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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“Trump ‘s provocations alone show few signs of improving the subpar turnout patterns among Latinos and millennials, two core Democratic constituencies,” notes Ronald Brownstein in “Here’s what should excite and depress Democrats so far in 2018“at CNN Politics: However, “Democrats received encouraging news from Sunday’s ABC/Washington Post poll, which found much higher levels of youth engagement than almost any other recent survey. But that result looks like an outlier compared to most other polls. And even if young people participate in somewhat higher numbers, their share of the vote could fall if they don’t keep pace with the greater-than-usual midterm interest evident among other voter groups. By 2020, millennials will significantly exceed baby boomers as a share of eligible voters, but based on their turnout trajectory they will continue to lag them among actual voters. That would be a huge opportunity cost for Democrats given Trump’s consistently low marks with the generation (apart from younger non-college whites).”

Geoffrey Skelley presents the case that “Young Voters Might Actually Show Up At The Polls This Year: At least, more of them than usual might” at FiveThirtyEight: “Looking at the historical trends, there’s no question that youth voter turnout is consistently low in midterms, but exit poll data from competitive statewide elections in 2017 suggests that 2018 could set a record high for young voter participation….Polling from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics also gives us reason to believe we may see high turnout from young voters. The institute conducts a long-running, large-sample poll of young Americans…[I]n the IOP’s spring 2018 poll, 37 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds answered they would “definitely” vote, which was a new record high.”

From Jennifer Rubin’s column, “Democrats should thank McConnell for the last-minute assist” in the Washington Post: “Minority Leader Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) pounced. “Senator Mitch McConnell, President Trump, and their fellow Republicans blew a 2 trillion dollar hole in the federal deficit to fund a tax cut for the rich, he said in a written statement. “To now suggest cutting earned middle-class programs like Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid as the only fiscally responsible solution to solve the debt problem is nothing short of gaslighting.” He added with relish, “As November approaches, it’s clear Democrats stand for expanding affordable health care and growing the middle class, while Republicans are for stripping away protections for people with pre-existing conditions and cutting Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid to fund their giveaways to corporate executives and the wealthiest few.” He might have sent flowers as well in thanks for delivering a closing message to Democrats who have already been focusing on health care.”

Rubin adds, “The main GOP policy goals — cutting entitlements, cutting taxes for the rich and repealing protection for preexisting conditions — are extremely unpopular. (Republicans’ positions on climate change, “dreamers,” the wall and plenty else are also out of sync with voters.) In the final stretch before Election Day, Democrats are likely to remind voters of the GOP’s ambitions should they retain control of both houses. With many voters already saying they want a check on Trump, McConnell reiterated the policy stances that voters fear most. Schumer and his party couldn’t have asked for a better “October surprise.”

in “People are searching for voter registration info at presidential-year levels,” Philip Bump writes at The Washington Post, “Searching for “register to vote”…is probably a good measure of how much interest new voters have in the election…People are searching “register to vote” at near-presidential-election levels — suggesting a surge in interest among less frequent voters…Averaging the data across all states, the pattern is obvious. 2018 does not look like 2010 or 2014 in terms of searches for voter registration information…As with most other election-related metrics, it’s not clear how much significance this has. But the prospect of a wave election powered by newly motivated voters seems as though it would look much more like this than like the search pattern from, say, 2010.”

“Over just two weeks in September a limited-liability company calling itself News for Democracy spent almost $400,000 on more than 16 million impressions for a network of 14 Facebook pages that hadn’t existed until August,” reports Alexis C.Madrigal in his post “The Secretive Organization Quietly Spending Millions on Facebook Political Ads: Meet the liberal group that’s running a new breed of digital campaign” at The Atlantic. “From May 7 to October 16—the period that Facebook’s newly created archive of political advertising covers—News for Democracy paid from $1.2 million $4.6 million to create, at a minimum, 45 million impressions through more than 2,600 ads. (Facebook’s data offer ranges, rather than precise amounts, of dollars spent or impressions generated…the number of people who saw these ads is certainly higher, and possibly much higher.)…The biggest of News for Democracy’s ad buys went to pages with names like Women for Civility (8 million impressions), Better With Age (7.2 million), Our Flag Our Country (5.7 million), Living Free (5.4 million), and The Holy Tribune (4.2 million). Most of the ads consisted of one-minute videos, done in that Facebook style with text sliding around over footage making a single point. The ads were shown to two very specific groups of people: women ages 55 to 64 in Arkansas and mostly male Kansans under the age of 44…Despite the God-and-country nature of the page names, the actual content was left-leaning…Their message is the same: Republicans want to take away protections for people with preexisting medical conditions, and that would hurt the nice, relatable people in the videos.”

“In terms of our ratings, this week’s changes leave 212 seats at least leaning to the Democrats, 201 at least leaning to the Republicans, and 22 Toss-ups. Democrats need to win six of the Toss-ups to win the House, and all the other seats that currently lean to them (some of which are still very much in play), to win the House.” — From Kyle Kondik’s post “The Drive for 25: An updated seat-by-seat analysis of the House: Democrats closing in on majority but it’s not a sure thing” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball.

Some of the Democratic women veterans running for congress, from a video by Serve America PAC:


A great video, although one commenter, ‘pixxer1’ notes a couple of flaws that could be corrected easily enough: “You could be helpful to these women by writing their names and district numbers below the video. My only complaint about this otherwise excellent video is that they go by so fast at the end that someone in their district who was unaware of them would not have time to notice the information.” Maybe also emphasize that these are Democratic women.

The next time you hear/read a Trump supporter arguing that “at least he keeps his promises,” you can refer him to Matthew Yglesias’s article, “The biggest lie Trump tells is that he’s kept his promises: A raft of populist pledges have been left on the cutting room floor” at vox.com. In addition to ditching his promises about Obamacare, releasing his taxes and no big tax breaks for the rich, Yglesias adds “Trump promised to break up America’s largest banks by reinstated old Glass-Steagall regulations that prevented financial conglomerates from operating in multiple lines of business…Trump promised price controls on prescription drugs…Trump promised to “take the oil” from Iraq to reduce the financial burden of US military policy…Trump promised many times that he would release his tax returns and promised to put his wealth into a blind trust…Trump vowed rollback of climate change regulations but said he was committed to upholding clean air and clean water goals…Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure package.”

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