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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

CNN Political Analyst Julian Zelizer’s “Democrats, focus on midterms — not Trump impeachment talk” pinpoints the party’s 2018 dilemma: “The biggest challenge for Democrats is to avoid letting anti-Trump fervor drown out their own message. To be sure, attacking the President is often an important part of wave elections. Though they already had control of the House in 1982, Democrats expanded their majority by urging voters to take a stand against the Reagan Revolution. In 1994, Newt Gingrich used President Bill Clinton — and his failed health care plan — as a foil to excite voters to turn out in the election. Nancy Pelosi returned the favor in 2006 as Democrats were determined to send a message to President George W. Bush, just as Tea Party Republicans did in 2010 when they took back the House.” However, “Democrats are making a big political bet if they think that the news over Russia, payments to porn stars and ongoing lies will be enough to bring voters out to the polls. This is especially risky given that unemployment is now at historically low 3.9% and Trump might be on the cusp of helping to orchestrate a major peace deal between North and South Korea…Democrats must avoid two big pitfalls — failing to deliver a compelling agenda and dampening their own turnout though excessively hard-line tactics in the primaries. And that could leave Republicans in much better shape than they otherwise would be in the age of Trump.”

The Washington Post provides the following video clip, explaining “How Democrats Are Planning to Take Back Power“:

At npr.com, Jessica Taylor reports that “Republican Fears About Holding The Senate Start To Sink In,” and observes, “In conversations with several top GOP strategists, nearly all conceded that the overwhelming Democratic enthusiasm they’re facing this November is incredibly worrisome. Most still think it’s a better than even chance that they do keep the Senate — albeit narrowly — but it’s no longer out of the realm of possibility that the upper chamber could change hands, especially given the volatility of the GOP’s two-seat majority…Lackluster fundraising as of late from GOP challengers and stronger-than-expected hauls from Democratic incumbents has further stoked worry among Republicans. Taylor probes the political dynamics of ther most vulnerable senate seats of both Democrats and Repubicans and notes, “Tennessee has emerged as the biggest wildcard that could make or break the Senate majority for both parties. Democrats scored a major coup by convincing former Gov. Phil Bredesen to enter the race after frequent Trump critic and GOP Sen. Bob Corker announced he wouldn’t run for re-election.”

In FiveThirtyEight article, “Democrats’ Horrible 2018 Senate Map Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time” Nathaniel Rakitch writes, “Still, Democrats should probably be thrilled with an overperformance of even half that. It all comes back to that pesky Republican bias in the Senate — and specifically its lopsided distribution. In short, 2018 could be not just bad, but a veritable armaggeddon for Senate Democrats. They should count their lucky stars that their worst-case map looks like it’s going to coincide with their best-case turnout environment.” Rakitch cites Demo rats “healthy lead in generic-ballot polling,” but adds that “Democrats need to overperform by a whopping 11 seats in order to snag a majority. Still, Democrats should probably be thrilled with an overperformance of even half that…They should count their lucky stars that their worst-case map looks like it’s going to coincide with their best-case turnout environment.”

In another FiveThirtyEight post, “What’s At Stake In The First Big Primary Day Of 2018,” Rakich previews tommorrow’s primary contests and sets the stage with a trio of questions: “Will a new political dynasty be born? Will a man not quite a year removed from prison become the GOP’s candidate for Senate? Will Dennis Kucinich finally win a nomination — 14 years after his first quixotic presidential bid?” rackich writes, “These things could all happen Tuesday, primary day in the great states of Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia. As opposed to recent special election days, when the entire political world turned its eyes to a single district, we’ll be dividing our attention among several key contests as the results come in. There are lots of weird, interesting races, but the most significant takeaway will be whether the Democratic and Republican parties are nominating strong candidates for the fall.” Rakitch provides in-depth insights about several of the major races.

Sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin’s NYT op-ed “You Can’t Separate Money From Culture” explores the “misguided debate about whether culture or economics was the driving force in Mr. Trump’s win.” Cherlin argues that “those who try to distinguish between the explanatory power of stagnant wages and a declining industrial base on the one hand, and anxieties about the ascent of minority groups on the other, miss the point: These are not two different factors but two sides of the same coin…astute scholars do not see a wall between economics and culture. They acknowledge that financial hardship affects the daily lives of working-class Americans, but they add that how they respond is based on cultural beliefs that may lead them to scapegoat minority groups…People who are frustrated by their lack of progress may still try to defend the dignity of their work. It is a mistake to see economics and culture as distinct forces. Both propelled Mr. Trump to victory.”

Few political campaign media specialists will be surprised by the title and subtitle of Steven Musil’s CNET article, “Most Facebook users in US still loyal to social networking giant, poll finds: Three-quarters of America’s Facebook users say they use the social network as often or more frequently since a data scandal broke in March.” Sure millions of FB members are ticked off somewhat by revelations of compromised privacy. But anyone who believed that social media platform’s privacy protections were iron-clad was inviting disappointment. Musil notes, “User loyalty remains high with users of the social network, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online poll released Sunday that found about half of Facebook’s American users hadn’t recently changed the amount that they used the site. Indeed, another quarter said they were using it more. Of the approximaely one-quarter of users who said they were using it less frequently, don’t be shocked if they come back.

Further, Elizabeth Grieco reports at the Pew Research Center ‘FacTank’ that “Facebook claims the largest share of social media news consumers, and its news users are much more likely to rely solely on that site for news. Just under half (45%) of U.S. adults use Facebook for news. Half of Facebook’s news users get news from that social media site alone, with just one-in-five relying on three or more sites for news.” According to a survey by statista.com reported in January 2018, “58.3 million U.S. Facebook users were between 25 and 34 years old. This distribution also closely mirrors the overall number of social network users in the United States, as 35.3 million U.S. social media users were aged 25 to 34 years. The total Facebook audience in the United States amounted to 214 million users. With more than 1.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide. In 2014, U.S. users spent an average of 39 minutes on the site every day and the social network has become a part of daily online usage for millions of users.” For the 50 most widely-circulated newspaper’s digital editions, “In the fourth quarter of 2016, there was an average of roughly 11.7 million monthly unique visitors (across all devices) for these top 50 newspapers,” according to the Pew Research Center Newspapers Fact Sheet.

Democratic candidates and campaigns should take a gander at “Political Rhetoric 101 for Beginners (such as Democratic candidates)” by X Smith at Op-Ed news. Smith shares some interesting tips, including: “Democrats should make better use of patriotic imagery. When John Kerry was running (sort of) against Bush Jr. in 2004, being from Massachusetts he had massive scope to drape himself with New England’s patriotic imagery–Lexington’s Battle Green and Concord’s Old North Bridge; Faneuil Hall; the USS Constitution; the Old North Church and Paul Revere statue; working-class war memorials in South Boston and Worcester. He could have used those to counter-act the Massachusetts ultra-liberal label and remind people that New England is the birthplace of American patriotism. Total missed opportunity. Republicans have long since seized the flag; Democrats should seize it back while reminding people what it stands for” and “The hard right will always find a way to make their goals sound reasonable, even a popular imperative: uniter not divider; fiscal conservative, defend our borders, restrain government. So don’t try to argue that their stated goals are undesirable: instead attack them for failing to live up to their word. They’re not delivering what the people who voted for them wanted; worse, they’re skilled at disguising what they’re doing (for example fiscal conservatives who pile up massive deficits.) The goal of this line of attack is to peel some moderate conservative voters away from the phony-conservative party.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Candace on

    Maybe its because I’m not tuned into popular political culture but whats re-posted from the cnn political analyst looks like criticism hidden in advice designed to dampen enthusiasm in the Democrat party but also take the heat off the president and the Republican Party.
    “I’m concerned that Democrats stand for nothing and the President is doing a great job. His poll numbers are up and the unemployment is low (take that disgruntled white working class) He’s about to create peace with North Korea and destroy Iran so don’t criticize him too much it will take away from the message you don’t have. you want to win, right?..I’m trying to help”


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