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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “Early polls show voter support for impeachment is growing,” Li Zhou writes at Vox: “Two new polls this week highlight the same trend: voter support for impeachment is growing. Both surveys were conducted amid a dizzying week of developments in Washington, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement of a formal impeachment inquiry as well as the emergence of a whistleblower report regarding a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky… According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll that was conducted between September 24 and 26, support for impeachment across party lines now stands at 43 percent, an uptick from 36 percent just last week. Similarly, a HuffPost/YouGov poll, also fielded between September 24 and 26, found that the margin between those backing impeachment and those who oppose it was expanding. In this week’s survey, 47 percent supported impeachment, while 39 percent opposed it, compared to 43 percent and 41 percent that felt the same way in a previous September poll. An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll that was held on September 25 also found that 49 percent of voters favor impeachment proceedings.”

At FiveThirtyEight, Dhrumil Mehta adds, “Of the five polls from which we have data so far, one is from a high-quality telephone pollster — Quinnipiac. And their latest poll shows a 5-percentage-point increase in support for impeachment overall and a 12-percentage-point increase among Democrats since they were last asked the question in July. Keep in mind, too, this poll went into the field on Sept. 19 — a full day before The Wall Street Journal first broke the story of Trump’s call with Zelensky, and only stayed in the field through Monday, the day before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry…But, of course, it’s important to note that all of this polling is reallypreliminary. Even over the course of this week, a lot has happened that the polls don’t account for…Americans may still be digesting the flurry of news and deciding how they feel about it.”

Rebecca Shabad and Alex Moe update the pro-impeachment tally at nbcnews.com: “By the weekend, as they headed out on a two-week congressional break, 225 of 235 House Democrats, had backed some form of impeachment action, according to NBC News’ latest count. One independent, Rep. Justin Amash, I-Mich., also backed impeaching Trump…That meant more than 95 percent of the caucus had voiced support for some type of action on impeachment, and only 10 holdouts like [NJ Rep. Jeff] Van Drew remained — the pressure on them from all sides increasing, with each of them now potentially decisive in any possible vote to actually impeach the president…Those holdouts all represented districts Trump won in 2016.”

Daniel Bush asks “Will Trump impeachment strategy help 2020 Dems – or backfire?” at pbs.org. Bush notes, “If they go forward with impeachment proceedings I think it completely changes the dynamic of the election,” said Joe Keefe, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party…Pelosi’s decision to publicly back the Democrats’ ongoing impeachment investigations may buoy progressive Democrats who support a more aggressive approach against Trump, Keefe said…But he argued a drawn-out, highly partisan impeachment fight could also energize Trump’s base in New Hampshire and elsewhere and motivate moderate Republicans who may not be ardent Trump supporters to come off the sidelines and support the president in the general election next year…“It’s a mixed blessing for Democrats,” Keefe said.”

“However the revelations of Trump seeking to leverage military aide to Ukraine in return for the latter investigating Joe Biden changes the calculus.  It does so for several reasons.  One, the gravity of the problem is greater with apparently clearer evidence of the president inviting a foreign government to interfere in US elections.  Two, it involves direct abuse of power by the president to leverage US military aid for personal partisan purposes.  Three, for Democrats, it is direct attack by Trump on a presidential front runner and if the former is not sanctioned or punished for that, who knows what ever other dirty tricks might occur…But additionally, two other variables come into play.  The first is that now a majority of House Democrats support impeachment.  Two, it is the issue of time. Timed precisely, a Senate trial would get maximum political payoff for Democrats.  This is why Pelosi is reconsidering impeachment now.” – from “The 2020 Democratic Impeachment Strategy and Why it Makes Sense Now” by David Schultz at Counterpunch.

David de la Fuente, senior political analyst at Third Way, identifies “The 99 House Districts That Will Determine Dems’ Fate,” with respect to the presidency and Senate, as well as in the House. “There’s a lot on the line in 2020,” de la Fuente writes, “but 99 seats now held by House Democrats will likely determine who occupies the White House, sits in the Senate Majority Leader’s office, and holds the gavel in the House of Representatives’ chamber. Some are nail-biter swing districts, and some are cakewalks where the outcome of the race is not in doubt. But each in their own way has an outsized influence on the contests that will shape America’s immediate political future. That is to say, all House districts are about equal in population but not in electoral relevance. In this paper, we rank the 99 districts on a five-point political Richter scale that measures how much these races can potentially shake up the political landscape…In our current system, there are places where structural realities make getting more Democratic votes fruitless in the big scheme of creating a Democratic federal government trifecta. If you want to see Democrats make progress on anything at the federal level in the next decade, you should pay close attention to the ninety-nine districts where gaining votes will deliver greater victories.”

Froma Harrop writes at CNN Politics that “Democrats might ask themselves why President Donald Trump is so intent on smearing former Vice President Joe Biden with phony scandals. Why isn’t he doing the same to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s been climbing in the polls and has a shot at becoming the Democratic nominee for president?…The clear answer is that Biden, in his own words, could “beat him like a drum” — and while Warren could win against Trump, her victory does not look like a resounding one, according to recent polls. In Trump’s view, Biden poses the greatest threat and must be destroyed. And what better way than to wound Biden to the point that Democrats might think he’s more trouble than he’s worth?…Biden is still a stronger bet against Trump in crucial swing states like Wisconsin and Ohio, compared to Warren. The most recent Wisconsin poll pitting Democrats against Trump has Biden winning by 9 points, while Elizabeth Warren is tied with the President. In Ohio, Biden is the only Democrat who can beat Trump. According to the most recent Quinnipiac pollfrom July, Biden leads Trump by 8 points, while Sanders and Warren both trail the President by 1.”

In her Washington Monthly article, “How 2020 Democrats Are Missing the Message on the Economy: The candidates have yet to tackle the growing problem of regional inequality,” Anne Kim observes, “The 2020 Democratic primary has seen no shortage of big, ambitious ideas—the nationalization of health care via “Medicare for All,” free college, free child care, and the cancellation of student debt, just to name a few…But there’s one big idea still missing: how to fix the stark and growing disparities between the parts of the country that are prospering and those that are falling behind. Regional inequality is perhaps the greatest challenge to America’s economic and political future, but 2020 candidates have yet to tackle, let alone acknowledge, the problem. It’s an omission that could have long-term substantive consequences for Democrats…But so far, the top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination have stuck to universalist policy ideas like Medicare for All, while discussions of inequality have centered on race or class, but not on geography…None of the candidates have put forth signature policy priorities that would rejuvenate the moribund economies of the industrial Midwest, or help heartland economies generate the kind of prosperity that their coastal neighbors enjoy…The absence of a credible Democratic agenda on regional prosperity is one reason Trump has had free rein to exploit and magnify the economic discontent in large parts of the country for his political gain. As wrong-headed and destructive as his policies have been, his supporters can rightly say that Trump has at least acknowledged the significance of their economic decline…Democrats shouldn’t continue to leave the field to Trump to romp at will…As the Monthly’s Daniel Block has argued, the emerging geography of this divided America means Democrats must broaden their appeal and reach heartland voters if they want to win in 2020 and beyond. Democrats don’t have the luxury of writing off “flyover country” to rely solely on their base in major coastal cities.”

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