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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

William A. Galston argues at Brookings that “Data point to a new wave of female political activism that could shift the course of US politics.” Noting a new Gallup report “documenting a substantial rise in Americans’ discontent with the position of women in U.S. society. 37 percent espoused this sentiment in 2018, compared to 26 percent in 2008…All of the change occurred among Democrats. 43 percent of Democratic men were unhappy about the status of women, compared to 29 percent a decade earlier. Discontent among Democratic women moved even more, soaring from 38 percent to 62 percent. Meanwhile, sentiment among Republicans did not budge: 15 percent of men and 18 percent of women expressed discontent in both 2008 and 2018…Taken together with the MTV/PRRI survey, these findings suggest that Democratic women are poised to become the leading edge of calls for fundamental change in the treatment of women in U.S. society. The political effects of their mobilization in the 2018 midterms and beyond will be one of the major story-lines for analysts during the next few years.”

Thomas B. Edsall’s New York Times op-ed, “Will Women Lead the Democrats to Victory?” reviews additional data and adds more evidence to the argument, including this observation by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake: “In an email, Lake argued that the issue of sexual harassment will motivate young and unmarried women to vote, that it has already helped restore Democratic loyalty among college-educated women and that it will improve prospects for women running for office….For many women, according to Lake, “there is a continuum from sexual assault to sexual harassment to bad social and dating behavior,” all of which can help motivate female voters.”

In his ABC News post, “Analysis: Republican strategists say Democrats virtually certain to win House in 2018,” Jonathan Karl reports, “Prominent Republicans are now saying privately that Democrats are virtually certain to win control of the House of Representatives…As one senior Republican on Capitol Hilltold ABC News, “If the election were held today, the House would be gone. Fortunately, the election is not today.” Another prominent Republican strategist working on the midterm elections went further, telling ABC News point-blank that Republicans will lose the House and that this prospect unlikely to change.“The only question is whether Democrats win narrowly by picking up 25 seats or whether it is a blowout of more than 35 seats,” the strategist told me.”

At New York Magazine Ed Kilgore comments on the political reverberation’s of Trump’s environmental policies in California: “Aside from the tax bill’s unique unpopularity in California, Trump has definitely damaged his and his party’s brand in the state with the Interior Department’s recent announcement that the state’s coasts will probably be reopened to offshore drilling in federally controlled waters. There haven’t been any new federal leases for offshore drilling in California since 1984, and the very idea tends to produce strong bipartisan opposition. Inadequate or tardy federal response to California’s horrific wildfires by the Trump administration or the Republican Congress is another big potential problem for the GOP.”

Despite’s Trump’s destructive and racist comments about U.S. immigration policy, it’s encouraging that Sens “Graham, Durbin introduce bipartisan immigration bill despite setbacks,” as Tal Kopan and Daniella Diaz report at CNN Politics. “Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced their bill Wednesday afternoon with Sens. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, putting the bill close to having enough votes to pass the Senate, assuming unanimous Democratic support, but not quite to the 60-vote threshold needed to advance legislation…The bill appeared to be the same that was presented to President Donald Trump last week, when the President, using vulgar terms, rejected the pitch, according to sources familiar with that meeting.” Although the bill has little chance of enactment at present, it does highlight Trump’s incompetence bipartisan consensus, as well as his bigotry.

WaPo conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin explains “How the Republicans are blowing their blame game,” noting, “The Republican gambit to blame Democrats — who control neither the House, Senate nor White House — for failure to keep the government running was always a long shot. They are, as they keep reminding us, in charge and have the majorities to keep the government funded. Nevertheless, they’ve tried to convince dubious voters that Democrats are creating a shutdown because of that party’s desire to protect “dreamers” under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. That’s daft since, once again, a majority of Republicans are available to vote for a spending bill with no DACA fix…What is apparent for all to see is that Democrats have no responsibility to concoct a solution to address the Republicans’ abject incompetence. When a majority party cannot decide what it wants, and cannot find the votes, they are admitting they cannot govern. There is a solution to that: putting the other party in charge.”

Philip Bump of Post Politics brings the bad news about net neutrality — that “the effort by Senate Democrats to push back on the FCC’s move is, barring a political miracle, a nonstarter.” However, notes Bump, “Democrats see that this is an issue that energizes their base, so they do everything they can to change the FCC decision. This isn’t much, mind you, but it’s all they’ve got. And by checking this box, they can argue on the campaign trail that they need more Democrats in the House and Senate — though, by the time November rolls around, it will be too late to use the CRA, and even if they could, there’s still the issue of Trump. In 2020, it can be used as a rationale for the election of a Democrat as president…What’s more, it can be framed as threatening freedom of speech on the Internet, which, in the Trump era, has been a closely-watched concern.”

“Looking ahead, we think it’s fair to say that in order for Democrats to net the 24 seats they need to win the House, they likely need to net at least a half-dozen seats from the group of open seats,” writes Kyle Kondik at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “As it stands now, we think they’re outright favored to win four open GOP seats, and they have roughly even odds in an additional three…Let’s say Democrats do meet our standard and net a half-dozen seats or so out of the open seats. That means Democrats would need to defeat about 15-20 House Republican incumbents to win the House, when combined with their net gains from open seats…That may sound like a lot, but historically it’s not a very high bar. Going back to 1954, there have been 16 midterms. In nine of those elections, the non-presidential party defeated 15 or more presidential party incumbents, according to Vital Statistics on Congress (the presidential party never did this in any of those midterms).”

Roll Call’s Stuart Rothenberg takes an insider look at key U.S. Senate races and explains why “It’s a Blue House Wave, but Not Yet a Senate One: Rural, Trump-friendly states make for a formidable map for Democrats.”  “For Senate Democrats, the problem is clear — increased Democratic enthusiasm among younger voters, minorities and highly educated suburbanites will help their nominees nationally but not in states like West Virginia, North Dakota or Montana…So, while the House of Representatives is increasingly at risk in November, the Republican Party’s Senate majority still looks very formidable. At some point this cycle, that chamber may well be “in play.” But it is not there yet.”

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