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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

How are Trump’s recent comments urging the congresswomen of ‘the squad” to go back to where they came from polling? At Daily Kos, Hunter explains that “Two thirds of Americans call Trump’s racist tweets ‘offensive;’ a majority call them ‘un-American’“. Hunter notes that “The American public, aside from Republican members of Congress, isn’t going to take nonsense on this one. In a new USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, Americans are calling Donald Trump’s racist weekend tweets “offensive.” And in a result Trump and his allies might be more pointedly concerned about, 59% of Americans are calling Trump’s racist tweets “un-American.”…That is not to say that a majority of self-identified Republicans aren’t standing by Trump. After all, 57% say they agree with Trump’s tweet for his targeted non-white, American-citizen congresswomen to “go back” to their “original” countries. But those Trump allies are overwhelmed by widespread public revulsion by Democrats and independents. Women, in particular, found the tweets offensive by a three-fourths majority…The poll underscores, yet again, just how far the Republican base has drifted from the rest of America’s beliefs and morality.”

With respect to the same poll, Catherine Kim notes at Vox that “A new poll indicates why GOP members are reluctant to chastise the president. Although a USA Today/Ipsos poll found that a majority of people, 68 percent, saw Trump’s tweets as offensive, there was a stark partisan divide: 93 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of independents found the tweet offensive, while only 37 percent of Republicans did, according to the poll, which was released on Wednesday…Only 45 percent of Republicans found telling minorities to “go back where they came from” to be a racist statement, which starkly contrasts with the 85 percent of Democrats who think that way…While 88 percent of Democrats found the president’s tweets “un-American,” only 25 percent of Republicans felt the same way. The difference became more evident when people were asked if it was American to “to point out where America falls short and try to do better.” Fifty-two percent of Republicans found those who criticized American to be un-American, while only 17 percent of Democrats agreed….Following the uproar surrounding Trump’s racist comments, support for the president among Republicans rose by 5 percentage points to 72 percent, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday. The same could not be said for his support among other groups: His net approval rating dropped by 2 percent among Democrats…Overall approval of his performance in office remained at 41 percent, while 55 percent disapproved, the same as last week.”

In FiveThirtyEight’s panel discussion, “Will ‘The Squad’ vs. Pelosi Be A Big Problem For Democrats In 2020?,” Perry Bacon, Jr. observes, “My own, non-data judgement, is yes, Democrats would be slightly better off if AOC and her allies were less prominent in the run-up to the 2020 election. Why? Because having issues of race and identity (like immigration policy and four very liberal, female people of color) being central to the presidential election is hard for Democrats. They have become the party of people of color but most voters are white and this is especially true in key swing states (in particular, Michigan and Wisconsin). Also, Trump is likely to run a 2020 campaign about race and identity that raises the question of who should represent America–forcing voters to take sides…Pelosi, I assume, does not want the 2020 election to be seen by the public as a battle between AOC’s vision of America (even if Biden is the Democratic nominee) and Trump’s vision of America. And I think she is right to be concerned about that. This is not a new challenge for Democrats. Hillary Clinton was probably not helped by the rise of Black Lives Matter preceding the 2016 election, and backlash to the civil rights movement arguably helped Richard Nixon win the 1972 election.”

Chris Cillizza explains “Why Trump so badly wants 2020 to be all about socialism” at CNN’s ‘The Point’:”In the Pew poll, which was done earlier this spring, 84% of Republicans and lean Republicans said they have a negative view of socialism. That number included 63% of Republicans who said they has a “strongly” negative view of it…How do you convince those soft(er) Republicans to be for Trump in 2020 despite their misgivings? You find an issue that you can brand the other side with that makes the choice in 2020 between someone you have doubts about and someone that you believe will fundamentally undermine the capitalist system that has, to borrow a phrase, made America great…You getting it now?  If the choice in 2020 is between Trump and and a Democrat, he likely loses. If it’s between Trump and a Democrat-who-is-really-a-Socialist, he has a hell of a lot better chance at a 2nd term.”

“If Trump does as well or even better in his base areas than he did in 2016, and the Democrats do not improve on their suburban numbers, then the president will almost surely be reelected,” Martin Longman writes at The Washington Monthly. “This is still not all that likely to happen in my view for the simple reason that Trump has lost support throughout his four years in office. He cannot depend on people to vote for him on the assumption that he’s going to lose anyway. He’s not a (ha, ha) joke or protest candidate anymore. He won’t get the considerable bloc of people who always vote against the incumbent regardless of party. He won’t automatically get the historically anti-Clinton suburban vote either, since there will be no Clinton on the ballot. More than this, Trump has definitely lost support among moderates, particularly well-educated folks from the professional classes. He’s going to do worse with South Asians, East Asians, Latinos, and blacks than he did four years ago. He’s not beginning this race at the starting line with his opponent. Despite the advantages of incumbency, he is starting from the rear…Nixon did not suffer from most of these disadvantages in 1972. He would have been difficult to defeat no matter who the Democrats nominated or what they promised on the campaign trail. Trump is not looking at potentially winning 49 states. He’s looking at trying to win twice while losing the popular vote.”

Nathaniel Rackich brings good news for Dems, also at FiveThirtyEight: “One of the strongest signs of a blue wave in the 2018 election was the green wave that preceded it: Democratic candidates running in that cycle raised googobs of money (a highly technical term). So in addition to indicators like the generic congressional ballot and special election results, the second-quarter fundraising reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission are another clue as to whether Democratic momentum will carry forward into 2020’s congressional races. And while it’s still early in the election cycle, it looks like fundraising is once again a bullish indicator for Democrats’ success, at least in the Senate…In competitive Senate elections — those that the three major electionhandicappers rate as anything other than solid red or blue1 — Democrats have raised $34.1 million in total contributions in the first six months of 2019, and Republicans have raised $29.3 million…That gap is especially troubling for the GOP because there are eight Republican incumbents running in those 14 races, and incumbents usually raise more money than challengers early on. While Democrats have only four incumbents running, they’ve raised more than four times as much as their Republican challengers in those races. And in the two open-seat races, Democrats are outraising Republicans $1.9 million to $763,771.”

“California Sen. Kamala Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are in a close race in California, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday,” Grace Sparks writes at CNN Politics. “The poll shows Harris at 23%, Biden at 21% and Sanders at 18%. The difference between the candidates’ numbers are within the poll’s margin of error…Beyond the top three, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren sits at 16%…The race has tightened since a Quinnipiac April survey found Biden, who had not yet formally announced his candidacy, besting the other contenders with 26% of Democratic voters in the Golden State; in that poll, Sanders was at 18%, Harris 17% and Warren 7%…Harris and Warren have both surged since that survey, while Biden has dropped and Sanders has remained steady.”

Oliver Willis notes that “Mitch McConnell is so unpopular only 9% of his campaign cash came from his home state” at shareblue.com. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell only received 9% of his reelection campaign donations from his home state of Kentucky, reflecting poorly on his popularity there…The biggest blocks of contributions during the period came from two global financial services firms based in New York: 29 people with Blackstone Group made contributions totaling $95,400; and 14 executives of KKR & Co. are listed as giving a combined $51,000,” the Louisville Courier-Journal reported on Wednesday…”The lack of home state dollars could give potential challengers an opening to criticize McConnell as out of step with the state,” the Center for Responsive Politics, who compiled the embarrassing data on McConnell, noted.”

The stereotype of military veterans as supporters of war takes a big hit in a new Pew Research poll. As Adam Weinstein explains at The New Republic: “The “Long War” that began on September 11, 2001, added to veterans’ already-outsize role in the American narrative. Worship of military service has become an indispensable cog in every politician’s and corporation’s endearment strategy. But on the actual subject of war, almost no one in mainstream politics is actually listening to “the troops.”…That’s the main takeaway from the Pew Research Center’s latest rolling poll of U.S. veterans, published Thursday, in which solid majorities of former troops said the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria were not worth fighting. The gaps between approval and disapproval were not even close to the poll’s 3.9 percent margin of error; barely a third of veterans considered any of those conflicts worthwhile: “Among veterans, 64% say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting considering the costs versus the benefits to the United States, while 33% say it was. The general public’s views are nearly identical: 62% of Americans overall say the Iraq War wasn’t worth it and 32% say it was. Similarly, majorities of both veterans (58%) and the public (59%) say the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting. About four-in-ten or fewer say it was worth fighting…Veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan are no more supportive of those engagements than those who did not serve in these wars. And views do not differ based on rank or combat experience.” The only meaningful variation pollsters found among vets was by party identification: Republican-identifying veterans were likelier to approve of the wars. But even a majority of those GOP vets now say the wars were not worth waging.”

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