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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

So how will the 2020 electorate differ from 2016? At The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein notes that “the nonpartisan States of Change project released new forecasts on the unrelenting diversification of the electorate. The new projections, released yesterday, estimate that noncollege whites, the core of Trump’s base, will decline two percentage points in 2020 as a share of all voters (from 44 percent in 2016 to 42 percent), while minorities, who strongly lean Democratic, will grow by two points (from 26 to 28 percent) and college-educated whites, who are now divided closely between the parties, will remain stable at 30 percent. Through 2036, the project expects those working-class whites to shrink to a little more than one-third of all voters, while minorities will rise to match them.”

Is Kamala Harris peaking too soon? Her positive debate buzz is translating into a fund-raising bonanza. “Donations flowed to Harris from 63,277 people, nearly 60 percent of which were first-time donors. The average donation was $30. Her previous largest day was $1.5 million after launching.” But the bad news is that she is now the target of choice for her competitors, several of whom are highly-skilled debaters. There will be a candidate winnowing soon, in terms of meeting rising standards for inclusion on the next big stage debate. Harris’s ‘law & order’ track record would serve her well in the general election, but it could be a problem in some primaries. What she has accomplished is presenting an image of a nominee who is tough enough to bring it to Trump.

Meanwhile, At Vox, Gabriela Resto-Montera reports that “Harris now polls at 12 percent, up 6 points from the previous week. This puts her in third place alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who also polled at 12 percent, a one percent dip compared the previous week (a change within Morning Consult’s margin of error). Warren and Harris now stand behind Sen. Bernie Sanders — his support stands at 19 percent…Joe Biden remains in the lead with 33 percent; however, his support saw a decline nearly as steep as Harris’s rise — he lost 5 points following the debates. Some of this erosion of support may have been Harris’s gain, and a segment of Biden’s base does view the California senator in a positive light: 15 percent of Biden backers said they would pick Harris as their second choice choice of candidate…Biden maintains the highest favorability rating among likely voters at 71 percent, with Sanders trailing him at 67 percent. Warren came in third at 63 percent, and was followed by Harris with 55 percent.”

Also at Vox, Anna North argues “The case for a woman running against Trump: When it comes to debating Trump, women have an advantage,” and notes that “this week’s debates were another reminder that not only can a woman hold her own in a debate against Trump, a woman might actually be uniquely suited to beating him…. In a June Daily Beast/Ipsos poll, 74 percent of voters said they would be comfortable with a female president, but just a third said their neighbors would. Meanwhile, as Vox’s Tara Golshan wrote earlier this month, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, two white men in their 70s, were leading in polls going into the debates, even though polls suggest that, given a choice, Democrats might prefer a candidate who isn’t an older white man…The women onstage largely showed that their experience has made them into effective debaters, easily able to shut down male opponents.”

In his post, “Yes, Democrats Are Paying Plenty Of Attention To The 2020 Election” at FiveThirtyEight, Geoffrey Skelley reports that “a new survey from the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that just 35 percent of Democrats1 said they were paying “a good deal” or “a lot” of attention to the campaign so far. Or in other words, only about one-third of Democrats are seriously following the goings-on of the campaign…But one-third seemed a bit low to me, given that other pollsters have found that Democrats care a lot about picking a candidate they think can defeat President Trump this year, so I took a look at what other pollsters have found this cycle. I found that Quinnipiac University has asked a version of this question three times so far in 2019, finding each time that Democrats are paying quite a bit of attention to the race. For example, 74 percent saidthey were either paying “a lot” or “some” attention in the most recent survey.”

In “Other Polling Bites,” Skelley notes that “A new report from the Pew Research Center shows a huge partisan gap over Americans’ attitudes toward capitalism and socialism. Republicans had sharply positive views of capitalism, with 78 percent holding a positive view and just 20 percent holding a negative one. But Democrats held mixed views: 55 percent had a positive impression while 44 percent had a negative one. Conversely, socialism was thoroughly disliked by Republicans, with only 15 percent holding a positive view and 84 percent holding a negative one. But Democrats were much more positive. Sixty-five percent had a positive impression and 33 percent had a negative one.”

For those who harbored any doubts that health care was still the number one issue, Skelley notes also that “According to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted just before the first Democratic debates, health care was the topic Democrats5 wanted to hear about most — 87 percent said it was very important for the candidates to talk about it. Other issues that were top priorities included: issues affecting women (80 percent), climate change (73 percent), gun policy (72 percent) and income inequality (70 percent).”

Dems should consider that this punch-out between the ‘Proud Boys’ and ‘Antifa’ may be a preview of coming attractions, and begin to develop a strategy for addressing election day violence. Antifa is active in the west and especially the northwest. But in other swing states, right-wing thugs may find little opposition, as in the Brooks Brothers Riot in 2000, when wingnut goons were flown into Miami by their Republican benefactors for the purpose of intimidating those responsible for the vote recount. Democrats were caught flat-footed, and the results have been catastrophic for the entire world, and  particularly for Dems, who would be wise to anticipate that the ‘Proud Boys’ will be organized for election day mayhem in key cities in swing states. It would be better if they were met by police, community leaders and unions than by rock-throwing radicals.

From Michael Tomasky’s “Biden Doesn’t Get It: McConnell’s Gotta Go if Democracy Is Gonna Live: This problem isn’t Democrats tacking left, or Washington dysfunction. It’s McConnell. And Democrats need to let America know” at The Daily Beast: “As long as the Democrats—presidential candidates, Senate candidates, House Democrats, whomever—run around acting like Mitch McConnell isn’t a huge impediment to progress in this country, in his way a bigger one than President Trump, and not calling him out as the one-man Berlin Wall of reaction that he is, they’re wasting everyone’s time…McConnell knows this is his role, and right now, he’s enjoying it way too much, the way he’s taken to repeatedly calling himself the “Grim Reaper” of the Senate…He, and Fox and all the Republicans, will say it’s the Democrats who are being extreme, and they’ll make it look to much of the country like it’s just your basic dysfunction again and it’s everyone’s fault. No. It’s McConnell’s fault.”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Candace on

    “What she has accomplished is presenting an image of a nominee who is tough enough to bring it to Trump.”

    How was her approach to Biden presidential? It felt like watching a moment between her and Biden in a counseling session.
    Kamala’s efforts made the debate about “the problem” with the Democratic front runner. Any point on that stage made against Trump nearly dissolved after her “victory” and for that she got a tip of 2.5 million.
    If the front runner isnt Kamala, she’s going to do the same thing again, or Trumps work to whom ever that is. People know that, right?

    And Biden, who isn’t my first choice btw, is not Trump and the Democratic party is not the GOP, so I don’t know why people are so excited over the exchange. Kamala knew Biden wasn’t going to go after anyone but Trump and that Democrats would respond to the “it was hurtful” message.

    “Within moments of the debate ending, Harris’ campaign was selling T-shirts with a picture of her as a girl in Berkeley, Calif., and the phrase she used in the debate to personalize her own journey attending the second class in her school to integrate.

    “That little girl was me,” she said.”

    If she wins, I’m sure republicans will save that one for the general election.

  2. Candace on

    “Harris’s ‘law & order’ track record would serve her well in the general election…”

    It really won’t not for Democrats or Republicans

    “Kamala Harris laughed about jailing parents over truancy”


    “Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’

    The senator was often on the wrong side of history when she served as California’s attorney general.”



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