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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Perry Bacon, Jr. offers a typology of various kinds of Democrats in his FiveThirtyEight post, “The Six Wings Of The Democratic Party.” Bacon writes that “The goal is to better reflect the disagreements playing out among party elites in the real world, which aren’t well captured by “liberal vs. moderate” or other broad terms like that.”  The six categories include: The Super Progressives; The Very Progressives; The Progressive New Guard; The Progressive Old Guard; The Moderates; and Conservative Democrats. Bacon notes that “The two most liberal groups have a ton of new policy ideas and energy, and they are determined to push the party left. But the Democrats have a majority in the House in part because of moderate Democrats winning in closely contested districts, and the party probably needs more moderate, and even some conservative, Democrats to gain ground in gubernatorial and Senate seats. Trapped in the middle are the party’s congressional leaders and most of its presidential contenders, facing pressure from the party’s left and the right.”

Some salient comments from New York Magazine’s Intelligencer chat on “Should Democrats Impeach President Trump?,” featuring Jonathan Chait, Benjamin Hart, Margaret Hartmann, and Ed Kilgore: Ben:..At Crooked Media, Brian Beutler opined that there’s little evidence impeachment would be damaging to Democrats, and that opposition to it is short-sighted. He writes that “Democratic leaders have all but doomed themselves to the worst-possible approach: One in which they unearth damning evidence and then make the conscious decision not to act on it; one in which they tacitly bless all of Trump’s wrongdoing and pray both that voters do all the hard work for them, and that nothing tragic happens as a consequence of their inaction.” His take on the political dynamic is that it would not deepen divisions any further…Ed: “I think the odds of Republicans flipping on Trump in numbers sufficient to make impeachment (a) feasible, or (b) perceivable as anything other than partisanship by Republicans are roughly zero for obstruction of justice, and maybe 10 percent for evidence of actual collusion…Just look at what happened to Republicans in 1998. Have we forgotten they managed to blow a midterm — an almost completely unprecedented event for the “out” party — because of their determination to impeach Clinton?”…Margaret: Yeah, I don’t even know if removing him from office would be beneficial at this point. I think a good chunk of the country would freak out and feel that he was unfairly ousted, even if they got a few GOP senators onboard…I agree with Pelosi that it’s just going to divide the country further…Jon: That’s a whole other can of worms, but I don’t think there are going to be 67 votes to remove for any reason.”

At The Atlantic, Edward-Isaac Dovere spotlights “The Myth of Joe Biden’s Working-Class Support,” and observes, “People always talk about Joe Biden’s special connection to the white working class, those vaunted lost voters throughout the industrial Midwest whom Democrats are desperate to get back if they want the White House again.” However, Dovere writes, “No one has any proof that this connection gets anyone to vote for Biden, or vote at all…The idea that he can win white working-class votes is part of every calculation about Biden’s likely 2020 run, in public and among his inner circle. It has become automatic filler in conversations and news stories about how he’d measure up against the rest of the Democratic field and how he might perform against Donald Trump, or which states he’d put in play.” But Dovere also notes that “John Anzalone, a pollster who has been advising Biden on a 2020 run, pointed to a Harvard-Harris poll from last month that showed that three-quarters of people who said they’d support Biden don’t have a college education, and that he’s winning 42 percent of non-college-educated voters—as opposed to the closest runner-up, Bernie Sanders, who had 22 percent. Likewise, Anzalone noted that Biden was leading among non-college-educated voters with 30 percent in a Monmouth University poll that came out earlier in the week.” Yet, Biden might do better to emphasize his proven political gift, a talent for projecting authentic compassion and warmly connecting with people on a human level. As Fire Fighter’s union president Harold Schaitberger observed, “His voice is more than connecting with the neighborhoods,” he said. “He really connects with the individuals.”

When Beto O’Rourke was quoted in Vanity Fair as saying “I’m just born to do this” and it was widely reported, I imagined milllions of Americans thinking “Oh great, another rich guy who thinks he’s entitled to rule.” But having just watched his roll-out in a Keokuk coffee shop, I don’t think the perception of elitism is going to be much of a problem for him. Like Biden, he has a natural ability to connect with people on a human level, plus he conveys tremendous energy and passion. He has staked out a vaguely-stated center left agenda, which may be just the thing at this stage of the campaign. But some extremely shrewd and tough politicians will be coming after him, including competitors Harris, Biden, Klobuchar, Sanders and Warren. He may not do so well against them in debates, but he will make up for it on the trail, long though it is. Campaign 2020 just got a lot more engaging.

The AFL-CIO just weighed in on the Green New Deal, and their response will not gladden the hearts of GND advocates: “We welcome the call for labor rights and dialogue with labor, but the Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy,”  the AFL-CIO Energy Committee told the congresswoman and the senator in a letter dated March 8…We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered,” they wrote. “We are ready to discuss these issues in a responsible way, for we all recognize that doing nothing is not an option.” It seems a little harsh of a critique for an overall vision resolution. But one of the lessons here for GND proponents is to solicit the input of major stakeholders before publicizing it. The wise course for GND supporters is to graciously accept criticism and tweak it, based on the merits of each critique.

Matthew Miles Goodrich, NY State Director of the Sunrise Movement, shares quite a different  perspective on the GND at Dissent: “Defining the Green New Deal is one challenge, but making it the law of the land is another. To do this the climate movement, and indeed the left in general, must fully shed its electoral agnosticism. The earliest any of the Green New Deal’s policies could make it into law is 2021. In that time, Democrats must retain their majority in the House, take control of the Senate, and win the presidency. The disproportionate power that rural states hold in Senate and presidential races means that the traditionally urban left must make in-roads fast in less populated states. Here, the Green New Deal, with its emphasis on agriculture reform and renewable electrification, will be an asset. Ending the minority party’s de facto veto power in the Senate filibuster will also be necessary. So will statehood for D.C. and Puerto Rico. The primaries over the next two years provide the climate movement with a window to push agenda-setting candidates to race each other to develop a plan to actualize the Green New Deal’s full scope. Sitting on the sidelines again would be nihilism…Though still far from our goal, the chasm between necessity and reality no longer seems so insurmountable. The Green New Deal has set a course for the country to combat climate change at scale. The journey will require more protest, more power, and especially more politics.”

In “Americans’ Support for Immigration Is at a Record High. There’s No Need to Appease Fascists,” Noah Lanard writes at Mother Jones: “Last year, only 24 percent of Americans supported cutting legal immigration, down from 40 percent in 2006, according to data provided to Mother Jones by the Pew Research Center. Among Republicans without a college degree, the heart of Trump’s base, 59 percent say legal immigration should be increased or kept at the present level. That makes them slightly more supportive of legal immigration than the average Democrat was 12 years ago. Since Frum praised Alien Nation, the share of Americans who say immigrants are a burden on the country has dropped from 63 percent to 28 percent.” Lanard presents some excellent hover-charts to illustrate the data.

It had to happen. The Wall St. Journal takes The Bogeyman for another preaching-to-the-choir stroll  in “Socialism? Yes, Be Afraid: The next Democratic president will come from a zombie army of anti-capitalists” by their go-to lefty-basher Daniel Henninger. Measure the ruling class fear of the rising acceptability of socialist ideas in the title against the nervous ridicule in the subtitle, and you have a preview of conservative attacks against progressive Democratic candidates in the months ahead.

In more wingnut paranoia news, Gabby Del Valle reports that “A Yelp-style app for conservatives wants to protect right-wingers from “socialist goon squads” at vox.com. “As its name suggests, 63red Safe isn’t just about finding Trump supporter-friendly establishments — its founder appears to be worried about threats to conservatives’ physical well-being. “I’m trying to position it as an everyday ‘where can I go eat safely,’” the app’s founder, Scott Wallace, told the Daily Beast.” As Bette Midler said back in August, “Now Trump’s saying Democrats are going to be “violent” if they win big in November? What are we going to do? Throw our PBS tote bags at them?”

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