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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“No longer playing defense on health care, Democrats and allied groups aired nearly 56,000 TV ads focused on health care between January and July,” writes Alice Miranda Ollstein at Politico. “The Wesleyan Media Project found that in September, health care ads dominated 44 percent of ads supporting Democratic House candidates and 50 percent of those supporting Democrats in Senate races. And in several competitive high-profile races, Democratic candidates are adding personal narratives…Candidates are sending this message in ads, on social media and in face-to-face encounters, and polls show the issue strongly resonates with voters.”

Here’s a good example:

From “The party of men: Kavanaugh fight risks worsening the Trump GOP’s gender problem” by Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker and Robert Costa  at The Washington Post: “Everything about this kind of encapsulates in one moment the problem the Republican Party has with women, ranging from it being male-dominated — with Trump’s Cabinet and the Republican leadership in Congress — to issues of dismissing women who experienced harassment and assault with typical kinds of victim blaming,” Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg said…Current attitudes about Trump have inspired a record number of women to run for office this year as Democrats. In House races, women make up 43 percent of Democratic nominees and 13 percent of Republican nominees, according to Kelly Dittmar, a political science professor at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Many of these female Democratic candidates have shared their #MeToo stories on the campaign trail…strategists in both parties say Trump’s agenda and style — and the fact that the GOP leadership stands mostly in lockstep with him — are undoing years of often painstaking work by party leaders to court more female and minority voters.”

From John McCain’s 2008 campaign’s senior strategist:

In his New York Magazine post, “Lessons From the 2018 Primaries,” Ed Kilgore provides 8 takeaways, including: “5) The “struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party” was oversold. Despite a lot of media talk about ideological clashes between “progressive” and “centrist” primary candidates, there was no clear pattern for who won primaries. Some of the notable “progressive” victories were in safe Democratic House districts (e.g., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s NY-14 and Ayanna Pressley’s MA-07) where district diversity and generational change were at least as important as ideology. Overall, “establishment” candidates did pretty well; an analysis of all Democratic House primaries by the Brookings Foundation showed 27 percent of “progressives” and 35 percent of “establishment” types winning.”

We are about to find out what would happen if a politician began making public statements about issues that sound the way real people talk. Charles Pierce has the story in his article, “Mazie Hirono Is a Legitimate Badass of the Senate: It’s about time someone in elected office called “bullshit” on this process” at Esquire. Pierce quotes Horono to good effect: ” I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing for a change.”..I would like to have us come together and figure out what is the best way to proceed. Not this seat of the pants stuff, and the latest being a letter from the chairman to the Democrats saying we have done everything we can to contact her—that is such bullshit I can hardly stand it.” Pierce notes also that she wants “judges who are fair and qualified” and ‘”care about individual and civil rights.” And then, without missing a beat, she added, “If that’s considered liberal, as opposed to what I call justice and fairness, as I am wont to say, ‘F*** them!'” It’s about time a U.S. Senator went a little Bullworth, all the more gratifying that it’s a Democratic woman. Don’t be surprised if her approval ratings increase.

Some interesting ad stats from “Despite an Uptick in Digital Spend, Top Senate Races Still Dominated by TV” by Sean J. Miller at Campaigns & Elections: “In 14 competitive Senate races, Democratic campaigns put an average of 15 percent of their pre-Labor Day ad budgets into digital while GOP efforts averaged 6.2 percent, according to the Wesleyan Media Project, which conducted its analysis on ad spending done from May 31-Sept. 3. Though it’s worth noting those percentages include a handful of Senate campaigns that have yet to spend much of anything in earnest…Facebook remains the digital ad platform of choice – at least for Democrats. Of the total spent on digital advertising by the 14 Democratic Senate campaigns, $3,159,700 went to Facebook and $1.495 million went to Google…In total, some $6.1 million went into digital advertising from the 28 Senate campaigns. Compare that to some $45 million spent on TV during the same period.”

In his post, “Let’s sharpen and embolden the progressive narrative (and the counter-narrative, too),” Egberto Willies offers some insightful observations at Daily Kos: “Resigning ourselves to the belief that there is a large racist component within the Trump voting bloc and this therefore makes them unreachable denies a reality that President Obama disproved twice: Even racists will vote their interest if the narrative is right. It is my humble belief that our impatience, our timid narrative, our proclivity to stay high-minded in all circumstances, and our inability to frame and tailor a narrative at the level of those we need to reach have been the cause of our demise…Our young and upcoming politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Andrew Gillum, as well as activists like Indivisible Houston’s Daniel Cohen and Nisha Randle, are unabashedly promoting progressive narratives. Much of it will fly in the faces of those who are pinning their hopes on the mythical political center, but only when we redefine the narrative, devoid of our past indoctrination, will we get the vote…It is not enough to complain that Trump’s voters are racist. After all, we have our own racists among us. We are not looking for friends and lovers, but we should be attempting to coalesce on common values that will get our people elected. After all, above and beyond economic issues, aren’t our people supportive of racial, criminal, and social justice?”

At cnbc.com, John Harwood writes, “Congressional Republicans are facing a mid-term election wipeout fueled by voter resistance to President Donald Trump, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll…The survey, six weeks before Americans head to the polls, shows Democrats leading Republicans by 52 percent to 40 percent for control of Congress. If it holds, that 12 percentage point margin would suggest a “blue wave” large enough to switch control of not just the House but also the Senate…Democrats have generated wide advantages among key swing groups within the electorate. The poll shows them leading by 31 percentage points among independents, 33 points among moderates and 12 points among white women…Among white college graduates, a group Republicans carried by nine points in 2014 mid-term elections, Republicans now trail by 15 points. Among white women without college degrees, a group Republicans carried by 10 points in 2014, Republicans now trail by five points.”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    Since Steven Schmidt asks, I’ll tell him. The FBI does not investigate sexual assaults unless they are committed by a public official, which Brett Kavanaugh was not when he was seventeen years old. Also, to convict Dr. Ford of lying they would have to prove she was lying, which would be very difficult in connection with an alleged sexual assault from thirty-five years ago which she did not report at the time and which has no forensic evidence or corroborating witnesses today.


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