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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Regarding the big difference between the coronavirus stimulus plans being advocated by Republicans and Democrats, Joan McCarter notes at Daily Kos: “One Democrat details the problems with the Republican bill as of now: no strong worker protections, with language that says corporations must keep employees “to the extent possible,” allowing them to keep bailout money and still fire workers, the Democrats would offer loan forgiveness to companies that keep at minimum of 90% of employees; the corporate bailout fund has “virtually no restraints,” and is all up to Mnuchin to determine—which means the Trump Organization could be getting bailed out with these funds by the Trump administration, as if he hasn’t profited enough off the taxpayers at this point; “very weak buybacks restrictions” to keep corporations from using any of the funds to buyback stocks, rather than pump money into operating expenses—and those restrictions that can be waived by Mnuchin; they would impose just a 2 year limit on corporations increasing executive compensation; the assistance to airlines is all in loans rather than grants, which could result in tens of thousands of layoffs (the industry unions want grants)…”We are the ones who are on the front lines fighting the virus,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, told the Washington Post. “Our entire economy depends on relief focused on workers. We must keep everyone in their job and connected to their health care.”…As of Sunday morning, Pelosi says she’s not on board. “From my standpoint, we’re apart,” she told reporters. Schumer concurs. “I’m just going to tell you that we need a bill that puts workers first, not corporations,” he told reporters.” The hope is that the Senate will vote today at noon.

In his article, “GOP Stimulus Plan Is a Trillion-Dollar Trump Re-Election Fund” at The Daily Beast, Michael Tomasky writes, “It’s revolting to watch these Trump press conferences…The president of the United States standing up there in the midst of this crisis—we started March with 89 cases; as I write, on March 19, we’re above 11,000—picking fights with the press, still insistently saying “Chinese virus,” taking credit for things he didn’t do, bragging about how it would all be much worse if he hadn’t banned travel from China.” As for Republiocans in congress, Tomasky adds, “But to watch these people, who’ve spent 40 years policing the Government Is Evil beat, see that now we need government after all exposes the lie that’s been at the heart of conservative rhetoric for two generations…This campaign is going to be about this, period. The virus. When the Biden campaign hits the air with commercials about Trump disbanding the National Security Council pandemic unit, how many people are going to vote on what Hunter Biden did six years ago?”

Could Biden’s Weakness With Young Voters Hurt Him In The General Election?” Perry Bacon, Jr. addresses the question at FiveThirtyEight and responds, “According to exit polls from recent elections and polling data from this year, the answer is, not necessarily…First, Biden is likely to win voters under 45 by double digits against Trump. The former vice president would have two big advantages: He’s a Democrat, and he’s running against Trump. Democrats have won the under-45 vote in every recent election — even in cycles that were terrible to mediocre for the party overall, such as in 2010, 2014 and 2016…Furthermore, the cohort of Americans under 40 includes significantly more Asian, black and Latino people than the cohort over 40 — all Democratic-leaning groups. But even younger white people tend to vote for Democrats at higher rates than their older counterparts…Hillary Clinton won the under-45 vote by 14 percentage points in the 2016 general election, according to exit polls, a margin similar to that won by then-President Barack Obama four years earlier.1 But in the 2018 midterms — essentially a referendum on Trump’s performance even though he wasn’t on the ballot — Democrats won voters under 45 by 25 points...All that said, a potential problem for the Democrats with Biden at the top of the ticket is not that younger voters will back Trump but that they might either stay home or vote third-party.”

Ronald Brownstein explains why “Red and Blue America Aren’t Experiencing the Same Pandemic: The disconnect is already shaping, even distorting, the nation’s response” at The Atlantic: “In several key respects, the outbreak’s early stages are unfolding very differently in Republican- and Democratic-leaning parts of the country. That disconnect is already shaping, even distorting, the nation’s response to this unprecedented challenge—and it could determine the pandemic’s ultimate political consequences as well…A flurry of new national polls released this week reveals that while anxiety about the disease is rising on both sides of the partisan divide, Democrats consistently express much more concern about it than Republicans do, and they are much more likely to say they have changed their personal behavior as a result. A similar gap separates people who live in large metropolitan centers, which have become the foundation of the Democratic electoral coalition, from those who live in the small towns and rural areas that are the modern bedrock of the GOP.”

Brownstein cites recent polls indicating a wide disparity: “A national Gallup poll released Monday, for instance, found that while 73 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of independents said they feared that they or someone in their family might be exposed to the coronavirus, only 42 percent of Republicans agreed. That 31-percentage-point difference dwarfed the gap in February, when slightly more Republicans (30 percent) than Democrats (26 percent) said they were concerned…Other surveys have found comparably stunning differences. In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday, Republicans were only half as likely as Democrats to say that they planned to stop attending large gatherings, and just one-third as likely to say that they had cut back on eating at restaurants. In an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released Tuesday, just over half of Republicans said the threat from the virus had been exaggerated, compared with one in five Democrats and two in five independents…In a nationwide Kaiser Family Foundation poll released the same day, about half of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents said the outbreak had disrupted their life at least some, according to detailed results provided to me by the pollsters. But only one-third of Republicans and those who leaned Republican agreed. About half of Democrats said they had changed travel plans and decided not to attend large gatherings. In both cases, less than one-third of Republicans agreed.”

“Government responses have followed these same tracks,” Brownstein adds. “With a few prominent exceptions, especially Ohio, states with Republican governors have been slower, or less likely, than those run by Democrats to impose restrictions on their residents. Until earlier this week, Donald Trump downplayed the disease’s danger and overstated the extent to which the United States had “control” over it, as the conservative publication The Bulwark recently documented. Conservative media figures including Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity likewise insisted for weeks that the media and Democrats were exaggerating the danger as a means of weakening Trump. Several Republicanelected officials encouraged their constituents to visit bars and restaurants precisely when federal public-health officials were urging the opposite…This divergence reflects not only ideological but also geographic realities. So far, the greatest clusters of the disease, and the most aggressive responses to it, have indeed been centered in a few large, Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas, including Seattle, New York, San Francisco, and Boston. At Thursday’s White House press briefing, Deborah Birx, the administration’s response coordinator, said half of the nation’s cases so far are located in just 10 counties. The outbreak’s eventual political effects may vary significantly depending on how extensively it spreads beyond these initial beachheads.”

Brownstein notes further, “If the virus never becomes pervasive beyond big cities, that could reinforce the sense among many Republican voters and office-holders that the threat has been overstated. It could also fuel the kind of xenophobia that Trump and other GOP leaders, such as Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, have encouraged by labeling the disease the “Chinese virus” or the “Wuhan virus.”…Conversely, the charge that Trump failed to move quickly enough may cut more deeply if the burden of the disease is heavily felt in the smaller communities where his support is deepest. Most medical experts believe that, eventually, the outbreak will reach all corners of the country, including the mostly Republican-leaning small towns and rural areas that are now less visibly affected…“There’s no reason to think that smaller communities will be protected from it,” Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told me. “It may take longer for it to get there, but as long as there are people coming and going … the virus will eventually find its way to rural communities as well.”

For a bit of good news, check out “All is not lost: These groups are fighting Trump’s environmental deregulations—and winning by Besame on behalf of Daily Kos Community Contributors Team. As Besame, writes, “In December 2019, NRDC [National Resources Defense Council] announced the filing of their 100th lawsuit against the Trump administration in 1,000 days…NRDC has won 92% of the 61 cases resolved either by court decision or by withdrawal of the proposed change. Other victories resulted in a banning seven cancer-causing food additives, blocking an Executive Order allowing oil and gas leases in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and stronger protection for the endangered rusty patched bumblebee. Cecilia Segal, an attorney on NRDC’s litigation team, sums up their successes, “I started my job at NRDC five days after Trump’s inauguration and immediately got to work on our lawsuit against the president’s disastrous 2-for-1 Executive Order and our fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Our Trump defense work hasn’t slowed down since—but the hard work is paying off.”

Democratic governors take note: Kentucky’s new Democratic Governor Andy Beshear is getting high marks for his response to the coronavirus crisis. The title of Erin Keane’s salon.com article, ““Govern me, daddy”: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear a clean-cut sex symbol for the coronavirus age: People are now lusting after Kentucky’s “hot Mr. Rogers” because of his calm and empathetic leadership,” sums it up. Keane also notes, “During Beshear’s daily talks — a sort of Fireside Chat for the Facebook Live era — the governor gets visibly emotional about the sacrifices Kentuckians are making with regard to their livelihoods, extended family contact and religious practices in order to help flatten the curve. He mourns the Kentuckians who have died from the virus (there have been three fatalities so far). He talks openly and directly about why mental health is important too, and why empathy and caring for others is non-negotiable. He coaches folks applying for unemployment about processes and deadlines and reinforces that there’s no stigma in filing for assistance. When needed, he scolds. On Saturday, Beshear all but shamed a company by name that bragged about offering employees six weeks of unpaid sick leave. “Please don’t be that organization that acts like you’re doing something great when your people need so much more from you,” he said. He’s not mad; he’s just disappointed. And constituents stuck at home, anxious and restless, are getting extremely horny for this big dad energy.”

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