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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At Democracy Now, Greg Palast explains “How Racist Voter Suppression Could Cost Jon Ossoff the Georgia Election.” Voting rights groups have registeted over 86,000 new voters, but 40,000 of those applications are “missing,” according to Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project. “To be very clear, Jon Ossoff would be the congressional member right now,” says Dee Hunter, director of the Civil Rights Center of Washington, D.C., quoted in the article. “He really would have won the previous special election but for a combination of systemic voter suppression tactics and techniques.”

Senate likely to miss its Obamacare repeal deadline: The prospects of Republicans meeting their deadline of a Senate health care vote before the end of the month are bleak — and growing more so by the day,” reports Jennifer Haberkoprn at Politico. “…The Senate could still rush to get the bill passed in two weeks…But it’s unlikely they’ll make it. Even if they resolve their biggest disagreements, they still have to write the rest of the bill, send the full text to the Congressional Budget Office, await the agency’s score and keep 50 Republicans together through a lengthy series of procedural votes on legislation that would reshape one-sixth of the American economy — all with Democrats trying to slow them down every step of the way.”

At The Atlantic Russell Berman explores “How Democrats Would Fix Obamacare,” and notes, “The Democratic ideas fall roughly into two categories: proposals that might attract support from Republicans as part of a short-term fix if the repeal effort fails, and those that will only be viable if the party can retake one or both chambers of Congress in 2018. Murray’s renewed call for a public insurance option— which would compete with private insurance in the marketplace—almost certainly falls in the latter bucket. Democrats fell a few votes shy of including a public option in the 2010 law, but the idea faces staunch opposition from Republicans and insurance companies who see it as a slippery slope to a completely government-run health-care system.”

Robert L. Borosage writes at The Nation that  “Infighting Is Good for the Democratic Party: Given recent failures, isn’t it time to debate ideas and strategy?” As Borosage explains, “…This isn’t about a consensus politics, in which the only question is which team—the red shirts or blue shirts—wins the game. The challenge is how to forge a broad majority for fundamental change in a country desperately in need of it…Democrats need a big debate about what can be done—and there is no better time to have it then when the party is out of power. The populist revolt that is roiling politics here and abroad isn’t going away. The Sanders-Warren wing of the party has energy and passion. They are armed with a narrative of what went wrong, a bold agenda for change, and a growing grassroots organizing and funding capacity. The debate within the party isn’t a diversion or a liability. It is a necessary step to recovery.”

“About 61% of us think Trump tried to obstruct or impede the Russia inquiry, a survey from the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found.” — From Josh Hafner’s USA Today article, “Most Americans think Trump committed a felony, poll shows.”

In his New York Times column, Thomas B. Edsall addresses a topic of paramount interest to ‘big tent’ Democrats, “Where Democrats Can Find New Voters.” Among his insights: “Democrats, however, know that they need to get more votes from workers without college degrees, and that their best opportunity to do so is among service workers…More than half of low-paying service jobs are held by women, many of them minorities, who are much more sympathetic to the Democratic Party than men generally and white men in particular…Union officials estimate that there are 64 million workers across the country who make less than $15 an hour. “Only half are registered, and only half of them voted. 48 million of them did not vote in 2016,” one union leader, who asked not to be identified so that he could be forthright, told me.” Edsall quotes politcal pollster and Democratic strategist Stan Greenberg: “I think there really is potential for Democrats to gain here. This is a real insight into what is possible.”

Reid Wilson writes at The Hill that “Democrats have, in effect, built themselves into a geographic box, one that hinders their ability to reclaim control of the U.S. House of Representatives and makes it difficult to win the Electoral College and the White House…While clustering may be good economics, it doesn’t make a winning political coalition. Democratic voters are overwhelmingly likely to live in deep-blue congressional districts and less likely to live in swing states critical to both parties’ paths to winning the Electoral College…Only five of the nation’s 50 largest cities delivered margins for Clinton large enough to swing entire states her way: Denver, Portland, Ore., Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C., which has three electoral votes.”

The Plum Line’s Paul Waldman hones in on current Democratic strategy and identifies three critical goals: “Find a way to defeat the GOP health-care bill..Maximize the chances of winning the House in 2018 (the Senate is theoretically possible but much tougher)” and “To paraphrase Mitch McConnell, make Donald Trump a one-term president…the primary power available to congressional Democrats in all these battles is their ability to raise a stink — to ask tough questions in hearings, to give interviews, to go on television and rail at the administration’s misdeeds and the villainy of the other side’s policy proposals. Which it sure looks as though they’re doing, even if they’ll surely make some mistakes along the way.”

In their Monkey Cage post, “More states are registering voters automatically. Here’s how that affects voting,” Robert Griffin, senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress and Paul Gronke, director of the Early Voting Information Center write“…We analyzed Oregon’s automatic voter registration system — a result of the 2015 law known as Oregon Motor Voter (OMV). We found that in less than a year, OMV registered over 270,000 new voters, and more than 98,000 of them voted in the 2016 election. Compared to citizens already registered, these automatic registrants were significantly younger and lived in places that had lower incomes, lower levels of education, more racially diverse populations and lower population densities. And while programs that register more voters are usually thought to benefit Democrats, we found that wasn’t entirely the case…We don’t know yet whether Oregon’s results represent automatic voter registration systems everywhere. If they are, then we can expect increased voter registration, resulting in an electorate that better represents U.S. citizens as a whole.”

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