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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

More bad news for the GOP, from Kyle Kondik’s update “The House: Ratings Changes in the Aftermath of Another Nail-Biter Special Election: GOP likely holds on in OH-12, but narrow result and other developments Tuesday reinforce positive Democratic trends” at The Crystal Ball: “The Democrats now have 203 seats at least leaning to them, the Republicans have 198 at least leaning to them, and there are 34 Toss-ups. Based on our current ratings, the Democrats no longer have to win a majority of the Toss-ups to win the House — 15 of 34 would now do the trick — although Republicans hope that some of our Leans Democratic seats are rated too bearishly for their side. There is always a chance that something could happen to change the current dynamic, but nothing that happened Tuesday night suggested that the pro-Democratic trend we’ve seen throughout the cycle is eroding. The election is less than three months away now.”

At The Princeton  Election Consortium, Sam Wang’s “OH-12 is ominous for GOP in House…and the Senate” notes, “In 46 special elections in 2018, the overall swing from 2016 has averaged 12 points toward Democrats. Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by a little over 2 percentage points. If this swing were to hold up in November 2018, it would mean a 14-point win in the national House popular vote. I estimate that a 6-point win would be just enough to flip control. A 14-point win is massive, enough for a gain of over 50 seats.”

Frank Bruni urges “Democrats, Do Not Give Up on the Senate: The party’s odds aren’t great, but they look better all the time” in his New York Times column, and argues, “But I wouldn’t give up on it, because a Democratic majority in the Senate means more than one in the House (Supreme Court, anyone?), and there really is a rationale for hope…It starts with the general political climate and Trump’s approval rating, which never crests 45 percent. Sad! Recent polls have shown that in congressional races, voters prefer a generic Democrat to a generic Republican by six to 10 points. That’s wave territory, and Democrats are favored by the historical patterns of midterms…The party needs to pick up two seats. It has more than two states to turn to. For a while now, Jacky Rosen in ever-bluer Nevada has been scaring the bejesus out of the Republican incumbent, Dean Heller. More recently, Kyrsten Sinema in reddish Arizona and Phil Bredesen in redder Tennesseehave emerged as fearsome contenders for seats being vacated by Trump-averse Republicans (Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, respectively).”

Ruy Teixeira writes on his Facebook page, “Why did Democratic support spike in Franklin county in OH-12 last Tuesday? I have a feeling it has a lot to do with the data on the far right hand side of this chart[below]. No wonder smart Republicans like Sean Trende are getting nervous.”
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“The biggest strategic challenge [Democrats] have will come in September and October when they’ve got to make a decision whether some races are now in the safe column and they can divert resources to lean-Republican races,” said former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), quoted in “Dems eyeing smaller magic number for House majority” by Scott Wong nd Mike Lillis at The Hill. “It’s way too early to make those decisions,” added Israel, who led the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) from 2011 to 2014…“Without the redistricting firewall that they built, Republicans would probably lose 60 seats in this kind of cycle,” Israel said. “As a result of the redistricting firewall that they built, they could lose about half of that.”

Some statistics to consider about the contest for Georgia governorship, from Thomas B. Edsall’s column, “The Democratic Party Has Two Futures: Candidates in different states are testing out the electoral power of the left and the center” at The New York Times: “The black share of the Georgia electorate has been growing rapidly. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that the number of African-Americans voting in the May primary grew by 43 percent between 2010 and 2018, while white voters declined 9 percent. In 2017, the state population was 52.8 percent white — on the cusp of turning majority minority.”

Edsall also notes, however, that “In an analysis of Democratic primaries through July 12, Brookings found that establishment candidates had won 88 and progressive candidates had won 64. The results from Tuesday now increase the share won by establishment candidates.”

“Nearly half — 46 percent — of registered voters younger than 30 said they are “absolutely certain to vote,” according to Post-ABC polls averaging across polls in January and April. And more than 6 in 10 millennials ages 22 to 38 said they are “looking forward” to midterm elections in a recent Pew Research Center survey. That number was 46 percent in 2014 and 39 percent in 2010…Relying on young voters — particularly those enrolled in college — may not be the best strategy,” argues Eugene Scott in “There’s optimism college students could deliver in Ohio in the fall. Is that realistic?” at The Fix. “Washington Post polling analyst Emily Guskin did a deep dive on the uptick in voter registration for 18- to 29-year-olds. It has not been as significant as some expected after the politically charged Parkland, Fla., school shooting earlier this year. Many people who register to vote do not show up on Election Day, and young people are by far the least likely age group to cast ballots, especially in midterm elections. The United States Elections Project analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data tracking turnout in midterm elections since 1986 and found that 16 percent of eligible voters ages 18 to 29 turned out to vote in the 2014 midterms. It was the lowest for any election since 1986, though turnout among this age group was never higher than 21 percent in midterms over this period.”

There’s no substitute for in-person engagement for both base mobilization and winning over swing voters. But Democratic campaigns should also take a look at “How RumbleUp is Powering the Republican Texting Revolution: When it comes to campaign technology, Democrats invent, Republicans perfect.” by Thomas Peters at Campaigns & Elections. His article provides a clear picture of how the opposition is planning to reach younger voters in particular, and it shows what some of their text messages look like.

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