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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Regarding Trump’s statements on the racist violence in Charlottesville, one of the better comments comes from Joanathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, quoted in Glenn Thrush’s New York Times article “Trump Condemns Racists, But Creates New Uproar.” Greenblatt cut to the core issue: “The president should make sure that no one on his staff has ties to white supremacists,” Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a telephone briefing on Monday afternoon. He added, “Nor should they be on the payroll of the American people.”…He said that the Justice Department and the Office of Government Ethics should “do an investigation and make that determination” to see if anyone in the White House has had links to hate groups.” As Thrush notes, “Mr. Trump has had a career-long pattern of delaying and muting his criticism of white nationalism. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he refused to immediately denounce David Duke, a former Klansman who supported his candidacy.”

In the wake of hate group violence in Charlottesville, veteran union organizer Gabriel Kristal suggests “A Working-Class Strategy for Defeating White Supremacy” at In These Times, and notes, “Contrary to the narrative put forth in the mainstream—and even some left—media, some of the most significant work confronting homophobia, sexism and racism has been done by working-class people of all ethnicities through collective struggle in the labor movement…We need to reach working people with authentic left-wing populism, which will win against the phony rightwing variety every time…To advance anti-racism on the macro scale, we need to collectively engage in popular struggle, rooted in a left platform that is relevant and intuitive for poor and working people. There should be an immediate creation of a hopeful, broad-based mission that is winnable, which will serve to expand the resistance movement and create an organized majority to kill pernicious nationalism, masquerading as populism…Let’s build relationships, go organize and actually get regular people excited about politics again. That’s how we do the real work to change people’s hearts and minds on race, gender, sexual identity and ethnicity.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is getting lots of favorable buzz for her Netroots Nation speech, which charted a clear course for progressives and Democrats. David Weigel reports that  Warren said, “We’re not going back to the days when a Democrat who wanted to run for a seat in Washington first had to grovel on Wall Street…We’re not going back to the days when universal health care was something Democrats talked about on the campaign trail but were too chicken to fight for after they got elected. It’s not enough just to defend the Affordable Care Act, we’re going to improve it, starting with bringing down the costs of prescription drugs — and leading the fight for Medicare for all…We’re going to fight to make it easier for workers to come together to form a union so they can take power into their own hands. And we’re going to turn the minimum wage into a living wage. Fight for $15!…I say we can care about a dad who’s worried that his kid will have to move away from their factory town to find good work – and we can care about a mom who’s worried that her kid will get shot during a traffic stop.”

Former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell urges a more moderate approach and suggests “5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states.” Writing at The Hill, Rendell, considered a centrist Democrat, urges Democrats to: 1. “Recruit good candidates for governor and state elections; 2. Be the big tent party we as Democrats always say we are; 3. Remember what Clinton said: “It’s the economy, stupid”; 4. Take strong positions but explain how to get them into law, and; 5. Continue to push for changes in how redistricting is done.

“Since leaving office, Obama’s approval rating remains high at 63 percent, according to a Gallup survey conducted in June…“President Obama has amongst the highest Q-rating in the world — exceeding LaBron [James], [Lionel] Messi and George Clooney — and is most certainly the most popular active political figure in the U.S.,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane. “[He] is incredibly popular with base Democratic voters who are critical cohorts in the midterms from a turnout perspective.”…Democratic strategist David Wade added that “it’s a great moment for President Obama to emerge.”…”Unlike many of his recent predecessors, he left office without scandal and with high approval ratings,” Wade said. “And with the incumbent president in the White House bogged down by investigation and deep unpopularity, the contrast is helpful…“Pundits are always going to overthink and overanalyze the pros and cons of having a former president on the campaign trail, but the truth is, there’s little downside. He has unique convening powers to draw a crowd, energize Democrats, make a closing argument, and then it is up to candidates to close the deal.” — from “Obama to re-emerge in ‘delicate dance’ with Dems” by Amy Parned at the Hill.

At PowerPost David Weigel notes a worrisome trend that Democrats better address sooner than later: “In a Politico column that ran shortly before the conference, former Sanders digital fundraising manager Michael Whitney suggested that the DNC faced a donor crisis. Despite bear-hugging the “resistance” movement, the DNC had raised just half as much money as the Republican National Committee in 2017 — $38 million to $75 million — and lagged almost as badly among donors giving less than $200 apiece….“Republicans have quietly taken a decisive edge over Democrats when it comes to small-dollar fundraising,” wrote Whitney.”

Among the most embarrassing statisics about our country, which purports to be the world’s greatest democracy, are the appallingly-low percentages  of women office who hold office in our national legislature, currently 21 percent of the U.S. Senate and 12.9 percent of the House of Reps. To help correct this dismal reality, check out the Center for American Women in Politics web page, “Teach a Girl to Lead,” scroll down and click on your state in the U.S. map to see what sort of political leadership training is available for girls. There is also a link to a list of 244 organizations providing leadership training for girls nationwide.

For women who are considering running for office, the National Women’s Political Caucus has a 55-page booklet, “Diary of a Frugal Candidate (or Running for the First Time),” which could be helpful. According to the NWPC’s description, “We have updated the original “Low Budget Campaigns” to make it a more realistic campaign product for first-time candidates and those in campaigns which have never raised more than $15,000. The major difference is the inclusion of more and better targeting, data-base building, social media and inspiring women to step up and run for these very important, but seldom glorified positions. School board positions, utility boards, community college boards, Tribal councils, union boards and more. This 55 page booklet will provide the basics on how a woman can take the leap and run for her first elected office.” The NWPC is also offering “‘The Complete Training Manual for Women Candidates’…an updated version of our best-selling foundational basic campaign training manual originally completed with funds from the Revson Foundation…This new updated version explodes with it in addition to more information on data-base building, hiring professionals, image (especially the growing importance of a woman’s voice), including diversity among your targeting efforts, social media: what to do and what not to do, website do’s and don’ts, new ways of handling attacks, responding to sexist or racist comments, and much more. 300 pages with addendums.”

Roll Call’s 2018 Election Guide provides a clickable, color-coded map widget that provides basic information on every Senate, House and Governors race. It has clickable tabs for: “Tossup; Tilt; Lean; Likely; Open Seat; Party Turnover; Non-Solid Races; Dem Projected; and GOP Projected.”

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