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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s botched meeting with the president of Mexico and its aftermath has led to an exodus of what remained of his Latino Republican support, damaged the GOP’s Latino outreach even further and generated global ridicule. As Javier Palomarez, president and c.e.o. of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce put it on the Morning Joe show, “He’s done for…He has laid it to waist, and there’s no going back. Remember this one word: “Payaso.” It means ‘clown.'”

For those who were wondering just how bad of a mess Trump could make of America’s international relations, these three headlines and the stories behind them provide an indication: (1.) “Mexican president disputes Trump over border wall payment discussion“; (2.) “Donald Trump Gambles on Immigration but Sends Conflicting Signals“; (3.) and the devastating “Pariahs for Trump: When ISIS Jihadists, North Korea and the K.K.K. Agree on a Candidate.”

From Nate Cohn’s post “Democrats’ Edge in Voter Registration Is Declining, but Looks Can Be Deceiving” at The Upshot: “Democrats are actually registering more new voters than Republicans. In addition, more new voters are registering as independents. These voters are far younger and more diverse than the electorate as a whole, and they appear to lean Democratic…These trends in voter registration aren’t being driven just by Mr. Trump. The changing tallies are a lagging indicator of what we already know: Many voters who used to consider themselves Democrats now vote Republican…Among the approximately one million voters who have registered this year in the seven traditional battleground states where voters can register with a party — New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada — Democrats have an eight-point registration lead, 37 percent to 29 percent, according to data from L2…The Democrats hold this new-voter edge in every state — even the ones where their overall registration tallies have dwindled.” Read Cohn’s post for a more deatiled analysis.

At Politico Gabriel Debenedetti credits the Clinton campaign with some clever moves on the political chessboard, forcing Trump to spend time, money and energy in formerly solid red states, like Utah, Arizona and Georgia — draining valuable resources that Trump needs for battleground states.

In his New York Times column, Thomas B. Edsall sheds some interesting light on New Hampshire politics during his recent visit to a Trump rally in Manchester, including how Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s re-election prospects are being held hostage to her two-faced support for Trump: “Senator Kelly Ayotte, elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, was nowhere to be found in Manchester. She has distanced herself from the Trump campaign as her convoluted equivocation — “While he has my vote he doesn’t have my endorsement” — has drawn national attention, and, in some quarters, ridicule…Facing a tough challenge from Maggie Hassan, the Democratic Governor, Ayotte, who campaigned long and hard for Mitt Romney in 2012, has tried to describe what she calls a “big distinction.”…On one hand, she said “Everyone gets a vote, I do too.” On the other, “an endorsement is when you are campaigning with someone.”…While this is just the kind of distinction without a difference voters are suspicious of, Ayotte is very clearly not campaigning with Trump…Maggie Hassan repeatedly links Ayotte to Trump. In one recent week, Governor Hassan issued eight Ayotte/Trump press releases, starting with “In Just One Interview, Ayotte Praises Trump, Doubles Down on Raising Social Security Eligibility Age & More” and moving on to “In Two Interviews, Ayotte Refuses Multiple Times to Say Whether She Trusts Trump with Nuclear Arsenal” by the end of the week.”

The new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll reveals the major health care concerns shared by registered voters. Among the revelations: The future of Medicare is rated a “top priority” by 66 percent of poll respondents and an “important” priority by an additional 28 percent, while “the cost of prescription drugs” is considered a ‘top priority’ by 53 percent and an ‘important’ priority by another 33 percent. Such numbers suggest Democrats may be able to gain some leverage with senior citizens who have a lot to be concerned about in the Republicans’ refusal to address either of these issues with credible reforms.

For a sobering look at security of voting in the U.S., read “Here’s how Russian hackers could actually tip an American election” by Craig Timberg and Andrea Peterson in the New York Times.

Michael Wines reports in The New York Times how Republicans are manipulating rules of county election boards North Carolina, despite a recent Appeals Court decision invalidating the state’s 2013 voter law, which was designed to suppress African American votes. “In urban Mecklenburg County, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one, the number of registered voters has risen 5 percent since 2012. But the majority Republican plan envisions a nearly 9 percent reduction from 2012 in early voting hours, and would limit balloting to six sites during the first week of the 17-day period, then to 22 sites for the remaining 10 days.”…In Lenoir County Republicans propose “106.5 hours of early voting before the Nov. 8 election — less than a quarter of the time allowed in the 2012 presidential election — and to limit early balloting to a single polling place in the county seat of a largely rural eastern North Carolina county that sprawls over 403 square miles.” NC has 100 counties.

David Brooks faults Hillary Clinton with a lack of “graciousness” in her refusal to cower and grovel in response to any phony “scandal” concocted by Republicans.

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