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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

For an in-depth analysis and better understanding of political demographics and regional trends in presidential politics in Pennsylvania, check out FiveThirtyEight’s audio “Politics Podcast: Who’s Going To Win Pennsylvania In 2020? Citing the “Comey effect” and the lack of good late polling in PA contributing to the surprise outcome of Trump’s PA win in 2016, G. Terry McDonough, director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll, shares his take on Trump’s prospects for winning the state’s electoral votes again: “Heres the key. Will Trump’s base — they will be with him — but will they be as excited about it and will the turnout be as large as it was in 2016 to offset what is probably going to be a bigger loss in the suburbs than existed before?…Trump’s polling is weaker in Pennsylvania than it is nationally…The Democrats can win the state by focusing on the four Philadelphia suburban counties, the city of Philadelphia, Allegheny County – Pittsburgh – and its suburbs and a couple of counties up in the Lehigh valley…and they always carry Centre County.”

At Dissent, Harold Meyerson notes in his article, “Beyond the Backlash” that “only the white segment of the abandoned working class has responded by moving right. One of the factors behind that movement—a historic factor that the authors don’t consider—is deunionization. Exit polls of presidential elections going back to the late 1960s have generally shown that the margin by which union members vote for the Democrat exceeds that of non-members by roughly 9 percentage points. For white male union members, however, that margin swells to 20 percentage points when compared to their non-union counterparts. Viewed through this prism, the shift of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin into the Republican column in 2016 becomes a bit less mysterious: these are all states where levels of unionization have shrunk from postwar heights of close to 40 percent to current depths near single digits. And while deunionization hasn’t driven African Americans to the right, it has almost certainly reduced their turnout—also a factor in Trump’s victory in once-industrial heartland states.”

At CNN Politics Harry Enten shares some thoughts on the role of Wisconsin in the 2020 presidential election: “The potential problem for the Democratic candidate lies in Wisconsin. Trump’s net approval in that state was -4 points in the 2018 exit polls. That was 5 points higher than it was nationally. Taking into account uncontested races, the Democratic House candidates cumulatively won the House vote by 4 points less in Wisconsin than they did nationally…In other words, the potentially pivotal state in the electoral college may be 4 to 5 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in 2020. This means the opportunity for an electoral college/popular vote split in Trump’s favor remains quite plausible…Still, Trump would lose Wisconsin and the presidential election if the same people came out and voted for the same party in 2020 as they did in 2018.”

Share Blue’s Dan Desai Martin reports that “New poll shows Trump losing Georgia and North Carolina in 2020,” and observes: “Trump’s monumental unpopularity is threatening his reelection chances in two red states in the deep south: Georgia and North Carolina. A PPP poll released Friday shows Trump losing both states to a generic Democrat…In Georgia, Trump trails 50%-46%, while his numbers in North Carolina are slightly worse, trailing 49%-44%…In their analysis, the pollsters note that chatter about how the Democrats could with the 2020 general election has centered on a handful of Midwestern states — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — but these new polls “show a possible backup plan to victory in the South as well.”…The same poll showed more voters in both states disapproving of Trump’s job performance than approving of it. In Georgia, Trump was underwater by a 45%-49% gap, and in North Carolina, 46% approve of Trump while 49%  disapprove.”

From Michael Tomasky’s “The Southern Strategy Is Back, With a Vengeance. Here’s How Democrats Beat It. This can’t be Trump vs. the Squad. It’s got to be Trump vs. the unified Democratic Party” at The Daily Beast: “The President of the United States is a racist. And the Democrats need to make it an issue. They need to attack him as a racist. They need to nail every Republican to the wall. They need to make this an issue in 2020. If they don’t play hardball here, they will lose…Trump’s ploy is obvious. He wants to make this about AOC, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib. Make them the face of the Democratic Party, and make people believe they’re “communists,” as both he and Lindsey Graham said Monday, echoing some of the most disgusting demagoguery this country has ever known…That’s what Trump wants. And if the Democrats don’t answer  it, they will lose. If they leave it to the Squad to defend themselves, as they gamely attempted to do Monday evening, not only will the four of them be ostracized—but Democrats, the whole party, will lose. This can’t just be Donald Trump vs. The Squad. It has to be Donald Trump vs. the entire unified Democratic Party, and it can’t be about the four of them, it has to be about him.”

“Top Democrats have revealed how they plan to interview special counsel Robert Mueller when he testifies before the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees this week,” Riley Beggin writes in “What Democrats Want from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Upcomming Testimony” at Vox. “Their ultimate goal: To make Mueller’s 448-page report on Donald Trump’s ties with Russia and potential obstruction of justice vivid and interesting to the American people…House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday on Face the Nation that doing so is important because most Americans haven’t read Mueller’s summary of his two-year-long investigation…Schiff called the report “a pretty damning set of facts that involve a presidential campaign in a close race welcoming help from a hostile foreign power,” but admitted it is “a pretty dry prosecutorial work product.”…“Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself?” Schiff asked…Only 3 percent of Americans have read all of the Mueller report and only 10 percent have read some of it, according to a CNN poll released in May…After Mueller spoke briefly in May, the percentage of Americans who supported beginning impeachment proceedings went from 16 percent to 22 percent, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.”

Some “key points” from “2020 Redistricting: An Early Look: GOP retains edge, but perhaps not as sharp of one as it had following 2010” by Kyle Kondik at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “The Supreme Court’s recent decision to stay out of adjudicating gerrymandering doesn’t necessarily change anything because the court had never put limits on partisan redistricting in the first place…Republicans are still slated to control the drawing of many more districts than Democrats following the 2020 census, although there are reasons to believe their power will not be as great as it was following the last census…How aggressively majority parties in a number of small-to-medium-sized states target incumbents of the minority party following 2020 may help tell us whether the Supreme Court’s decision will lead to more aggressive gerrymanders.”

In her Truthdig article, “Elizabeth Warren Is Putting the Consultant Class on Notice,” Ilana Novick explains that “There’s no outside polling firm or plans to marshal resources for a massive television ad campaign. In fact, campaign staff tells Politico that “it is shunning the typical model for producing campaign ads, in which outside firms are hired and paid often hefty commissions for their work. Instead, Warren’s campaign is producing TV, digital and other media content itself, as well as placing its digital ad buys internally.”…This approach, Politico reporter Alex Thompson explains, “is a rebuke of the consultant-heavy model of campaigns — an often lucrative arrangement in which the people advising campaigns invariably tell candidates that the best political strategy is to buy what they sell, namely TV ads and polling.”…According to Thompson, the ascension of Rospars to chief campaign strategist also “signals that the campaign is prioritizing smartphones and computers over TV.”…If Warren makes it to the general election, Thompson writes, “a large swath of Democratic consultants, including some whom Warren has used in past campaigns, could be relegated to the sidelines.”

At Tapped: The Prospect Group Blog, Katie Malone advises Dems on Building the Right Narrative to Win the Next Recession, and urges, “Before the next recession hits, Democrats need to outline a persuasive narrative to spur large-scale investment. Romer admits that the administration should have done more to make the case in favor of fiscal stimulus to the American public. But since then, the American public has seemingly grown skeptical of much-needed interventions. As Romer told EPI, “Even actions like extending unemployment insurance during a long downturn are now highly controversial.”…Part of the reason for misguided public attitudes, experts lament, is the failure of Democrats to shape the debate. Margarida Jorge, a grassroots organizing expert and executive director of Health Care for America Now, commented on how easy it is for Republicans to monopolize the conversation about the economy when Democrats remain silent about the issue. “When you have nothing to say and your opposition has a lot to say,” Jorge said, “people tend to believe your opposition…Crafting the right narrative about defending workers, reining in Wall Street, and strengthening the social safety net is the first step to drafting adequate policy.”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Mike Fogelberg on

    Quick thought: Dems could proposing “re-purposing” closed auto plants in Ohio and elsewhere to renewables, manufacturing wind turbines, solar and other renewable energy products, and build in a re=-training program for folks who lost jobs due to auto plant closures. Seems a ready made opportunity.

    • Victor on

      These promises would fall flat because Democrats have already been promising this for such a long time.

      The plans would have to be a lot more concrete.


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