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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At PostPartisan James Downie ruminates on “How Clinton’s debate win could change the race” and notes, “The cringe-worthy moments piled up for Trump, such as saying that he rooted for the housing collapse because “that’s called business” and interrupting moderator Lester Holt’s question about “what do you say to . . . people of color . . .” with “I say nothing.” When Clinton suggested he might be hiding his tax returns because he doesn’t pay any federal income tax, Trump interjected, “That makes me smart,” seeming to imply that Clinton’s charge was correct. He also perpetuated the birther issue by repeating the debunked claim that Clinton’s campaign started it.  The tax returns and birther responses were easily some of Trump’s least popular answers with the dial group voters across the board. (Republican consultant Frank Luntz found similar results.)

My read of the polls and focus group comments following the first debate is that Trump’s strongest card is his ability to articulate the rage many working-class voters feel about jobs being exported to other countries. Clinton may be wasting her efforts defending her track record on the issue — too complicated  to explain for soundbite-focused media. Better she should hit Trump a lot harder on his outrageous hypocrisy on the topic — the way he has exploited cheap foreign labor in his business, his shady international operations, his hidden tax returns masking his offshore operations, to name a few. She should also remind white workers of Trump’s shameful record of stiffing subcontractors. Clinton did a  good job in calling out his two faces on the issue in the first debate. But she and her campaign should double-down on the topic and blast him on it at every opportunity.

Steven A. Holmes explores “The truth about the white working class: A mosaic of their own” at CNN Politics, and notes “While support for Trump is relatively strong across the board among working-class whites, there are significant differences among different groups…Men over the age of 50 are among the Republican nominee’s strongest backers with 68% of voters in this group saying they would consider voting for him, compared to 51% of women who are 50 years or older…Rural (68%), suburban (66%) and Southern (70%) working-class white voters voice support for Trump in larger numbers than urban dwellers (49%) and those living in the West (54%) and Midwest (53%). And 78% of working-class white voters surveyed who say immigrants are a burden on the country say they would consider voting for him, compared to 38% who of those who believe immigrants strengthen the country.”

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and FLOTUS Michelle Obama are campaigning hard for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in an effort to improve her share of young voters, reports Byron Tau at The Wall St. Journal. It would be hard to pick three better youth ambassadors for HRC. All three are highly-popular among younger voters. Some good ads featuring popular musicians, actors and athletes targeting media favored by college students and young blue collar workers might also  help. What value endorsements may have likely results from their influence on generating peer persuasion, which seems to be lacking in the Clinton campaign at the moment.

At PowerPost Stuart Rothenberg explains why “Media hype aside, Clinton still has the edge in this race.”

Democrats take note: Noam N. Levey reports at The L.A. Times that A new Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 78% of respondents want “new restrictions on how much pharmaceutical companies can charge for high-cost drugs for illnesses such as hepatitis or cancer…More than eight in 10 Americans favor allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug makers to get lower prices on medications for people on Medicare, a move that the pharmaceutical industry and its supporters in Congress have blocked for years….And 86% of Americans support new requirements on drug companies to release information on how they set prices.”

Google reports a “huge spike,” particularly in Florida, in searches for “registrarse para votar,” which translates into “how to vote,” reports Philip Bump at The Fix. There is no data, however, revealing whether the uptick was concentrated more in the Cuban-American or Puerto Rican communities.

Again at The Fix, in his post, “Democrats are coming into November in a familiar position: Urgently needing to push turnout,” Philip Bump probes the voting propensities of pro-Democratic constituencies, and finds that data from the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows African American and young voters a little behind the 2012 pace in their stated intentions to vote, while Latino voters are showing more interest in voting. Also “Those who support Clinton are more likely to say they plan to vote this year than those backing Obama said at this point in 2012.”

Another “Aleppo moment” for Gary Johnson adds to his “not ready for prime time” image.

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