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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his post, “Dems Should Temper Their disappointments” at The Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook shares a more hopeful perspective on the Iowa caucuses turnout:  “Washington Post columnist Karen Tumulty, whom I think very highly of, wrote the other day that Democrats “should worry” about the “mediocre” turnout at the Iowa caucuses, it being roughly the same as the 170,000 who attended in 2016 but far less than the 240,000 from 2008, when Barack Obama won. Another word for the turnout might have been “normal.” We shouldn’t use as a baseline for comparison a caucus that had unprecedented turnout, featuring not only an electric candidate like Obama, but also Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, in a three-way photo finish instead of the two-way this year between Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.”

“Face it, Democrats,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in his Washington Post column, “You are the diverse party and Republicans are the homogeneous party. Democrats include moderates and the left; Republicans are almost uniformly conservative. Among their elected officials, Democrats are the party of racial and gender diversity; Republicans aren’t. In the House, 37.9 percent of Democratic members are women, and 36.6 percent are African American or Latino. The numbers for the GOP: 6.6 percent women, 3.6 percent black or Latino.”

From Ruy Teixeira’s blog, The Optimistic Leftist: “Meanwhile, In Wisconsin – In the most recent Marquette Law School Wisconsin poll, Biden, who has been running the strongest of tested candidates in the state, was up on Trump by 4 points. That’s better than the December poll (a one point advantage) and the November poll (3 point deficit)…What’s Trump’s Achilles’ Heel in the state? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: white noncollege women. In a recent Global Strategy Group study, Trump’s net approval was +28 among white noncollege men and -2 among white noncollege women. Wow. That’s a really big difference. Leverage that difference and the Democratic candidate wins the state.”

Perry Bacon, Jr. notes in “Other Polling Nuggets” at FiveThirtyEight that “Only 45 percent of Americans say they will vote for a “‘well-qualified” candidate who is a socialist, according to new Gallup polling. More Americans say they would vote for a candidate who is an atheist (60 percent), a Muslim (66 percent), over the age of 70 (69), under 40 (70), gay or lesbian (78), an evangelical Christian (80), a woman (93), Jewish (93), Hispanic (94), Catholic (95) or black (96.)”

However, Jason Sattler contends that “Moderate Democrats have a duty to consider Sanders. He has a clear path to beating Trump.” Subtitled “Bernie Sanders isn’t even my favorite senator running for the 2020 nomination. But I see his potential to unite the Democratic Party and oust Trump,” Sattler’s article explains that “If you believe in saving democracy, the courts and the planet, and reversing the unrepentant cruelty, corruption and carelessness that define the current administration, you have a duty to at least consider the candidacy of the most popular senator in America, the top fundraiser in the Democratic primaries, and the man who has generally beaten Trump in head-to-head polls for five years now…Sure, you can’t ignore a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll that shows “socialism” — half of Sanders’ “democratic socialist” brand — about as unpopular as capitalism is popular. Conventional wisdom suggests Republicans would love to run against a socialist as the stock market continually hits new highs, raising all boats that happen to float on a sea of 401(k)s…

“Establishment Democrats seem to live in terror of reliving the 1972 presidential election, when a triangulating Richard Nixon crushed lefty George McGovern,” writes Sattler. “But two much more recent nightmares — 2000 and 2016 — are far more instructive. When Democrats fail to bring their left-most flank into the fold, Republicans are able to swipe elections…Beyond his ability to woo the party’s most reluctant supporters, the best case for the strength of Sanders’ candidacy is that pretty much every argument against him ends up pointing to why he might be uniquely electable…Claims that “nobody likes him” in Washington, or that he can’t overcome his socialist branding, ignore what sets him apart from others. Brian Fallon, former spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign, calls it an “authenticity factor.” …Bernie may be a lot of things, but he’s no one’s idea of a Capitol Hill slick…Yes, Sanders is not a Democrat. Neither are most voters. Independent is the most popular party affiliation in America by far.”

But Sanders is in 4th place in the largest swing state, as indicated by a recent Florida poll. As Max Greenwood reports at The Hill, “Michael Bloomberg is leading the pack of Democratic presidential hopefuls in Florida, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, a sign that the former New York City mayor has picked up traction in a crucial swing state before most of his rivals have even started to campaign there…The poll shows Bloomberg with 27.3 percent support in the Sunshine State, up 10 points from a similar poll released late last month. Biden, meanwhile, has seen his support in Florida plummet, falling from more than 41 percent in January to 25.9 percent this month…Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are jockeying for third place in the state, notching 10.5 percent and 10.4 percent respectively, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar sits in fifth with 8.6 percent support.”

At Vox Recode, Theodore Schleifer reports that “Furious Oracle employees are demanding that Larry Ellison cancel his Trump fundraiser,” and writes, “Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison’s decision to host a fundraiser for Donald Trump next week has awoken the usually passive workforce at his company, angering some employees who are going public with their disgust over Ellison’s actions…Ellison, the fifth-richest person in the US, surprised the tech industry on Wednesday when news broke that he would host Trump for a golf-filled fundraiser at his estate in California’s Coachella Valley next week. The event is, by far, the most significant public display of support for Trump 2020 by a tech titan…It is not as though Ellison’s support for Republicans is a total shock. Oracle has been one of the Silicon Valley giants that has worked hardest to cultivate ties to the Trump administration. Other tech giants have tried to keep at least some distance from the administration, but Oracle CEO Safra Catz has reportedly been under consideration to take senior roles within the White House, and she has hired several former senior Trump aides at Oracle.” The company’s products include database software and technology, cloud engineered systems, and enterprise software.

Ryan Fan’s medium.com post “How to Make Trump Supporters Change Their Minds” has some painfully-satirical ‘instructions’ for Democrats, which amplify James Carville’s recent comment about too many Dems emitting superiority “vapors.” Here’s a sample: “First, make sure to let Trump supporters know how stupid they are. Pull up a study that says educated people, like yourself, are less likely to support Trump to prove your point. Then, flaunt how much smarter you are than they are. Let them know they’re deplorables, and that if they lost their jobs or are going to lose their healthcare, they deserve it — especially the white working class…Let them know, verbatim, what John Oliver said last night, and then pat yourself in the back for being so funny and original. Ridicule them — that’s always the best tactic. Make sure to destroy them for reading fake news like Breitbart and Fox News, and then brag about how you read credible sources like The Huffington Post. Make sure to show them articles from The Borowitz Report, and then say “look at how ridiculous your President is.”…Let them know they’re on the wrong side of history. If they say something remotely racist, make sure to announce it to the world so no one can forget how much they deserve to be shunned. Attack anyone else that dares defend them as racist as well, and smirk at what a phenomenal debater you are.”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Erica Etelson on

    Ryan Fan’s hilarious article is the satirical short version of my new book, Beyond Contempt: How Liberals Can Communicate Across the Great Divide. The fact that so many of his readers didn’t even realize he was being satirical is sadly revealing. If we don’t learn the lessons from the 2016 “deplorables” debacle, we’re sunk.

  2. Victor on

    Thanks to so called moderates constantly switching between this and that candidates, the Democratic primaries increasingly seem like a joke. Will the country entrust a party that is so disjointed with governance at a moment when the economy, while not booming, at least seems growing and stable?

    When the majority of the people are against Trump but also think he will be reelected that is a dangerous scenario.

    Just about enough people will say they dislike Trump but end up voting for him in key states.


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