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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From “A Voter’s Guide to Health Care” by The New York Times Editorial Board: “national poll results released in September found that three-quarters of Americans want to retain protections that prevent insurers from discriminating against people based on their medical history…As health care costs rise, more Americans are voicing support for a single-payer system: Fifty-three percent now support such a plan, compared with less than 40 percent in the early 2000s…Republicans have long insisted that they want to protect people with pre-existing conditions from insurance discrimination — just not through the Affordable Care Act…But it’s tough to argue that one is for pre-existing condition protections when one is actively fighting the only federal law to ever have guaranteed those protections in the first place.”

The editorial continues: “So far, 34 states have chosen to opt in to the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides coverage for working-age adults who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. On Tuesday, three more states — Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — will decide whether to join those ranks, and several others — including Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin and Maine — will decide whether to replace a Republican governor who has opposed Medicaid expansion with a Democratic one who supports it…Medicaid is increasingly popular among voters, in part because so many of them — roughly one in five Americans, as of June — now receive benefits through the program.”

In his article, “How Will Hate Play in the Midterms?,” Robert Kuttner writes at The American Prospect: “Here is an awkward but urgent question. Will the grotesque violence incited by Trumpism and his own appalling remarks hurt Republican congressional incumbents and candidates who slavishly vote with Trump? Or will they be permitted to step delicately around the escalating violence?…One straw in the wind since the pipe-bomb mailings is the latest NPR poll showing that Trump’s favorability is down to 39 percent. Fully 44 percent of respondents said that Trump would be a major factor in how they vote in the midterm, compared to just 28 percent who said at a comparable point on the eve of the 2016 midterm that their view of President Obama would influence their vote for Congress…Even more ominously for Trump and the GOP, 47 percent of voters said that their view of Trump made them more likely to support a Democrat for Congress. Just 34 percent said they’d be more likely to back the Republican.”

With “Five Days to Go,” Kyle Kondik shares “our best guess right now” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “House: Right now, we have 212 House seats at least leaning to the Democrats, 202 at least leaning to the Republicans, and 21 Toss-ups. While we’re still gathering information about the Toss-ups, we do have a sense as to where we’re leaning in the races. As of this moment, we’d probably pick the Democrats in 12 of the Toss-ups and Republicans in nine of them. That would amount to a Democratic House gain of 29 seats. So let’s say, for now, we’re thinking an overall Democratic gain of somewhere around 30 seats, give or take. That’s more than the 23 net seats the Democrats need, but not so many more that one could rule out the Democrats sputtering out short of the majority…Senate: Including the 65 Senate seats not on the ballot as obviously “safe” for the current incumbent party, our Senate ratings show 50 seats at least leaning Republican, 45 at least leaning Democratic, and five Toss-ups. Our current sense, subject to change, is that the Toss-ups might split three to two in either direction. If that happens, and our other ratings hold up, the Republicans would net one-to-two Senate seats…Governors: Republicans currently hold 33 governorships, Democrats hold 16, and there’s one independent…our ratings show 22 governorships at least leaning Republican, 18 at least leaning Democratic, and 10 Toss-ups. Split the Toss-ups five to five, and Democrats would have 23 governorships, or a net gain of seven…”

In his NYT op-ed, “When Trump Voters Go For Democrats: Why is the Rust Belt trending blue for the midterms? The collapse of community may provide an answer,” Timothy P. Carney writes, “It’s easy to assume that Rust Belt voters have soured on the president, that blue-collar voters are upset Mr. Trump never Made America Great Again. But it’s not about the president: Mr. Trump still has extraordinarily high approval ratings among those who voted for him. The problem for the Republicans is that Mr. Trump made these Rust Belt voters into Trump voters, but he never made them Republicans…One NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted in mid-October showed that, compared to the midterm voters in Mr. Obama’s first term, voters now are less likely (31 percent to 36 percent) to be voting to “send a signal” about the president. Instead, they seem to be sending a signal about the Republican Party…Low social trust and low civic engagement defined the places that swung hardest to Mr. Trump. Because the vote was an expression of alienation and dissatisfaction, rather than an expression of partisan fealty, many of those places will swing back enough to give Democrats statewide wins on Election Day.

Conservative Max Boot has an 18-point litany explaining why Republican candidates, nearly all of whom are Trump enablers, should be defeated across the board on Tuesday. As Boot writes in his column, “Vote against all Republicans. Every single one” in The Washington Post. “If you’re sick and tired, too, here is what you can do. Vote for Democrats on Tuesday. For every office. Regardless of who they are. And I say that as a former Republican. Some Republicans in suburban districts may claim they aren’t for Trump. Don’t believe them. Whatever their private qualms, no Republicans have consistently held Trump to account. They are too scared that doing so will hurt their chances of reelection. If you’re as sick and tired as I am of being sick and tired about what’s going on, vote against all Republicans. Every single one. That’s the only message they will understand.”

At The Nation, NationAction writes, “There’s no better way to get involved in the final days of a campaign than by canvassing and door-knocking. Swing Left, an organization founded to take back Congress after the 2016 election, has created a campaign called The Last Weekend that shows you high-impact canvassing opportunities near you. Whether you’re in a red or blue state, chances are there’s an important race nearby where you can make a difference by showing up in person.”

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