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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At U.S. News Stan Greenberg, CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, co-founder of Democracy Corps and author of “America Ascendant,” reports on “The Trans-Partisan Trade Revolt: Voters of both parties are pressuring politicians to oppose corporate influence over trade.” Noting that “A stunning 62 percent of white working class men oppose the [TPP] deal, a third strongly,” Greenberg argues that Hillary Clinton’s critique of the proposed deal resonates well with two significant groups of voters: “We should avoid some of the provisions sought by business interests, including our own, like giving them or their investors the power to sue foreign governments to weaken their environmental and public health rules.” Greebeerg adds, “That is the kind of message that moves the most pro “free trade” Democrats to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership but also engages the Republican base voters activated by Trump.”

In his nationally-syndicated column, “What have you got to lose with Trump? For working class, a lot,”  E. J. Dionne, Jr. quotes from President Obama’s recent speech in Philadelphia that “across every age, every race in America, incomes rose and the poverty rate fell,” that “the typical household income of Americans rose by $2,800, which is the single biggest one-year increase on record” and that 3.5 million people were lifted out of poverty, “the largest one-year drop in poverty since 1968”? Dionne adds, “He wasn’t exaggerating. The median household income hit $56,516 in 2015, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from 2014, and the gains of Americans with lower incomes were bigger than those of the well-to-do. We have a long way to go to ease our inequality problems, but we haven’t seen broadly shared income growth like this since the late 1990s when, as Clinton would point out, her husband was president.” Dionne continues, “Should blue-collar voters risk blowing the gains by taking a chance on Trump? Obama had something useful to say about this Tuesday: “He spent most of his life trying to stay as far away from working people as he could. And now this guy is going to be the champion of working people? Huh?”

Paul Krugman addresses a question of growing concern in his “The Conscience of a Liberal” blog at The New York Times, “Why Are The Media Objectively Pro-Trump?” Krugman explains, “…It’s not even false equivalence: compare the amount of attention given to the Clinton Foundation despite absence of any evidence of wrongdoing, and attention given to Trump Foundation, which engaged in more or less open bribery — but barely made a dent in news coverage. Clinton was harassed endlessly over failure to give press conferences, even though she was doing lots of interviews; Trump violated decades of tradition by refusing to release his taxes, amid strong suspicion that he is hiding something; the press simply dropped the subject.”

At slate.com Jim Newell’s “Gary Johnson Is Not Worth Any Liberal’s Protest Vote: He’s a free-market ideologue who would work to undermine large pieces of the left’s program” notes: “…in Thursday’s fresh new New York Times/CBS News national poll…Clinton and Trump are tied at 42 percent apiece in a four-way race. “The third-party candidates draw their strongest support from younger voters,” the Times writes. “Twenty-six percent of voters ages 18 to 29 say they plan to vote for Mr. Johnson, and another 10 percent back Ms. Stein,” about the same as in the just-released Quinnipiac poll.

Kevin Drum’s Mother Jones post “Why Are There Any Liberals Supporting Gary Johnson?” shows that the Libertarian presidential candidate’s economic policies are more right-wing than those of Trump on some major issues. At Rolling Stone Tessa Stuart has Johnson quotes on many of these issues.

“The share of religiously “unaffiliated” people in the country — atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” — increased from about 16 percent in 2007 to about 23 percent in 2014, according to a Pew Research study last year…A Pew poll this year found that religious “nones” make up one-fifth of all registered voters in the country — about in line with the percentage of white evangelical Protestants, who comprise a crucial piece of the Republican coalition…In the Pew poll this year, more than a quarter of Democratic and Democrat-leaning voters were religiously unaffiliated. Overall, about two-thirds of the unaffiliated said they supported Mrs. Clinton over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump — about in line with the percentage who supported President Obama at the same point in 2012 over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.” — from David Sherfinski’s “Candidates face rising ‘nontheist’ voting bloc” at the Washtington Times.

NYT reporter Michael Wines has unearthed a host of videos and quotes by Republican officials bragging about and acknowledging their efforts to suppress voting and voting rights of groups who tend to vote Democratic. Among those quoted, Todd Allbaugh, 46, a staff aide to a Wisconsin Republican state legislator, explains why he quit his job and party: “I was in the closed Senate Republican Caucus when the final round of multiple Voter ID bills were being discussed. A handful of the GOP Senators were giddy about the ramifications and literally singled out the prospects of suppressing minority and college voters. Think about that for a minute. Elected officials planning and happy to help deny a fellow American’s constitutional right to vote in order to increase their own chances to hang onto power.”

Charlie Cook spotlights a mistake the Clinton campaign may be making, which he has seen in many other campaigns: “One of the biggest mis­takes that cam­paigns make is to over-sched­ule a can­did­ate…A lot of can­did­ates are over-sched­uled, something that of­ten leads to polit­ic­al mis­takes, men­tal er­rors, or health is­sues. Some­times it is the fault of cam­paign op­er­at­ives pil­ing too much in­to the sched­ule; oth­er times, it is a can­did­ate who won’t say no, adding events to an already full sched­ule. But bad things hap­pen to ex­hausted can­did­ates. Either their brains lose track of their tongues, or they break down phys­ic­ally, of­ten at in­op­por­tune times… It would be per­fectly nor­mal for someone with a back­break­ing sched­ule to dial it back and re­cu­per­ate. Be­sides, it could double as some quiet de­bate prep.”

Both Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium and Sabato’s Crystal Ball poll analysts see a very clear narrowing of the presidential race improving Trump’s chances. But their analyses probably does not reflect the disgust of swing voters in reaction to Trump’s ugly, unapologetic walkback of his birther lies. Wang does qualify his analysis of this political moment by citing the plausible scenarios in Glen Thrush’s Politico post, “5 reasons Trump might fall in autumn: The GOP nominee’s surge is real, but perishable.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    If you want to understand the question of left wing voters not embracing Hillary you should focus on her and not on the increasing support for third options, a question that didn´t arise under Obama (even though Obama and Clinton policies aren´t so far apart).


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