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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Strategic voting — as a Republican — anyone? That’s what Andrew Abramson discusses in “Why Democrats Could Consider Registering Republican To Stop Trump: It’s a lot to digest but at the end of the day Democrats can realistically control Trump’s future” at HuffPo. Abramson writes, “assuming that Trump is still in office and continuing his assault on American decency, he could be stopped even before the 2020 general election…Expect several mainstream Republicans to enter the race. The primaries might seem like a lifetime away but debates will begin two years from now…Perhaps Republican voters will come to their senses and choose a candidate who at least seems mentally capable of leading the country. Democrats could ensure that happens if enough of them vote in the Republican primary. In closed or semi-closed primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Pennsylvania that means changing their party registration from Democrat to Republican after the 2018 midterm elections.” Abramson cautions that the “strategy could ultimately end with a non-Trump Republican president — and if that’s the case is it better or worse for the country?”

Ed Kilgore reports on “The Growing Battle Within the Progressive Left Over Medicare-for-All” at New York Magazine, and notes “There is a split happening among left-of-center folk over health care. On the one hand, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is pushing the party to make support for single-payer health-care — often referred to as “Medicare-for-All” — a litmus-test issue. On the other hand, both policy and political concerns about the feasibility of Medicare-for-All are spreading, even among highly self-conscious progressives…It is unclear at this point whether the argument within the progressive left over single-payer will eclipse the long-standing argument between left and center over health-care policy. So long as Obamacare remains under imminent threat from Republicans, it’s unlikely Democrats will go to war with each other over what should eventually replace it.”

At Vox, Lyman Stone discusses the problems and benefits of “devolving power to states and cities” as a trend that could, in some cases, win support from both conservatives and progressives. As Stone writes, “…Today, some on the left have begun to make common cause with conservatives and argue for devolution: not as much to states as to cities, where progressives hold most political power. But conservatives have balked: As blue cities have responded to Federal gridlock by experimenting with progressive policies at the municipal level, red states have intervened, passing laws to interdict local efforts on topics like the minimum wage, on allowing transgender people to choose the bathroom they want to use, and other subjects…The result is a confusing hodgepodge, and probably a recipe for getting nothing done. But the crucial insight of distributism, as Chesterton described it, is that decentralization of power requires more than just devolution of a few powers here or there, but a society-wide commitment to transferring power, authority, and responsibility back down the totem pole…”

For insight about Trump’s flip-flop on Afghanistan, read E. A. Crunden’s Think Progress post, “Why did Trump just reverse course in Afghanistan? The answer may be underground,” which notes, “For Afghans, U.S. interest has value. Many Afghans feel that an ongoing U.S. presence in the country is key to stability, and fear an exit could do more harm than good. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, indicated to Reuters in June that capturing Trump’s attention is seen as a net positive…“President Trump is keenly interested in Afghanistan’s economic potential,” Mohib said. “Our estimated $1 trillion in copper, iron ore, rare earth elements, aluminum, gold, silver, zinc, mercury and lithium. That’s new.”

The Washington Post Editorial Board hones in on an issue that should be of overriding concern for Democrats and progressives: “…even if all 1,500 Confederate symbols across the country were removed overnight by some sudden supernatural force, the pernicious crusade to roll back voting rights would continue apace, with voters of color suffering its effects disproportionately. Pushing back hard against those who would purge voter rolls, demand forms of voter ID that many Americans don’t possess, and limit times and venues for voting — this should be a paramount cause for the Trump era…Mr. Trump’s voter fraud commission is at the vanguard of this crusade, and the fix is in. Its vice chairman, Kris Kobach, is the nation’s most determined, litigious and resourceful champion of voter suppression. Under his tutelage, the commission is likely to recommend measures whose effect will be that new obstacles to voting would be taken up in state legislatures. Millions of voters are at risk of disenfranchisement from this effort, and the knock-on effects of such a mass act of disempowerment are dizzying.”

Yet another reason to vote Democratic in the midterm elections next year from Luke Graham at cnbcnews.com: “A win for the Democrats in Congress next year may push U.S. President Donald Trump to resign rather than face a possible impeachment, says a political risk analyst…”If the Democrats win in 2018 as far as the House of Representatives, they can then actually publish the tax returns of the president,” John Raines, head of political risk at IHS Markit, told CNBC’s Street Signs…If the Democrats gained a majority in Congress, they could take control of certain Congressional committees. Some of these committees have the power to request anyone’s tax returns, including those belonging to the president. These committees could then share the returns with other members of the committee or make them public.”

Former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, Robert Reich, makes a case that Trump has been so damaged recently by his Charlottesville comments, the Bannon resignation, the Obamacare repeal debacle, the investigation into his Russia ties and sinking polls, that impeachment is not the Democrats bnst strategem. “Although Trump will still hold the title of President, he’s on the way to being effectively removed from the presidency. Neutered. Defanged…We’re not out of danger. Trump will continue to rant and fume. He’ll insult. He’ll stoke racial tensions. He could still start a nuclear war…But, hopefully, he won’t be able to exercise much presidential power from here on. He’s being ostracized like a obnoxious adolescent who’s been grounded.”..When the media stop reporting his tweets, his isolation and irrelevance will be complete.

With respect to the Bannon resignation, Charles Pierce explains “Why I’ Not Popping Corks Over Steve Bannon’s Exit: Paul Ryan, and others like him, now see an opening to influence Trump’s future.” at Esquire:…While it’s even more entertaining to speculate what vengeance Bannon and his army of angry gnomes could wreak on this presidency*, I am not going to be turning handsprings along the Charles over this development. First, it’s eight months overdue and both Stephen Miller and the ridiculous Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D. are still there. Second, I decline at the moment to believe that Bannon will be blocked entirely on the president*’s cell phone. And third, given that this is a president* who would require his paper boy to sign a non-disclosure agreement, I think it’s reasonable to speculate that Bannon’s silence will be handsomely remunerated. But there’s one more general reason that I am not popping corks over this…Whatever else he was, Bannon was one of the few people in that operation who still at least was making mouth noises about economic populism after inauguration day. I have to think that the various corporate sublets in the Republican congressional leadership—Paul Ryan, chief among them—are looking at Bannon’s departure as an opportunity to lead a president* who knows nothing about anything right down the trail of corporate oligarchy. I’m glad he’s gone, but there’s still enough left to concern us all.”

Not that the Gianforte mugshot will necessarilly make a difference in the next MT-1 election. But it will serve as an ever-present reminder of his bullying character.

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Jack Olson on

    In the first place, it is illegal to disclose a taxpayer’s federal income tax return without his permission. In the second place, to use the IRS for partisan political purposes is an abuse of its tax collection authority and the Democratic Party paid a dear political price for that during the Obama administration. In the third place, if the Democrats win the House but it turns out that Trump isn’t clearly guilty of any sort of tax fraud, the political consequences would be disastrous in 2020. Finally, the Democrats’ political problem isn’t President Trump, it’s the Trump voter, who cannot be impeached.


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