washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“Younger voters have typically turned out at lower rates than other demographic groups in elections, but they defied expectations in the 2018 midterms, with a 16-point jump in voting by 18- to 29-year-olds compared to the 2014 election, according to census data,” , report Julia Manchester and Rebecca Klar at The Hill. “Overall, 36 percent of voters in that age group cast a ballot last year, compared to 20 percent in 2014. Analysts believe a similar number or higher during a presidential year could make the difference in a race that President Trump won last time around by just a few percentage points in several key battleground states…Democratic presidential contenders have thus ramped up their pitches to young voters through frequent visits to college campuses and an increased presence on social media. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for example, kicked off a tour of universities at historically black colleges this week.”

“These groups believe this time around it could be different, potentially changing the scope of elections because of the sheer size of the groups being targeted,” Manchester and Klar note. “More than 75 million people are considered millennials, according to Brookings, while around a quarter of the U.S. population is seen as belonging to Gen Z, or roughly 82 million…That makes them a potentially powerful electoral force and a boon to Democrats — should they succeed in winning them over…“Millennials and Gen Z will comprise nearly 40 percent of the electorate next year,” DeWitt said, “which is incredible power to decide who wins elections, both at the local level and at the federal and presidential level as well.”

James Arkin writes at Politico, “To take back the White House, Democrats only need to win back three key Rust Belt states. But if they want to move a president’s agenda through the Senate, they have to flip the Sun Belt…From Arizona to North Carolina to a pair of seats in Georgia, Democrats have to clean up in that stretch of the country to have any chance of taking the chamber…”I think there’s both a Rust Belt and Sun Belt strategy that are not incompatible at all,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who has worked on presidential and Senate campaigns. He pointed to the party’s gains among suburban women, in particular, as something that occurred across regions. “There are several places in both the Sun Belt and Rust Belt where they could make the difference…Priorities USA, a top Democratic Super PAC, lists the three Rust Belt states as among their core battlegrounds for 2020, and has Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina among possible expansion states. Guy Cecil, the group’s chairman, pointed to the overlap between expansion states and Senate races at a briefing for reporters Monday and said they would take a “serious look” at potentially investing in these states because of the Senate. He said North Carolina and Arizona should be on “everyone’s target list,” and that there would be “robust conversations” around Georgia.”

Some stats on the “middle class” from Kathleeen Elkins at cnbc.com: “According to a 2018 report from the Pew Research Center, 52% of American adults live in “middle class” households. The median income of that group was $78,442 in 2016…Pew defines the middle class as adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median. That’s after incomes have been adjusted for household size, since smaller households require less money to support the same lifestyle as larger ones…About one-fifth of American households, 19%, are considered upper class, while 29% are lower class. The median income of upper class households was $187,872 in 2016. For lower income households, it was $25,624…These numbers are in 2016 dollars and scaled to reflect a three-person household…Use Pew’s income calculator to find out which group you are in, compared to other adults in your metro and among American adults overall. It also lets you find out which group you’re in compared with other adults similar to you in education, age, race or ethnicity and marital status” and size of household. “The metro with the highest share is Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where 65% of adults are considered middle class.”

Also at The Hill, Chris Mills Rodrigo reports, “Progressive organization Way to Win plans to invest $50 million to help the Democratic Party in the Sun Belt, the Associated Press reported Sunday…An advance copy of the group’s blueprint obtained by AP details a strategy to help Democrats in Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina, where the party hopes to make inroads with people of color, women and young people…Way to Win previously spent $22 million during the 2018 midterm season…“2020 is a race to drive up the most new voters possible. Our job is driving forward the new electorate in the South and Southwest.”

It looks like Elizabeth Warren going to  avoid HRC’s mistake of not showing up in white working-class communities in the midwest. As Natasha Dado reports in “Elizabeth Warren protests with striking UAW members at GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant” at clickondetroit.com: “Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, protested with General Motors workers Sunday, expressing solidarity with them…Warren participated in a “Solidarity Sunday” protest at the GM Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant. Large crowds packed the Detroit-based plant Sunday and marched alongside Warren…She thanked UAW members for standing up for the rights of workers. “I know this is hard to do without your paycheck. This is the time when we find out who people are. You do well, American workers do well across the country. Lets be clear, unions built America’s middle class,” Warren said.”

In his Wall St. Journal article, “U.S. Voters Support Expanding Medicare but Not Eliminating Private Health Insurance” John McCormick reports: “Two-thirds of registered voters support letting anyone buy into Medicare, similar to an idea that former Vice President Joe Biden and some other Democratic candidates have proposed. Two-thirds say that young adults brought to the U.S. illegally should be allowed to stay, an idea broadly supported by the party’s presidential field. Nearly 60% of registered voters support making tuition free at state colleges and universities…But several other ideas backed by majorities of Democratic voters and some of the party’s 2020 candidates draw significant opposition from the electorate overall, the new poll finds…Some 56% of registered voters oppose a Medicare for All plan that would replace private insurance, as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and some others have proposed, while 57% oppose the idea of immediately canceling student-loan debt for all borrowers. Mr. Sanders also has proposed the latter, while Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren backs it with limits…government-sponsored health care to undocumented immigrants was the least popular among the broader electorate, with 62% rejecting it.”

“Asked about two leading health-care proposals that have divided the Democratic presidential field,” McCormick continues, “the party’s primary voters mostly favored the idea of allowing people under age 65 to buy into Medicare, just like they might buy private insurance. Some 78% supported that idea, while 63% backed Medicare for All, which would replace private insurance with a government plan…Of three proposals to make college more affordable, the most popular in the survey was the idea of income-based repayment, a policy in existing law and backed by former President Barack Obama in which borrowers devote a fixed amount of their income to student-debt repayment, with the unpaid balance forgiven after a certain number of years…Just 15% of registered Democrats in the poll say their economic situation is getting better, while 68% of Republicans feel that way. Half of those in rural areas say they’re gaining economically, compared with just over a third of urban residents.”

E. J. Dionne, Jr. explains why “Why Trump gets away with everything” in his syndicated WaPo column: “Here we have a whistleblower from the intelligence community who, as The Washington Post reported, found a “promise” that President Trump made to a foreign leader “so alarming” that the “official who had worked at the White House went to the inspector general of the intelligence community.”…the White House and Justice Department are stonewalling, thus ripping apart systems of accountability that were put in place to prevent the abuse of the substantial powers we have given our intelligence services. This is part of a larger undertaking by Trump and his minions to block Congress from receiving information or hearing from witnesses, which is part of Congress’ normal and constitutionally sanctioned work of keeping an eye on the executive branch…You might think that Republicans who have made national security their calling card since the Reagan era might finally hit the limits of their cravenness in the face of a whistleblower’s bravery. But the party, our politics and our media system are too broken for the old norms to apply.” American presidents have evaded accountability before, but never to this extent. Perhaps it was inevitable that a president would push the evasion to the limit and play the ‘deny and delay’ card as often as he could get away with it. Consequently, the fate of American democracy now depends on swing voters in a handful of states.

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