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, makes it appear he has the support of President Barack Obama (he doesn’t). The mailer was paid for a committee backed by Republican interests…In Palm Beach County, the same group, operating under the nebulous name Floridians for a Better Florida, is helping Rep. Irv Slosberg, D-Boca Raton, with mailers attacking his rival, Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth.” It would be good if there were more examples of Democrats successfully deploying such a strategy, as did Sen. Clarie McCaskill in her U.S. Senate re-election bid in 2012.

Democrats now know exactly which House seats the GOP is prioritizing to protect or flip, as a result of the GOP Super-PAC, The Congressional Leadership Fund’s (CLF) decision to allocate their $10 million investment, reports Ted Barrett at CNN Politics. “The Congressional Leadership Fund’s spending on TV and digital advertising — as well as get-out-the-vote efforts — is aimed at 12 of the most competitive seats this fall that could determine if Democrats can make up the 30-seat deficit they face now and reclaim the majority after six years out of power.” The targeted congressional seats are in south FL, CA, NB, IA, WI, NY and TX. The non-partisan Sunlight Foundation reported that CLF had a 58.05% return on investment in 2012. The CLF’s largest donor in 2012 was Sheldon Adelson, who gave $5 million. Other major donors included Chevron.

Ben Rosen notes at The Monitor, “Larry Grisolano, who oversaw paid advertising efforts for the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns, predicted in June 2015 that the presidential campaigns will devote nearly a quarter of their spending to digital media…But Nicco Mele, director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, says online advertising is only effective in raising money or increasing voter turnout, not persuading voters to choose one candidate over another…“Television is the most powerful form of persuasion,” he tells the Monitor in a phone interview Wednesday. “The internet is not as effective in changing people’s minds.””

Can Hillary Clinton win a healthty share of the votes of blue collar youth? Rebeccca Nelson probes the possibilities in her TNR article, “The Forgotten Millennials” Nelson observes, “When Clinton talks about millennials, she tends to use the word interchangeably with “college students.” But millennials with university degrees don’t represent their entire generation—just those with the greatest economic and educational advantages. A full 40 percent of young people never made it past high school, according to a recent analysis by CIRCLE, a research center that specializes in youth issues…Politicians tend to ignore working-class millennials for a simple reason: They don’t show up on Election Day. Just 29 percent of blue-collar youth turned out to vote in 2012—about half the rate of those who’d attended college. But in market terms, that political disengagement represents an opportunity for Clinton: CIRCLE estimates there are more than 17 million eligible voters under 35 still waiting to be mobilized—the last big segment of American voters that is genuinely up for grabs….Working-class youth should be Clinton’s for the taking: Fifty-two percent lean Democratic; 34 percent tilt Republican. And because so many are politically disengaged, their leanings are considered “soft,” in campaign parlance: They could be swayed by any candidate with a message that resonates.”

Shameless Gov. Chris ‘Bridgegate’ Christie vetoes a NJ Motor Voter Bill, which “would automatically register voters who are renewing or applying for a driver’s license.” As the Star-Ledger’s editorial “Christie tries to rig the system by vetoing motor-voter bill,” notes “Of all the ways Republicans use voter suppression to influence elections – gerrymandering districts, voter ID laws, purging rolls, shorting voter periods, preventing ex-cons from voting – this is especially odious, because MVC already makes you jump through hoops to prove that you are who you say you are. The only fraud here is the governor’s brand of politics.”

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