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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

A impressive Democratic candidate for Governor comes forward in Florida:

“Analyses by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence show that, with few exceptions, states with the strictest gun-control measures, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, have the lowest rates of gun deaths, while those with the most lax laws like Alabama, Alaska and Louisiana, have the highest…Avery W. Gardiner, a president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said that generally, blue states are, not surprisingly, more likely to regulate guns and require background checks and licensing. Conservative red states either lack gun-safety laws or fail to enforce the ones they have.” Ironically, however, the manufacturer of AR-15 rifles is headquartered in Connecticut.  — From “In Wake of Florida Massacre, Gun Control Advocates Look to Connecticut” by New York Times reporters Lisa W. Foderaro and Kristin Hussey.

“Slowly but surely, the considerable structural advantages — like incumbency, geography and gerrymandering — that give the Republicans a chance to survive a so-called wave election are fading, giving Democrats a clearer path to a House majority in November,” notes Nate Cohn at The Upshot. “The Republican advantage has probably dropped by about two percentage points since 2014, when Republicans won the party’s largest House majority since 1929…Since then, four court rulings have softened or even torn up Republican gerrymanders in four big states: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and most recently Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court struck down the congressional map last month…The decisions in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia have already cost the Republicans a net of three House seats while generally eroding their position elsewhere in those states, giving Democrats better opportunities in 2018…Upshot estimates indicate that Democrats would need to win the popular vote by 7.4 points — albeit with a healthy margin of error of plus or minus more than four points — to take the House. Today, most estimates put the generic congressional ballot very near that number. So far from the election, the fight for control remains a tossup.”

In his New York Times column, “Attacking the ‘Woke’ Black Vote,” Charles M. Blow writes of the special counsel’s indictment of 13 Russians and three companies for interfering in the 2016 elections, that,  “Referencing actual voter suppression, it says that “in or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate…Just before the election, a senior Trump campaign official told Bloomberg Businessweek, “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” in which Hillary Clinton’s “1996 suggestion that some African-American males are ‘super predators’ is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls — particularly in Florida.” This suppression may well have worked better against black people than other targets.”

In his article, “The kids are all Democrats,” David Faris provides a history lesson about the youth vote in presidential elections since the late 1960s: “…Despite the unpopular war in Vietnam and the swirling cultural revolution, Richard Nixon won under-30 voters in 1972. Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter split young voters evenly in 1980, while Reagan and George H.W. Bush crushed it with the young in ’84 and ’88. Bill Clinton carried the youth vote in 1992 and 1996, but then George W. Bush tied Al Gore in 2000 with 18- to 24-year-olds and only barely lost the 25-29 bracket…Something remarkable began happening in 2004, though. That’s the year John Kerry carried the under-30 vote by 9 points. And the next three presidential elections saw Democrats demolishing their opponents with young people by 34, 23, and 19 points…But the data gets worse for Republicans the deeper you dig into it. In 2016 exit polling, for instance, 18- to 24-year-olds went more heavily for Hillary Clinton than their older millennial counterparts, suggesting that, if anything, the Republican position is falling apart with the tail end of the millennial generation.”

Eleanor Clift warns at The Daily Beast, “The Constitution requires that every person—not citizen—living in the United States must be counted every 10 years. Now, a Justice Department request to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census has put the once-in-a-decade count of the American people into the crosshairs of partisan politics…Questions normally undergo years of testing, but common sense says that adding one about citizenship status would have a chilling effect on participation that would lead to an undercount of immigrants and minorities, hurting blue states and urban areas—setting the stage for Republicans to re-draw still more favorable congressional districts…A poorly run census that significantly undercounted immigrants and minorities would be the ultimate in gerrymandering.”

Greg Sargent shares a salient insight at The Plum Line: “If you read through the coverage of the battle over the “dreamers,” you’ll come away with the impression that we are locked in a conventional Washington standoff, in which two opposing sides are each demanding concessions in exchange for making concessions of their own. If a compromise is to be reached, each side hopes to tug it as far in their direction as possible; if not, well, they just couldn’t find a way to meet in the middle, and in true Washington fashion, both sides will then play the “blame game.”…But treating this situation as a normal negotiation fundamentally obscures its profound asymmetry. One side is putting forth genuine good-faith compromise offers that would require concessions by both sides. The other just isn’t doing this at all — instead, they are demanding that they must be given everything they want, while spinning their demands as reasonable in a manner that is absolutely saturated with bad faith from top to bottom…The idea that the tradeoff Republicans want represents the middle-ground, mainstream position in this debate is absurd on its face: a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that only 17 percent of Americans favor cuts to legal immigration, while 81 percent favor legalizing the dreamers. “

“A number of surveys show that bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are popular among the general public,” argues Christopher Ingraham at Wonkblog. “A 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 68 percent of adults favor banning assault weapons, and 65 percent support a ban on high-capacity magazines…More strikingly, substantial numbers of gun owners supported the measures as well: 48 percent of gun owners in that poll said they would support a ban on assault style weapons, and 44 percent said they favored a ban on high-capacity magazines. A Quinnipiac poll conducted later in the year showed similar numbers.”

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