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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Democrats can rest assured that they have a healthy majority favoring the Affordable Care Act over the Graham-Cassidy alternative, according to a major opinion poll, Amber Phillips reports at The Fix. “A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that more than half of Americans (56 percent) prefer Obamacare to the latest GOP plan. Only 33 percent prefer the bill that Senate Republicans, panicked by a month back home with their base and no Obamacare repeal to show, abruptly put on the table this month…Worse for Republicans: Roughly twice as many people strongly prefer the current law to the Republicans’ plan, 42 to 22 percent…These aren’t necessarily gut reflexes, either. The Post-ABC poll described three aspects of the Cassidy-Graham proposal to voters before asking what they prefer: its elimination of the requirement for nearly all Americans to have health insurance, the phasing out of federal funds to help lower- and moderate-income people buy health insurance, and letting states replace federal rules on health coverage with their own rules.”

From Jonathan Easeley’a post, “Poll: Majority supports single-payer health care“at the Hill: “A slim majority of Americans support a single-payer health-care system that is funded and administrated by the government and eliminates private insurers, according to a new poll…The latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey found 52 percent favor a single-payer system against 48 who oppose it. A strong majority of Democrats — 69 percent — back the idea. Republicans oppose single-payer, 65-35, and independents are split, with 51 percent opposing and 49 supporting…The best-polling aspect of single-payer is the public’s belief that it will cover more people. Sixty-nine percent said it would provide more coverage, including 54 percent of Republicans…Fifty-two percent said a government-run system would save the health-care system money, while 48 said it would be more expensive.  Fifty-two percent said single-payer will improve the efficiency of the health-care system, and 53 percent said they believe they’d be able to keep their current doctor.”

“The so-called health-care industry, which amounts to roughly one-sixth of the U.S. economy, is not an industry at all. It is a chaotic crossroads of many different industries and professions, often in fierce competition, each adapted to its own culture and pursuing its own business model,” David Von Drehle writes in “The real reason health care in America is a mess” at The Washington Post. “Insuring patients is a very different business from treating patients; both are distinct from the business of discovering new medicines and inventing new devices. The pharmacy business is different from the fitness business; suing for malpractice is unlike diagnostic testing…A patient needs the endurance of Shackleton, the determination of Tubman and the organizational skills of Eisenhower planning D-Day.” Von Drehle writes that Graham-Cassidy “strikes me as an awful lot of costly disruption in service of a largely symbolic repeal,” serving its supporters as a “fig leaf to wear at town-hall meetings” and urges”Rather than chase the chimera of repeal, Congress should dig deep into the results of the Affordable Care Act. Adjust, revise, reboot or double down as each target demands.”

In a new Gallup Poll, “Overall, just 22 percent of Americans describe Trump as prepared; 25 percent said he’s consistent; 28 percent said he’s inspiring; and only 32 percent feel he’s courageous,” John Haltiwanger writes at Newsweek. “But 84 percent said he’s competitive; 73 percent feel he’s intense; and 53 percent describe Trump as enthusiastic.”

Writing at CNN Politics, Jennifer Agiesta reports on a new CNN/SSRS poll and notes, “Although President Donald Trump insists otherwise, most Americans say it’s likely that Russian-backed content on social media did affect the outcome of the 2016 election, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS…Overall, 54% say it’s very or somewhat likely that such Russian-backed content on Facebook or other social media affected the 2016 presidential vote, 43% say that’s not too or not at all likely. More appear to see this social media effort as having affected the outcome of the election than said so about information released due to Russian hacking. According to a CNN poll back in January, just 40% said that information was significant enough to change the outcome of the election.”

Watch the ad below for Democratic candidate for Iowa Governor Cathy Glasson. As Taylor Gipple writes at HuffPo, “If the Democratic Party wants to win back working class voters, Glasson is laying the groundwork as an ideal progressive candidate to model.” Glasson has embraced single-payer health care reform, tuittion-free community college, action to stop pollution in Iowa, a $15 minimum wage and a restoration of union membership for Iowa workers. I like how Glasson is shown intensely listening to diverse constituents:

In his Washington Post article, “The mysterious group that’s picking Breitbart apart, one tweet at a time,” Paul Farhi spotlights an innovative economic withdrawall strategy being deployed to check right-wing media: “Sleeping Giants’ basic approach is to make Breitbart’s advertisers aware that they are, in fact, Breitbart advertisers. Many apparently don’t know this, given that Web ads are often bought through third-party brokers, such as Google and Facebook. The brokers then distribute them to a network of websites according to algorithms that seek a specific target audience (say, young men) or a set number of impressions…As a result of such “programmatic” buying, advertisers often are in the dark about where their ads end up. Advertisers can opt out of certain sites, of course, but only if they affirmatively place them on a blacklist of sites….So when an ad appears on Breitbart, Sleeping Giants or one of its 109,000 Twitter followers and 35,000 Facebook followers flag the advertiser, often accompanied by an image of the sponsors’ ad next to a Breitbart story.” Farhi points out that Breitbart isn’t going away as a result of Sleeping Ginats campaign, since it is largely funded by right-wing sugar-daddy Robert Mercer. But more such campaigns to encourage corporate accountability for their support of extremist media would be a welcome trend.

In an excerpt of their book, “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported,” E.J. Dionne Jr., Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein explain why “The election of Donald Trump could be one of the best things that ever happened to American democracy.” Among their observations: “The Trump jolt has done more than force the country to a necessary reckoning. It has also called forth a wave of activism, organizing and, perhaps most important, a new engagement by millions of Americans in politics at all levels. Large-scale demonstrations are part of the response, and so are grass-roots efforts by citizens to confront their legislators at town halls and any other venues where politicians can be found….The need to contain Trump has given life to new forms of organization. People of faith, across traditions, have stood up for the most vulnerable in confronting measures that have targeted immigrants and sought to roll back social protections. Lawyers have organized to combat the president’s travel bans, to protect the rights of undocumented individuals and to challenge Trump’s financial conflicts of interest. Public interest groups such as the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the Project on Government Oversight have expanded their efforts on behalf of political reform, forging new alliances to fight the influence of big money in politics, protect voting rights, end gerrymandering, strengthen anti-corruption statutes and challenge the electoral college.”

Phillip Elliot’s “Divided Democratic Party Debates Its Future as 2020 Looms” at Time provides a fairly conventional “Dems in Disarray” update, along with a plug for two promising Ohio leaders, Congressman Tim Ryan and Senator Sherrod Brown. Taking a step back and looking at the big picture, however, the divisions in question are normal enough for the big tent party, not all that far outside the usual ferment that characterizes the Democrats in years of victory, as well as defeat. But no major media outlet is going to publish a story entitled “Dems Fussing with Each Other, As Usual, But Polls and Record Number of Candidates Indicate They Are in Good Position for 2018 and 2020.” Still, Elliot does shed some light on key challenges Dems face, including:  “A poll from CNN/SSRS in August showed Democrats with an 11-percentage-point advantage over Republicans on a generic congressional ballot….The DNC has been hollowed out, first by Obama’s neglect and then by a Clinton campaign that raided its talent. Now it is trying to play catch-up, sending $10,000 a month to each state party to help add bodies and channel activists’ energy into permanent organizations. But the party is still $3.5 million in the red, and Republicans are outraising it by a margin of roughly 2 to 1…Today only 28% of House Democrats hail from states that don’t touch the Atlantic or Pacific oceans, down from 37% in 2007.”

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