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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In her Vox post, “Democrats now have 5 competing plans to expand government health care.” Sarah Kliff explains, the plans include:”A Medicare-for-all bill from Sen. Bernie Sanders…A Medicare buy-in bill from Sens. Tim Kaine and Michael Bennet…A Medicaid buy-in bill from Sen. Brian Schatz…A Medicare “extra”-for-all proposal from the Center for American Progress, an influential liberal think tank that has strong ties to Clinton-land…This new Medicare buy-in bill from Sens. Murphy and Merkley.” Kliff adds, “when I had a chance to discuss this with Sens. Murphy and Merkley Tuesday, they made the case that health care will definitely be a top item in the party’s agenda — that Democrats will return to the issue that defined the early 2010s….“There is no question we’ll have to act,” says Murphy. “It’s the No. 1 issue in America. The polls are clear.” Read the article fopr more detail about the five bills.

At The Plum Line, Helaine Olen’s “Memo to Democrats: A progressive economic agenda is popular” provides one oif the best interpretations of the new CAP study: “…A new report released today by the Center for American Progress makes a convincing argument, using extensive polling data, that this divide does not need to exist. As it turns out, in many cases, voters — both college educated and working class, and of all races — are in favor of an economic agenda that would offer them broader protections whether it comes to work, sickness or retirement…The polling shows that workers across race support similar views on economic policy issues,” said David Madland, the co-author of the report, entitled “The Working-Class Push for Progressive Economic Policies.” “They support a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, and more spending on healthcare and retirement. There is broad support among workers for progressive economic policy.” Among the findings: “Spending more government money on retirement draws wide support, with 52 percent of college-educated workers, 64 percent of the white working class, 78 percent of the black working class and 72 percent of the Hispanic working class saying they would like to see this…When it comes to health care, 63 percent of college-educated workers, 64 percent of the white working class, 84 percent of the black working class and 77 percent of Hispanic workers agree say the government should increase, and not decrease, spending…Paid family leave is supported by 73 percent of college-educated workers, 69 percent of the white working class, 72 percent of the black working class and 63 percent of the Hispanic working class…This shows that it’s possible to make economic issues front and center in a campaign platform in a way that doesn’t just talk to working class whites and dismisses the concerns of female and minority voters. It also shows that the oft-discussed dilemma among Democrats — whether to prioritize college educated voters or working class ones — may be a false choice…Indeed, a progressive economic agenda can talk to all of these groups and bridge the gap between them.”

A new  poll from “NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist shows that 47 percent of registered voters say they would definitely vote against a candidate for Congress who proposed impeaching Trump, compared to 42 percent who said they would definitely vote for that candidate. One in ten voters were unsure…While Democrats and Republicans remained mostly in their partisan corners, with 70 percent of Democrats saying they would definitely vote for a candidate who favored impeachment and 84 percent of Republicans saying they’d do the opposite, independents were opposed to supporting a pro-impeachment candidate, 47 percent to 42 percent…That finding comes even as independents say they have an unfavorable view of Trump overall by almost a 2-1 margin.” – From “Poll finds risks for Democrats toying with impeachment promise

“Former attorney general Eric Holder is now in charge of a Democratic organization dedicated to overturning Republican gerrymanders, but that doesn’t mean he wants to replace them with districts drawn to favor Democrats, he said Tuesday,” writes Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. “Holder’s committee says that electing Democrats is one part of its four-part strategy to end gerrymandering, which also includes challenging gerrymanders in court, engaging voters in the redistricting process and enacting state-level reforms to ensure fairer congressional maps. It’s that last part — changing laws about redistricting — that independent experts say is key to mitigating gerrymandering. In most states, redistricting is handled like any other piece of legislation, with partisan lawmakers drawing maps that are subject to a governor’s veto.” Ingraham adds, “A number of states, such as California, Arizona and New Jersey, have opted to put the redistricting process in the hands of an independent commission. Researchers have found that districts drawn by independent panels tend to be more competitive and show less partisan skew than those drawn by politicians.”

Steve Bousquet reports at The Tampa Bay Times that Florida Governor “Rick Scott has made enemies over voting rights during the last eight years,” and it is likely to be a significant issue in his campaign for the U.S. Senate. As Bousquet writes, “In the nation’s largest swing state, Scott’s actions on voting have angered county election supervisors, the League of Women Voters, college students and federal judges, one of whom recently dismantled Florida’s system of restoring voting rights to convicted felons…The courts have repeatedly ruled against Florida in voting cases, including the recent decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who ordered Scott to create a new process to restore felons’ voting rights…Under Scott, Florida had the longest lines at early voting sites of any state, creating indelible images of obstacles to voting in 2012, the year President Barack Obama won re-election…That was a year after Scott signed the Legislature’s notorious House Bill 1355 that created new barriers to registering voters and curtailed early voting times…It also ended early voting on the Sunday before Election Day, a practice known as “souls to the polls” that helped churches mobilize African-Americans, who support Democrats.” Bousquet’s article may be the most thorough piece yet written about Scott’s lengthy record of voter supression, and Florida Democrats should circulate it widely.

At New York Magazine, Ed Kilgore writes that a “New Arizona Poll Shows Another Special Election Upset Is a Possibility” in Arizona’s 8th congressional district. “A new poll of district voters by Emerson College shows Democrat Hiral Tipirneni leading Republican state senator Debbie Lesko by a 46-45 margin…The only two previous public polls of this race showed Lesko leading by double digits. But the early polling in Pennsylvania’s 18th showed the Republican leading, too; it was Emerson College, as it happens, that first showed the Democratic winner Conor Lamb taking the lead.” However, notes Kilgore, “Republicans have a 17-point advantage in party registration in Arizona’s eighth, while Democrats held a 6-point advantage in the Pennsylvania district.” The special election will take place on April 24th.

Thing are also getting interesting in another sunbelt state, this one in the deep south. As Josh Voorhees reports in his post, “Mississippi’s Senate Free-for-All Starts to Look Like a Two-Person Race” at slate.com, “With two candidates from each party, and no primary to winnow the field, Mississippi’s special election for a U.S. Senate seat could get very messy between now and November. But for now, at least, the two party favorites appear to be firmly in control…A new poll out Tuesday, the first since the field expanded to four candidates earlier this month, found a 20-percentage-point gap between the two establishment favorites and their intra-party rivals in the race to replace retiring Sen. Thad Cochran. The Y’all Politics survey shows Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith—who was appointed to the seat earlier this month—in a virtual tie, with 33.1 percent and 33 percent support respectively, followed by Republican Chris McDaniel at 13 percent and Democrat Jason Shelton at 8 percent…If no candidate gets 50 percent on Election Day, which seems likely, then the race will be decided in a runoff. The pollsters found Hyde-Smith with a 6 point advantage in a hypothetical head-to-head with Espy, 42 percent to 36 percent. If McDaniel were to qualify, Espy’s lead grows to 19 points—43 percent to 24 percent. (The poll did not provide a margin-of-error, but it’s likely that Hyde-Smith’s lead on Espy is within or at least near it.).”

Some encouraging polling data from the Muhlenberg College Institue of Public Opinion/Morning Call 2018 Midterm Election Survey: “With about 7 months remaining before the 2018 elections Democratic candidates are in strong positions across an array of races within Pennsylvania…In a generic ballot in the midterm congressional elections in Pennsylvania the state’s voters are leaning towards Democrats over Republican candidates with 47% of voters preferring the Democrat in their district compared with 38% supporting a Republican.” Asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform law that was passed by Congress and signed by the President in December?,” 39 percent of respondents approved, 46 percent disapproved and 15 percent were “not sure.” Asked, “Do you favor or oppose building along the U.S. Mexico border to try and stop illegal immigration?,”  37 percewnt said they favored the measure,  57 percent were oppoes and 6 percent were “not sure.”

The New Yorker staff writer Margaret Talbot sheds light on “The Women Running in the Midterms During the Trump Era: This year’s wave of female candidates has some striking features besides its sheer size.” Talbot writes, “our hundred and seventy-two women have entered the race for the House this year, which is a lot of women. Fifty-seven women have filed or are likely to file their candidacies for the Senate. A useful comparison is to 2012, which marked the last big wave of female candidates: two hundred and ninety-eight ran for the House, thirty-six for the Senate. The number of women likely running for governor this year, seventy-eight, is a record high. The majority of female candidates in 2018 are Democrats, so it seems safe to conclude that many of them are fuelled by frustration, not to say fury, with Donald Trump…There is also a great deal of diversity within the group. It includes more women of color than previous electoral years, as well as a number of immigrants. There are more female veterans in the mix than we’ve seen before, and they’re representing both sides of the aisle…The last time women challenged the overwhelming gender imbalance among elected officials this forcefully was in 1992, the so-called Year of the Woman. Twenty-four women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives that year—the largest group of women ever to enter the House in a single election. The number of women in the Senate tripled—though because there had only been three to begin with, the resulting total wasn’t exactly a throng.

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