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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Among the “Five lessons from the GOP’s failed effort to repeal Obamacare” by Paige Winfield Cunningham at The Daily 202: “1. You can’t easily cut a government program that 69 million benefit from…3. You can’t replace concrete health benefits with a big question mark…4. You can’t win with bad grades from the Congressional Budget Office.” Do not hold your breath, waiting for Repubicans to learn these lessons.

“Single women, minorities and millennials could have a dramatic impact on the 2018 midterm elections—if they register to vote and show up…Called the Rising American Electorate (RAE) in the study, the group in 2016 for the first time made up a majority of the voting-eligible U.S. population…There were nearly 133 million eligible voters in the RAE, comprising 59.2 percent of the U.S. voting-eligible population, researchers said. What’s more, the total number of RAE voters rose by more than 8 million between 2012 and 2016, while the number of voters outside that demographic concurrently dropped by about 3.5 million. But while turnout among the RAE has increased in recent elections, its members “still do not register to vote or turn out in proportion to their share of the population,” researchers said…As of now, “42.7% of vote-eligible Latinos, 39.3% of vote-eligible Millennials, 30.6% of vote-eligible African-Americans and 32.5% of unmarried women are unregistered,” researcher Celinda Lake said in a statement. “We must get these voters on the rolls in 2018…researchers project a major drop-off in turnout in 2018 compared with 2016: While overall turnout in nonpresidential cycles tends to be lower, the study predicts one in three RAE voters who showed up in 2016 will not cast a ballot in 2018. Of 40 million U.S. voters expected to “drop off” in 2018, 25.4 million are expected to be RAE voters, versus 14.4 million from non-RAE demographics…Millennials were the most likely to cite a lack of interest (41.1%) and were also the most likely to miss registration deadlines (16.2%). Latinos were the most likely to cite eligibility issues (12.2%).” — from Celest Katz’s Newsweek article, “Sign Up to Vote: these Americans Could Affect 2018 Elections If they Turn Out, Study Says.”

At The Atlantic, Russell Berman discusses “A Reckoning for the GOP’s Go-It-Alone Legislative Strategy: A party-line approach failed congressional Republicans on health care. Why are they using the same one for tax reform?” Now that the Graham-Cassidy tax bill, masquerading as Obamacare repeal, has tanked, Republicans turn to the task of passing a new tax law, possibly without any Democratic support. Republicans howled that the Senate apssed Obamacare without any Republican votes. But the difference is, Democrats got 60 Senators to vote for it, which is not the same as going it alone with just 50 votes — the GOP’s current tax “reform” strategy. Berman notes, further, “Democrats have…told Republicans that while they were not going to help them repeal their signature legislative achievement of the last decade, they were willing to work on tax reform if the GOP was serious about targeting the benefits to the middle class instead of the wealthy, and if their plan would not add to the deficit. Republicans, however, don’t want to be boxed in on either demand. And the plan President Trump and congressional leaders will unveil on Wednesday is expected both to spike the deficit and cut taxes for top earners.”

At The Nation, Steve Phillips argues “To Win in Midterm Elections, Turnout Is Key: Every dime and day spent trying to show Trump voters the error of their ways is a lost opportunity” and notes “…The outcome of non-presidential year elections depends in large part on voter turnout. And this reality combined with a new report from the Voter Participation Center and Lake Research amounts to a bright, flashing warning sign for Democrats heading into the 2018 election cycle. Absent significant course corrections by progressives, the turnout of people of color and progressive whites is likely to fall dangerously low next year, scuttling the golden opportunity to recapture control of the body that can impeach a president…Analyzing Census and election data, the VPC/Lake report concludes that, based on those past trends, the turnout of people of color, white millennials, and white unmarried women—cornerstones of the Obama coalition—will fall by 35 percent from 2016 levels, accounting for 25.4 million fewer voters from those critical constituencies. For African Americans, the rate is projected to drop 30 percent. For Latinos, the report estimates a decline of 36.5 percent, and for Millennials the drop off is pegged at a dismaying 54 percent…We see studies and articles and special initiatives targeting white working class voters, but nothing—literally nothing—focused on understanding, engaging and mobilizing people of color and progressive whites (including the progressive wing of the white working class). Where is the national conference, the high-level task force, and, most importantly, the multi-million dollar budget focused on addressing the most important key to winning back the House—preventing drop off among core Democratic voters?”

Here’s an encouraging statistic for Dems: “Since Trump’s election, Democrats have flipped eight GOP-held seats at the state level,” notes Rebecca Savransky at The Hill, “and Republicans have yet to flip a seat in 27 special elections.”

In her Politico post, “Majority of voters say Trump isn’t fit to be president,” Emily Goldberg writes that a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday had “51 percent of respondents saying they are embarrassed to have Trump serve as president….The poll reports that 59 percent say Trump is not honest, 60 percent say he does not have good leadership skills and 61 percent say he does not share their values….Fifty percent of white voters say Trump is fit to serve, while 94 percent of black voters say he is not fit for the role; Hispanic voters are split 60 percent to 40 percent. Overall, 62 percent of voters disapprove of the way the president has handled race relations. Sixty percent of voters say Trump is doing more to divide the country than unite it….Men are divided 49 percent to 49 percent, while 63 percent of women say Trump is not fit…Forty-nine percent of voters in the poll are in favor of Democrats winning control of the Senate in 2018.”

Also at The Hill, Cristina Marcos reports, “Democratic lawmakers began calling for Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price to resign on Wednesday following a series of reports about his use of private jets at taxpayers’ expense. Five House Democrats joined together to demand Price’s resignation, hours after President Trump said he’s “not happy” with his health secretary’s pattern of costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to ride on private planes.“At a minimum, the American people expect cabinet secretaries to lead with integrity, accept accountability, and use public resources responsibly. In light of your breach of the public trust, we write to urge you to do the right thing and immediately tender your resignation,” Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego (Ariz.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Brenda Lawrence (Mich.), Jamie Raskin (Md.) and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) wrote in a letter to Price.”

Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has a long article addressing the question, “Can We Pay for Single Payer?” at Democracy Journal. Baker analyses the complex economic considerations involved and concludes, “The current political environment is presenting a great opening for progressive health-care reform. This opening could be wasted if progressives are not willing to work for a wide range of reforms that would extend coverage and reduce costs and, instead, insist on a single-minded focus on single payer. The new proposal that Sanders put forward with 16 Senate co-sponsors offers the sort of flexibility needed to structure a workable incremental approach. This is a huge step in the right direction.”

Esquire’s Charles Pierce has a message for a certain goup of Alabama’s Republican voters: “Any report about Roy Moore that doesn’t specifically refer to him as a right-wing extremist is not worth your time. No more “firebrand.” No more impotent yap about his “controversial views.” Roy Moore is an extremist or the word no longer has meaning…Moore’s opponent is a guy named Douglas Jones. In 2001, Jones convicted two men for the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963, one of the iconic white supremacist terrorist acts of that period. One of those bastards already died in prison and the other keeps getting denied parole. If you’d rather be represented in the Senate by a lawless theocratic lunatic, rather than a guy that finally got justice for four murdered little girls, well, you deserve anything that goddamn happens to you.” E. J. Dionne, Jr. adds in his syndicated column, “Jones has the potential to be a strong candidate, but some Democratic strategists have counseled against committing substantial resources to a state where successes for their party have been scarce. Advocates of a major undertaking on behalf of Jones see this as precisely why taking on Moore would be worth the gamble. Jones could do in Alabama this year what Republican Scott Brown did in a 2010 special election in Massachusetts: demonstrate the dominant party’s vulnerability going into the midterm elections by capturing a Senate seat far inside opposition territory. A Jones win would also cut the Republicans’ already tough-to-manage Senate majority to a bare 51 seats.”

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