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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his article, “The Democrats’ Age Divide Is Defining the 2020 Primary: Joe Biden’s edge with older voters is his greatest asset so far in the race” in The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein shares some revealing stats: “His greatest strength is his appeal to older Democratic voters, both white and African American, who are typically more ideologically moderate and more politically pragmatic. For the 76-year-old Biden, that’s an acceptable trade-off because voters older than 45 cast fully 60 percent of all votes in the 2016 Democratic primary, according to a cumulative CNN analysis of all the exit polls conducted that year…Only a little more than one-fifth of Democratic voters ages 45 and older described themselves as very liberal in 2016; about twice as many described themselves as moderate or conservative…In CNN’s first national poll after Biden entered, the former vice president drew 45 percent of likely Democratic primary voters older than 45, four times as much as Sanders, his nearest rival. Among voters younger than 45, Biden also led, but only by 31 percent to 19 percent…In Pennsylvania, a Quinnipiac University pollreleased Wednesday showed Biden and Sanders running about even among voters younger than 50, but Biden leading him by almost 12 to one among those who are older.”

Perry Bacon, Jr., however, takes a different slant the age issue in “A Lot Of Americans Say They Don’t Want A President Who Is Over 70. Really?” and observes at FiveThirtyEight that, “Gallup recently released new data on Americans’ willingness to vote for presidential candidates with certain traits. About 1,000 adults were asked1whether they’d vote for a well-qualified candidate who was nominated by their party and was black, gay or had one of 10 other characteristics that are rarely or never seen in presidential nominees…Almost all Americans said they’d be comfortable voting for a woman (94 percent), or a Catholic (95 percent), Hispanic (95 percent) or black (96 percent) candidate. But there are characteristics that big swaths of Americans said would be disqualifying — in particular being older than 70, being an atheist and being a socialist.” However, notes bacon, “Thirty-seven percent of Republicans said they would not back a GOP presidential candidate over the age of 70. Well … yep, President Trump was 70 on Election Day in 2016, and he’ll be 74 in 2020.”

A Gallup Poll chart from Bacon’s article:

What types of candidates would Americans NOT vote for?

Share of respondents to an April survey who said they would not vote for a “generally well-qualified” presidential candidate from their own party if the candidate had each of the following characteristics

Socialist 24% 48% 80% 51%
Atheist 28 33 56 39
Older than 70 35 37 37 37
Muslim 14 26 62 33
Younger than 40 21 28 34 28
Gay or lesbian 17 18 39 24
Evangelical Christian 27 20 6 18
Jewish 5 9 5 7
Woman 3 6 9 6
Catholic 4 6 3 5
Hispanic 3 3 8 5
Black 1 4 5 3


For an update on the presidential candidates in relation to labor unions, read Tara Golshan’s “2020 Democrats’ battle for union support, explained” at vox.com. Some of Golshan’s insights: “Union members “vote at higher rates than most Americans, they are mobilized, they are in important states,” Paul Frymer, a political scientist with Princeton University who has written on the labor movement, said. “The union movement is a big part of the Democratic Party — there isn’t another mobilized coalition like it. They are the biggest civil rights movement in the country.”… Golshan notes that front-runners Biden and Sanders are at odds on some trade issues, with Sanders taking a more protectionist stance. “In an AFL-CIO poll of its members,” Golshan writes, “65 percent said they opposed NAFTA, and 72 percent said the TPP would have been bad for American workers, leading to outsourced jobs and lower wages…”

Golshan adds, “Exit polling from the 2016 presidential election showed Trump trailing Clinton by only 8 points among union households — a significant improvement from Mitt Romney, who trailed Barack Obama by 18 points with those same voters. Those numbers, in part, reflect a shift among white men, according to data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study.”..FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver put it in terms of the 2016 election results in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, which Trump won by razor-thin margins to claim the presidency. In 2016, Clinton underperformed Obama among union members by 18 points. “That roughly 18-point swing was worth a net of 1.2 percentage points for Trump in Pennsylvania, 1.1 points in Wisconsin and 1.7 points in Michigan based on their rates of union membership — and those totals were larger than his margins of victory in those states…”

A DLCC e-blast notes that “Pennsylvania, more than almost any other state, helped put Donald Trump in the White House and Trump’s allies in charge of the Senate. This Tuesday, we have a chance to turn the tide and start pushing this key swing state back into the Democratic column…In just a few days, Pennsylvania will hold three special elections for their legislature, and these races are going to be tough…They’re happening in some of the reddest seats in the state, and they’re easily our most daunting challenge yet in the Trump era…Just last month, Democrat Pam Iovino — an exemplary public servant facing daunting odds — flipped a seat that backed Trump by nearly 6 points. A blue Pennsylvania is within our grasp…” And yes, you can help by clicking here, and doing your part.

At The Daily Beast, Allison Quinn argues that “GOP Congressman Justin Amash’s Impeachment Call Boosts Pressure on Pelosi.” As Quinn explains, “Many were quick to wonder aloud why it was a Republican lawmaker making the case for impeachment rather than top Democrat Pelosi, who has called Trump “unfit” for the presidency but come out against impeachment, saying it’d be too “divisive” for the country…Earlier this week at an event hosted by the Georgetown University Law Center, she said she doesn’t “want to impeach” even though in her opinion, Trump is giving more “grounds for impeachment” with every passing day by ignoring subpoenas issued by House Democrats.

If Trump is pondering some sort of power-grab after losing the 2020 election, he won’t find much support from voters, according to a new poll conducted by IPSOS and the University of Virginia Center for American Politics, as reported at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “By a 77%-16% margin, respondents did not think that the 2020 election should be delayed and President Donald Trump given an extra two years in office. This question was based on a recent tweet by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell suggesting that because of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the president’s term should be extended two years (Trump retweeted Falwell). There were partisan differences on this question: Democrats said no overwhelmingly, 89%-9%, while Republicans said no by a smaller 62%-31% margin…Just 7% of respondents said that if Trump loses the 2020 election, he should ignore the results and stay in office.”

Democrats beware: Trump could ride tariffs to a presidential win,” warns Egberto Willies at Daily Kos: “Trump’s Chinese tariffs create points of discussions on the deficit, taxes, lying to his base, the economic pain of the masses, and much more. But Democrats are just leaving it up to pundits, journalists, and others to craft a less-than-perfect narrative…The thing is, except for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the Democrats have not given voters a transformational vision of our economy that will help all those who are hurting financially. Trump is building such a vision, even if it’s just a facade. And whether he gets the beneficial terms from China or not, the truth is that because Democrats haven’t provided a compelling counter-narrative, Trump may win over enough voters to cruise to re-election in 2020.”

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