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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From Dylan Scott’s “Trump is really unpopular in the most important 2020 battleground states: Trump is deep underwater in New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other key 2020 states” at Vox: “Here are the raw numbers for Trump in the states that are expected to be competitive in the 2020 election:

  • New Hampshire: 39 percent approval, 58 percent disapproval
  • Wisconsin: 42 percent approval, 55 percent disapproval
  • Michigan: 42 percent approval, 54 percent disapproval
  • Iowa: 42 percent approval, 54 percent disapproval
  • Arizona: 45 percent approval, 51 percent disapproval
  • Pennsylvania 45 percent approval, 52 percent disapproval
  • Ohio: 46 percent approval, 50 percent disapproval
  • North Carolina: 46 percent approval, 50 percent disapproval
  • Florida: 48 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval
  • Indiana: 49 percent approval, 46 percent disapproval”

Amid all of the buzz about Wisconsin becomming a critical swing state in the 2020 presidential election, there are encouraging signs that the state Democratic party is preparing an unprecedented voter mobilization effort. As Emily Hamer reports at The Wisconsin State Journal, “Former MoveOn.org leader Ben Wikler has been chosen as the new leader of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, the party announced Sunday. Wikler will lead Democrats into the 2020 campaign in which Wisconsin is widely viewed as potentially decisive in the race for the White House.” At MoveOn, “Wikler helped lead the successful organizing push in 2017 to halt the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.”

Also at Vox, Ella Nilsen writes, “Five candidates, including Biden, Inslee, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and former Reps. Beto O’Rourke and John Delaney have all released massive plans to combat climate change, ranging from $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion in federal investment over a decade. Candidates are factoring in the spur of private investments as well, hence the jump to $5 trillion in Biden’s plan…“It’s a recognition of where the electorate is,” Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray told Vox. “This popped out from the very beginning. Climate change and the environment in general was the No. 2 issue after health care for Democratic voters.”…“I think it’s just becoming a zeitgeist for Democrats,” Murray added.”

Nilsen and Tara Golshan have another Vox post, “Democrats’ extremely uphill battle to retake the Senate majority in 2020, explained,” which notes a “very tough map” for Dems. As they observe, “Just three Republican seats seem truly competitive, as far as the Cook Political Report is concerned: Colorado, Arizona, and Maine. The rest is a sea of red, including the seat Democrats have to defend in ultraconservative Alabama…To retake a bare majority in the Senate, Democrats need to pick up four seats on net. Because this cohort of senators was last up for election in 2014 — a very strong year for Republicans — Democrats are on offense this year…To retake the majority, Democrats would likely have to:

1) Keep Sen. Doug Jones’s seat in deep-red Alabama. (Trump has a +27 approval rating there.)

2) Win Arizona and Colorado — and they could, since there are already strong candidates declared or interested in running.

3) Turn out an extremely enthusiastic Democratic base and put tough states — Maine, Georgia, Texas, Montana, and Iowa — within reach. Democrats, by the way, still need to recruit “top tier” candidates in all of these states.

4) Take advantage of divisive Republican primaries in Kansas and North Carolina, where Trump has anemic approval ratings. But again, they need solid candidates to compete.”

Ed Kilgore, Gabriel Debenedetti and Benjamin Hart discuss “How Much Does Age Matter for Presidential Candidates in 2019?” at New York Magazine. Some of their observations: Hart notes that “So far, talk of being too old to serve as president does not seem to have had a major effect on any of these people’s standing. Is age now just a number in the presidential sweepstakes?” Debenedetti adds that “voter age doesn’t actually line up with candidate age in any obvious way. Bernie gets younger voters, Biden gets older ones, etc. But to use Buttigieg as an example again, he actually often talks about how older voters have flocked to him in the past in recent elections, specifically because of his youth.” Kilgore argues, “I think there are three ways it could matter in 2020: (1) if a candidate is perceived as too old (that’s sort of what Gabe was just talking about), (2) if a candidate exhibits age-related debility or illness, and (3) a candidate’s age could take away a potential advantage against Trump.”

Elaine Godfrey explains why “Why Pro-impeachment Democrats Are Still Siding With Pelosi” at The Atlantic: “Some of the lawmakers who have recently called for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump say that, despite their own personal feelings, they still support leadership’s slow-and-steady strategy of pursuing congressional investigations first. Although in lengthy Twitter threads and interviews on MSNBC these lawmakers have explained that impeachment proceedings are the best way to protect democracy, they don’t plan to publicly challenge the speaker, according to interviews with several House Democrats and congressional aides…“Right now, the vast majority of the caucus believes she’s doing the right things,” Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, told me in an interview…A lot of us feel that even though we’re convinced he should be impeached, we should let these investigations play out for a little while.”

America Is Missing Its Chance to Fix Our Election System Before We Vote in 2020,” warns Steven Rosenfeld at Common Dreams: “The emergence of powerful forms of online political propaganda, the absence of progress in 2019 state legislatures on improving audits and recounts, and new revelations about the extent of Russian hacking in 2016—accessing more election administration details than previously reported—all point to the same bottom line: what evidence can be presented to a polarized electorate to legitimize the results?…To be fair, some policy experts who network with senior election officials—who have authority to order more thorough vote-verification steps without new legislation—say there is still time to act. But as 2020 gets closer, there are fewer opportunities to do so…There’s a lack of vote count evidence trails and transparent audits to serve as a counterweight to the newest forms of propaganda. And Congress is not poised to handle the power struggle if the presidential result is contested. The clock has not run out with taking proactive steps before 2020, but it is ticking, and opportunities to act are ebbing away while new worries are emerging.”

In his post, “Social media shapes our politics. But does it actually elect presidents?” Sam Fulwood III writes at ThinkProgress that “More In Common, an international research group examining global civic engagement, found that Americans’ use of social media is an imperfect tool to assess the relative support of one candidate over another because highly motivated activists play an outsized role in shaping online conversations…The group’s report — “Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape” — surveyed 8,000 Americans and conducted focus group and in-person interviews to discover that Americans are “defined by their core beliefs, rather than their political opinions, race, class or gender.”.Among the report’s more significant findings was that people at the extremes were a distinct minority of the U.S. population, but were among the most active on social media…Americans identified as Progressive Activists, for example, make up 8% of the population and 70% of them said they had shared political content on social media. Those identified as Devoted Conservatives are 6% of the population and 56% of them shared political content on social media…By contrast, the study noted that people categorized as Politically Disengaged, the largest single category at 26% of the population, “are practically invisible in local politics and community life,” and only 5% of them said they shared political content on social media.”

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