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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At npr.org Domenico Montanaro notes “A majority of Americans think President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was “not strong enough,” according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll….Fifty-two percent of respondents said so, as compared with just over a quarter (27 percent) who thought it was strong enough…As to be expected when looking at questions of the president’s leadership, there’s a partisan split — 79 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents agree that Trump wasn’t strong enough, but 59 percent of Republicans believe he was…The poll also found a strong consensus across the political spectrum that the car attack should be investigated as an act of domestic terrorism — 67 percent overall said it should be. By party, 76 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents, 60 percent of Republicans, even 58 percent of Trump supporters agree.”

Ronald Brownstein explains “How Trump’s Reaction to Charlottesville Threatens the GOP” at The Atlantic: “Through Trump’s first months, the danger of him branding the GOP as intolerant has steadily smoldered, as he’s rolled out polarizing policies on undocumented and legal immigration, crime and policing, affirmative action, and voting rights. He’s also moved to reverse protections for transgender Americans in schools and the military…But Trump’s belligerent response to the unrest in Virginia has detonated this slowly burning fuse. His pointed refusal to unambiguously condemn the white-supremacist and neo-Nazi groups who gathered there may crystallize, in a way no policy debate could, the picture of him as racially and culturally biased, particularly among younger voters. “The truth is, I bet that Millennials have not paid that much attention to the policy stuff he’s done,” said Andrew Baumann, a Democratic pollster who has extensively surveyed the generation. “But I think Charlottesville is a whole different thing. This is a watershed moment.”

Harold Meyerson has “A Post-Charlottesville To-Do List for Anti-Trumpers” at The American Prospect, subtittled “Some ways to counter the neo-fascists and their president.” Among Meyerson’s  really good suggestions:”Mount ongoing vigils or demonstrations at the nation’s anti-fascist, anti-racist monuments. In the nation’s capital, that would include both the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II memorial in the middle of the National Mall. The World War II Memorial should get special attention, with demonstrators making constant reference to the thousands of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on—or, among the very old, their buddies—who gave their lives to defeat the most virulent anti-Semitism and racism the world has ever known, and making clear that neo-Nazis and Klansmen make a mockery of that sacrifice, and of the nation’s ideals. Invite World War II veterans to attend—we could start with Bob Dole. If neo-Nazis and their ilk want to show up to counter-demonstrate, so much the better…Progressive elected officials at all levels of government should try to enact resolutions calling for the impeachment or, that failing, the censure of President Trump. Of the various charges that could be brought, my preference is to indict him for giving aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States…Some Democratic members of Congress have already introduced a censure resolution. Progressives should urge their representatives and senators to support it, as well as to support an impeachment resolution, on grounds including those listed above. Democrats should raise these measures constantly once Congress reconvenes after its summer break, and accuse Republicans who don’t support them of either cowardice or bigotry”

As for neo-fascists using Johnny Cash”s image in their repulsive demonstrations, Johnny Cash’s family ain’t having it. Gabriel Bell shares Cash’s family’s facebook statement at salon.com: “We were sickened by the association…Johnny Cash was a man whose heart beat with the rhythm of love and social justice.” After noting Cash’s extensive involvement in and achievements on behalf of progressive, anti-racist causes and groups, the statement continues, “His pacifism and inclusive patriotism were two of his most defining characteristics. He would be horrified at even a casual use of his name or image for an idea or a cause founded in persecution and hatred. The white supremacists and neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville are poison in our society, and an insult to every American hero who wore a uniform to fight the Nazis in WWII…We ask that the Cash name be kept far away from destructive and hateful ideology.”

In his article, “How to break the 40-year working class losing streak,” Jeffrey D. Sachs writes in The Boston Globe “So what do workers really need? First, a clear national goal of decent wages and working conditions for everyone; second, a new era of union organizing, aimed especially at the low-wage service economy; third, an increase in the minimum wage; and fourth, a boost in social wages, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicare for all, and free college tuition for all households in need. The improved social benefits would be financed by ending the Middle East wars, closing corporate tax loopholes, and slashing the costs of health care and tuition…Could labor really stage a rebound after 40 years of nearly continuous retreat? You bet. Just look at the defeat of the Obamacare repeal effort, Trump’s collapsing poll numbers, the advance of minimum wage legislation in many states and cities, and America’s growing revulsion at the politics of divide and conquer.”

From “The Sheer Number Of Democrats Running For Congress Is A Good Sign For The Party” by Seth Masket at fivethirtyeight.com: “Since 2010, there had been more Republicans than Democrats filing to run for Congress in every election cycle…Ed Kilgore ran a similar analysis recently at New York Magazine, drawing from a longer time series made available by the Campaign Finance Institute. The main finding was that Democrats hold an enormous advantage in early candidate filings for the 2018 midterm elections. In particular, if we limit the analysis to the number of challengers to House incumbents who have filed for next year and have raised at least $5,000 — in an effort to narrow our sample to truly viable candidates — we see a record advantage for Democrats right now…Of the 237 House challengers who raised at least $5,000 for the 2018 midterms by the end of June, 209 of them (88 percent) are Democrats…What a large number of challengers does create is a better recruitment environment. If there are several challengers from whom to choose in a particular race, a party can pick the strongest nominee.”

PowerPost’s David Weigel reports an interesting development — that “The Democratic National Committee is jumping into the ongoing waves of protests that have followed Saturday’s events in Charlottesville, launching a #RiseAndOrganize campaign to direct activists toward electoral politics…“In addition to calling on Republicans to denounce Trump, the next step is getting people to commit to vote,” explained DNC chief executive Jess O’Connell. “This is a galvanizing moment…The #RiseAndOrganize push is the latest example of the Tom Perez-era DNC taking cues from political protests, in the hope that people will soon be ready to pivot from marches to voter canvasses.”

Using Alan Abramowitz’s model for predicting the outcomes of upcomming gubernatorial races, Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball provides a thougthful reassessment of Democratic hopes for winning governorships in 2017 and 2018, and concludes “After Gov. Jim Justice’s (R-WV) surprising decision to switch parties, the Republicans are at a high water mark of gubernatorial control: They control 34 governorships, the Democrats hold only 15, and Walker of Alaska, an independent, holds the 50th seat. Given how overextended they are, that may be a peak, and Republicans may be down a net governorship by November if Democrats can pull off a sweep in New Jersey and Virginia. We also expect Republicans will lose net governorships next year, but they certainly have the potential to limit the damage, and Democrats will have to work hard and potentially get a few breaks to net the six seats (or more) that the Abramowitz model currently projects. Gubernatorial races are not as nationalized as House and Senate races, but Democrats can potentially weaponize Trump’s poor standing against Republicans this year and next if his numbers don’t start to recover.”

It looks like Democrats are getting ready to test the old saw that you can’t prepare too soon. As Tarini Parti reports at Buzzfeed, “Democrats are already preparing for a possible 2020 presidential bid by Vice President Mike Pence, with a major group dedicating staff — including on the ground in Indiana — to dig up dirt on him, amid rumblings that Pence is positioning himself for a run….American Bridge 21st Century — a Democratic opposition super PAC and nonprofit funded by liberal megadonors — is leading the effort, which started earlier this summer and kicked into high gear following a New York Times story reporting on Pence’s “shadow campaign.”..The vice president has denied having intentions to run, but he has been meeting with top donors and has set up a leadership PAC that has already raised $540,000, as President Trump continues to make comments on race and other issues that are making Republicans increasingly uncomfortable.”

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