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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman put the Super Tuesday results in perspective at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, noting “That Joe Biden swept the South was not that big of a surprise; that he won states outside of it was…The overall delegate math is unclear and may very well have ended up close on Super Tuesday, but Bernie Sanders needed to come out of it with a significant lead. He didn’t do that…With Biden likely to win more big victories in the South, Sanders has to win some of the big upcoming Midwestern states — Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio — to keep pace.”

Arguing that “Donald Trump is the Democrats’ Best GOTV,” at The Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook writes that “The other thing that Biden lacked that literally, every other candidate had more of than he did: money and organization. Sanders and Warren had invested in field operations and the early vote for months. Bloomberg, of course, spent more than $500 million on TV ads and campaign infrastructure. But, in the end, Biden had the more powerful GOTV operation: Donald J. Trump. Democrats want to beat Trump. Biden is the guy who is most likely to do it. The end.”

From Ari Berman’s “Here’s Why Texans Had to Wait Six Hours to Vote: The state closed a record 750 polling places from 2012 to 2018” at Mother Jones: “While voters in California also faced delays due to a shortage of polling locations and problems with new voting technology, the longest waits took place in Texas, particularly in Houston’s Harris County, where the population is 43 percent Latino and 19 percent black…Texas’ troubles weren’t just a case of bureaucratic incompetence or aging election infrastructure: The long lines were also by design. As my colleague Sam Van Pykeren noted last night, from 2012 to 2018, Texas counties shuttered 750 polling places—more than any other state. The closures disproportionately harmed Democratic and minority voters. “The 50 counties that gained the most Black and Latinx residents between 2012 and 2018 closed 542 polling sites, compared to just 34 closures in the 50 counties that have gained the fewest black and Latinx residents,” according to a recent analysis in The Guardian…Texas was allowed to close these polling places because of a 2013 Supreme Court decision gutting the Voting Rights Act that enabled states with a long history of voting discrimination like Texas to take such actions without federal approval. All together, states previously subject to such supervision have shut down 1,688 polling locations from 2012 to 2018, according to a report by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.”

At The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein writes, “Stanley B. Greenberg, a veteran Democratic pollster, argued that Super Tuesday’s results establish Biden as the clear front-runner for the nomination at the convention in July….“Sanders has made no effort to reach out beyond his voters, his movement, his revolution,” Greenberg said. “It just has not grown. It is an utterly stable vote that is grounded in the very liberal portion of the Democratic Party, but he’s so disdainful of any outreach beyond that base. He seems content to just keep hitting that drum.” Brownstein notes that “big showdowns are looming over the next two Tuesdays in Florida, Arizona, and a quartet of Rust Belt battlegrounds: Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Michigan…But if Biden wins next week in Michigan, one of Sanders’s most significant victories four years ago, the rationale for the senator’s candidacy could quickly become murky.”

Brownstein continues, “Sanders failed on almost every front to enlarge his coalition. He faced a sharp recoil from groups that have long been the most skeptical of him, including African Americans and older voters. Biden, conversely, received exactly the kind of consolidation among black voters that his campaign had hoped for after his strong performance in South Carolina: He carried about three-fifths or more of African American voters in Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, and Alabama and a majority in Tennessee, according to the exit polls. Outside of Vermont, Sanders faced cavernous deficits among voters 45 and older, who composed a clear majority of the electorate in most states.”

“Biden reversed Sanders’s previously consistent advantage among white voters without a college degree,” Brownstein adds. “That latter breakthrough could be especially important for Biden in the upcoming midwestern states, where blue-collar white voters constitute a larger share of the Democratic primary electorate than in most places. A poll from Michigan released last night showed Biden pulling past Sanders there, even before the Super Tuesday results…In 2016, Sanders won Michigan on the strength of a solid 15-point advantage among those working-class white voters. To keep them in his corner, he’s likely over the next week to stress his opposition to free-trade agreements that his rival supported, such as the now defunct North American Free Trade Agreement.

Brownstein notes further: “The reversal among white voters without a college degree was equally striking. During his 2016 race, Sanders carried most of them, according to the cumulative exit-poll analysis, and he won most of them in each of the first four states this year too. But last night showed that Sanders now has genuine competition: The exit polls found that Biden carried most of them in Virginia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, while Sanders won them in Texas, Vermont, Colorado, and California. (The two split them closely in North Carolina.)”

The good news from Montana, from The Week: “Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) is reportedly now inclined to run for the state’s Senate seat, which is occupied by Trump ally Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), three Democratic officials told The New York Times. Bullock, whose term limits prevent him running for governor again, has long maintained he wasn’t interested in the Upper Chamber, partially because he views himself as an executive (he briefly ran for president last year), but also because he reportedly didn’t want to put a strain on his family by commuting between Montana and Washington every week…But Democrats kept pushing in the hopes that Bullock’s popularity as a Democrat in his red home state could help flip at least one Senate seat blue as the party tries to reverse the 53-47 Republican majority in 2020.”

Cal Cunningham, an Army veteran and former state senator, will take on Sen. Thom Tillis (R) in what’s expected to be an extremely competitive North Carolina Senate race this fall,” Li Zhou reports in “This North Carolina Democrat will try to unseat Thom Tillis this fall: The state is one of Democrats’ biggest targets come November” at Vox. “Cunningham beat out a slate of opponents, including progressive state Sen. Erica Smith, to win Democrats’ North Carolina Senate primary on Tuesday night. Viewed as a more moderate option, he’s centered his campaign on the expansion of the Affordable Care Act, opposed the Green New Deal, and garnered the backing of Senate Democrats’ national campaign arm…With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cunningham won 57 percent to Smith’s 35 percent. Cunningham, now in-house counsel for an environmental consultancy, ran for the Senate in 2010 and lost in the runoff.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Dave Curran on

    Biden hasn’t made any effort to expand his coalition either.

    Progressives are possibly gonna be asked in November to vote for the guy who;

    -enthusiastically backed Bush on the iraq war,

    -rewrote the nation’s bankruptcy laws at the behest of the credit card industry,

    -pushed for cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid,

    -denounced the idea of single payer care using Republican talking points, in favour of his own plan which will only reduce health costs by ahout 5%,

    -reassured rich donors that their standard of living won’t change

    -wrote the draconian crime bill of the 90s that has damaged the lives of millions of african americans.

    -said “i have no empathy” for young people’s economic hardship.

    You’d think maybe he would be being asked why he hasn’t tried to win over more people from the progressive wing of the party.


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