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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his New York Magazine post, “Battle for the House: 100 Days Out, Democrats Are on the Brink,” Ed Kilgore notes, “All along, the conventional wisdom has been that Democrats need a lead of seven or eight points in the generic congressional ballot, an approximation of the House national popular vote, to feel reasonably confident of their chances. Their lead on the generic ballot is currently at 7.3 percent in the RealClearPolitics polling averages (it was as high as 13 percent last December and as low as 3 percent in the late spring), and 7.7 percentin the FiveThirtyEight averages (which weight polls according to their assessed quality and make adjustments for partisan bias). Typically the party that does not control the White House is likely to get a late breeze in its favor unless the president’s favorability markedly improves. At this point in 2014, Democrats led in most generic congressional polls, but then lost the national House popular vote by nearly 6 percent.”

Donald Trump is “the worst politician ever” but he’s on a path to re-election because the Democratic party refuses to counter his courtship of working class disaffection, says the American political analyst and historian Thomas Frank…Frank said Trump was “uniquely dangerous” as a political figure, and that required the left to reconnect with working people to counter “the long turn of the American right towards populism…I am absolutely certain the way for a left party to beat that stuff is not to join it and bid for the bigot vote, but to counter fake populism with the real deal,” Frank said.” — From Katherine Murphy’s “Donald Trump, ‘worst politician ever’, on path to re-election, Thomas Frank says” at The Guardian.

fdrom ABC News The Powerhouse Roundtable:

Kyle Kondik’s “The House Tilts Toward the Democrats: Big-picture factors help minority party, but battle far from over; 17 ratings changes in favor of Democrats” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball notes some recent gains for Democras in the midterm camapign, including: “Democrats are now a little better than 50-50 to win the House. This is the first time this cycle we’ve gone beyond 50-50 odds on a House turnover…We’re making 17 House ratings changes this week, all in favor of the Democrats…One of those comes in OH-12, where the last nationally-watched special House election is taking place in a couple of weeks…Put it all together, and the Democrats now look like soft favorites to win a House majority with a little more than 100 days to go. The usual caveats apply: There is time for things to change, and the Democrats capturing the majority is not a slam dunk. We recently were discussing the House map with a source who recited reams of positive indicators and data for Democrats. After hearing those, we suggested that, based on what this person was saying, the Democrats should win the House with seats to spare. The source then said it will come down to just a few seats either way. By the way, such a close outcome — a House where the majority party has 220-225 seats or even less (218 is the number required for a bare majority) — remains a distinct possibility, and the presence of so many competitive House seats in California, where the vote count takes weeks to finalize, could delay the final House outcome.

In his New York Times column, “The Rules for Beating Donald Trump: Don’t argue with 4.1 percent growth,” Bret Stephens argues “if you’re serious about wanting to defeat Trump, you might want to start with Rule No. 1: Don’t argue with sunshine. Don’t acknowledge good news through gritted teeth, or chortle at the president’s boastful delivery, or content yourself with the thought that Barack Obama also had some strong quarters and deserves all the credit…If working-class resentment was a factor in handing the White House to Trump, pooh-poohing of good economic news only feeds it.” Also, “Ignore Trump’s tweets. Yes, it’s unrealistic. But we would all be better off if the media reported them more rarely, reacted to them less strongly, and treated them with less alarm and more bemusement. Tweets are the means by which the president wrests control of the political narrative from the news media (and even his own administration), whether by inspiring his followers, goading his opponents, changing the subject, or merely causing a ruckus. There’s no way to stop him, but there’s no reason to amplify him.”

Matt Ford explains “How a Democratic House Could Really Give Trump Hell: And it has nothing to do with impeachment” at The New Republic: “On Thursday morning, [New Mexico U.S. Senator Tom] Udall was back at it, appearing on MSNBC’s Morning Joesaying he would support legislation to force presidential candidates to publicly release their tax returns. “I think it’s very important that people know if there are conflicts of interest that the president might have, that we clear that up,” he replied. “The easiest thing to do here is just disclose all the tax returns.”…What Udall didn’t mention is that Congress doesn’t need legislation to release the president’s tax returns. If Democrats retake either the House or the Senate this fall members of the tax committees can obtain Trump’s tax returns directly from the IRS by using a provision in federal law that grants those committees special access to help craft legislation…By all accounts, Trump’s tax returns are being treated like something akin to a state secret. John Koskinan, who retired as IRS commissioner last year, told Politico even he didn’t have access to them. Under federal law, however, Congress’ tax committees can request a copy of any taxpayers’ returns directly from the IRS, ostensibly to aide in the development of a better tax code. An intrepid legislator could then publicize what they find in Trump’s tax returns by reading them aloud on the floor of Congress, just as Alaska Senator Mike Gravel did with the Pentagon Papers.”

At CNN Politics John King takes a look at “Why Democrats Are Optimistic About the Midterms“:

Trump is probably bluffing about the shutdown if he doesn’t get funding for his wall. For one thing it would jeopardize his Kavanaugh appointment, and for another it would call unwanted attention to his ridiculous bragg that he was going to make Mexico pay for the wall. Still, logic and common sense have rarely limited Trump’s statements, and Republicans are somewhat nervous about his shutdown talk. “We’re going to have a challenging midterm anyway, and I don’t see how putting the attention on shutting down the government when you control the government is going to help you,” Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said in an interview,” reports Sheryl Gay Stohlberg at The New York Times.

James Hohman sounds a cautionary note in his PowerPost article, “The Daily 202: Puerto Ricans who fled to Florida after Hurricane Maria are not registering to vote.” As Hohman writes, “Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico last September and prompted a mass exodus of more than 100,000 residents to the mainland United States…The exact number is still not known, but tens of thousands of people permanently resettled in Florida…Because they’re already U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans are eligible to vote as soon as they move to the mainland. The thinking last fall was that they’d be so angry at Trump that they’d be champing at the bit to vote against Republicans in the midterms. Operatives from both parties said that this could prove decisive in a perennial battleground like Florida where elections are always close…Once again, the conventional wisdom turns out to have been wrong. Trump appears to be defying the old rules of politics. In this case, it’s because most of the Puerto Ricans who have come to Florida are not registering to vote or otherwise getting involved in politics. At least for now…During the nine months after the hurricane — from last October through the end of June — there were 326,000 new registered voters. Just 21 percent were Hispanic. That’s a pretty small uptick — and not necessarily explained by Puerto Rican registration at all…in the two Orlando-area counties with the highest concentration of Puerto Ricans, there has not been any meaningful increase in Democratic registration.” It’s time for the Florida Democrats ‘A Team’ to take charge, launch a voter registration drive targeting recent Puerto Rican immigrants and get it done.

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    The DNC is spending little more than $200,000 on Puerto Ricans in Florida. This is not only stupid but also offensive.


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