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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In her  CNN Money article, “More than a dozen businesses ran away from the NRA. How it went down,” Jackie Wattles names some of the companies who have bailed out of the NRA’s programs as a result of public disgust with the Association’s opposition to gun safety reforms in the wake of the Douglas High  School massacre in Lakeland. The companies include: The First National Bank of Omaha; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Alamo Rent a Car; National Car Rental; Avis; Budget Rent-a-car; Hertz; Symantec; Metlife; SimpliSafe; Allied; North American; True Car; Delta Airlines; United Airlines; Paramount RX ; and Starkey. Sometimes economic withdrawall by companies and individuals can get significant results for progressives faster than politicians.

However, warn Eric Lipton and Alexander Burns at The New York Times, “The organization’s political action committee over the last decade has not made a single direct contribution to any current member of the Florida House or Senate, according to campaign finance records…In Florida and other states across the country, as well as on Capitol Hill, the N.R.A. derives its political influence instead from a muscular electioneering machine, fueled by tens of millions of dollars’ worth of campaign ads and voter-guide mailings, that scrutinizes candidates for their views on guns and propels members to the polls…The N.R.A., through its various legal entities, raises money for its political and lobbying efforts and other activities from two primary sources: member dues and contributions from outside supporters, including gun makers like Smith & Wesson and political groups like Freedom Partners, the Koch family-backed organization.”

At PostEverything, Bradley University Poly Sci assistant professor  Edward Burmila writes, “…Surveys show that some basic gun-control measures are overwhelmingly popular. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday, 77 percent of respondents said President Trump and Congress aren’t doing enough to stop mass shootings. A Quinnipiac University pollreleased Tuesday found that 66 percent of voters “support stricter gun laws,” 67 percent support “a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons,” 83 percent support a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases, and an overwhelming 97 percent want universal background checks…Gun-control proponents are already starting from behind. But their odds of changing the political calculus on this issue will improve if they can sustain the intensity of the last several days over the next several weeks, months and years. Their planned March rally has to be big. They have to increase voter registration and turnout. They have to call legislators’ offices — all with the message that in upcoming elections there will be more voters for whom guns are a dealbreaker.”

At The Hill, Jonathan Easley also notes, “A strong majority of voters support banning the kind of semi-automatic rifle that was used earlier this month in a massacre at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead…According to the latest Harvard CAPS-Harris survey, 61 percent say that the AR-15 should be banned from purchase, compared to 39 percent who say that adults who pass background checks should be able to purchase them.”

And Madison Pauley writes at Mother Jones that “A New Poll Shows a Dramatic Change in How Americans View Gun Control: The Parkland shooting appears to have shifted public opinion in a big way.” Among the revealings stats: “63 percent of voters believe AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons should be banned…61 percent believe tightening gun laws and background checks would prevent more mass shootings…76 percent believe people who have received treatment for a mental illness should be banned from owning guns.”

E. J. Dionne, Jr. laments the death of genuine conservatism in the GOP: “Encouraging responsibility in the sale and use of firearms would seem to be a thoroughly conservative cause, an effort to maintain order and protect the innocent from violence. But the National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful forces within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It uses paranoid rhetoric and incendiary attacks on its foes to justify riotously permissive firearms policies that no other democratic republic would dream of adopting…Shamefully, Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s top gun who is increasingly becoming America’s extremist in chief, showed few signs of being moved by the slaughter of high school students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. On the contrary, he had the impudence to say that those who think it’s time for some modest reforms in our weapons statutes were “saboteurs” and “socialists” using the deaths of young people to forward a dangerous agenda.”

“Democrats once again hold a wide advantage in a generic congressional matchup, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, backed by a base of supporters who are more enthusiastic than Republican partisans and more motivated by core issues,” reports Jennifer Agiesta at CNN Politics. “The poll finds 54% of registered voters say they back a Democrat in their congressional district, 38% say they back a Republican. That’s a shift in favor of the Democrats since January, bringing their advantage in a hypothetical generic matchup to about the same level as early 2006, a year in which the party won control of both the House and the Senate…Health care and gun policy are deemed deeply important by about half of voters (53% and 49%, respectively, call them extremely important), while about four in 10 say they are as motivated by the economy (43%) and immigration (38%). Sexual harassment is a sharp motivator for 36% of voters. Taxes, an issue Republicans have said will move voters as they realize the benefits of the tax changes passed last year, is extremely important for 35%. The investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election rounds out the list, with just about a quarter (26%) calling that extremely important to their vote.”

A new poll, conducted by Greenberg Research for the nonprofit RespectAbility, “reveals that more than half of registered voters identify as being a part of the disability community, whether they have a disability themselves, or they have family or close friends with disabilities. And signs point to this sizable population’s support shifting to the Democrats…People with disabilities have on average a more negative opinion of President Donald Trump, and by a 16-point margin favor the Democratic candidate in a generic 2018 congressional ballot. “The biggest negative feelings toward the Republican Congress is among people with disabilities,” said pollster Stan Greenberg during a teleconference briefing on Tuesday. This hasn’t always been the case—in 2014, they broke for the Republicans by 11 points, and were split in 2016. “Something is happening that’s affecting the kind of even split, the swing-voter status of people with disabilities,” Greenberg added.” – from The Overlooked Electoral Power of Voters with Disabilities at Tapped: The Prospect Group Blog, by Amanda Teuscher.

Jonathan Rausch and Benjamin Wittes explain at The Atlantic why conservatives should “Boycott the Republican Party” to save it: “The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it’s the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates. We’re thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump’s Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself, is to…vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former)…We’re suggesting that in today’s situation, people should vote a straight Democratic ticket even if they are not partisan, and despite their policy views. They should vote against Republicans in a spirit that is, if you will, prepartisan and prepolitical. Their attitude should be: The rule of law is a threshold value in American politics, and a party that endangers this value disqualifies itself, period. In other words, under certain peculiar and deeply regrettable circumstances, sophisticated, independent-minded voters need to act as if they were dumb-ass partisans.”

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