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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In a “fiery” interview by Politico’s Michael Grunwald, former Vice President Biden “said that the next round of coronavirus stimulus needs to be “a hell of a lot bigger” than last month’s $2 trillion CARES Act, that it needs to include massive aid to states and cities to prevent them from “laying off a hell of a lot of teachers and cops and firefighters,” and that the administration is already “wasting a hell of a lot of money.”…He called for stronger assurances that small-business loans will go to small businesses, and that aid to larger corporations will come with strings prohibiting stock buybacks, executive bonuses or worker layoffs. But he also went beyond policy prescriptions, saying the pandemic might convince Americans that grocery clerks “and all the other folks out there saving our rear ends and risking their lives for eight bucks an hour” deserve a better deal. He thinks there could be a backlash against big corporations who have poured their profits into buybacks and dividends rather than worker training and research and development. He thinks the virus could deal a blow to short-term economic thinking and anti-government political thinking.”

At The Cook Political Report, Amy Walter cites four possible scenarios for the November elections, including “1. The virus is still raging, and most of us are still under some form of a shelter at home order. 2. We have regional hot spots, but the rest of the country gets back to normal. 3. We are more or less ‘back to normal,’ but the fear of crowded spaces continues. 4. Things get better over the summer, but a new wave is predicted to break out in October or November.” Walter notes further that “states theoretically have the time to prepare for any of the four scenarios I laid out above. But, we also know that partisanship and legislative wrangling is a big—or bigger—hurdle than the ticking clock. For example, the three most important battleground states of the midwest—Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan—all have split control of government, more specifically, Democratic governors and Republican legislatures. The idea that these states could agree upon new laws before November—especially at a time when many state legislatures are trying to avoid meeting in person during this pandemic— seems unlikely.”

What does it take to get voting by mail in a Republican-controlled state? The Associated Press reports that “North Dakota’s June 9 primary will be conducted entirely by mail after all 53 counties chose to avoid in-person voting due to the coronavirus…Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, signed an executive order in March to let counties opt out of a requirement that they open at least one physical polling location. On Thursday, the state announced that every county commission had authorized voting by mail only. The state said it would mail ballot applications to every eligible voter.” Apparently the GOP supports safe voting only when the citizens who would be standing in line are overwhelmingly white. According to the Census Bureau’s 2015 Population Estimates Program, “When it comes to race, North Dakota’s voting age population is 91 percent White, 1.9 percent Black or African American, 1.3 percent Asian, 4.4 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 0.07 percent Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. The Hispanic voting age population represents 2.6 percent of the overall North Dakota population.” Voter suppression practices reduce voting by the state’s racial minorities even further.

Walter also notes that “a February Gallup survey found that 59 percent of Americans were enthusiastic about voting in November — 13 points higher than a similar point in 2016 and 12 points higher than early in the 2012 campaign…Since the outbreak of coronavirus, however, CNN polling has shown a dip in enthusiasm, from 66 percent in early March to 57 percent in early April. Of course, more Americans are worried about paying bills, getting sick, and losing their jobs than they were in early March. As such, an election in November suddenly seems much less relevant. It’s also worth noting that enthusiasm to vote is still 16-points higher now than it was in July of 2016 and 9-points higher than it was in March of 2012. However, it’s worth watching this “enthusiasm” number closely over these next few months to see which voters say they have become less motivated to participate in the fall election…At this stage, we also know that voters are uncomfortable about the prospect of showing up to vote at a traditional voting location. An early March survey by Pew Research found two-thirds of Americans worried about showing up to vote in person.”

“More than 200 black women on Friday signed an open letter to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urging him to pick a black woman as his running mate,Kate Sullvan reports at CNN Politics. “The letter, signed by black women working in both the public and private sectors, lists several potential candidates: former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, California Rep. Karen Bass, Florida Rep. Val Demings, Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and former national security adviser Susan Rice.,,Signers include actors Vanessa Williams, Latanya Richardson Jackson and Pauletta Washington, the former chairman and president of the US Tennis Association, Katrina Adams, the former editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, Susan Taylor, and the first female African American president of Spelman College, Johnnetta Cole.” Rep. Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement Biden has credited with securing his pivotal victory in the South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, has also expressed support for an African American woman as Biden’s running mate.

Chris Cillizza drills down on “The Warren V.P. Problem” at CNN Politics, and writes about the implications for majority control of the U.S. Senate afyer the election: “I’ve had Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren ranked consistently in the top five potential vice presidential picks for Joe Biden in 2020. The reasons are obvious: She’s a hugely popular figure with liberals nationwide and would help Biden energize that wing of the party come fall. But increasingly, there’s chatter that picking Warren would come with a major potential downside: Republican Gov. Charlie Baker would be tasked with picking her Senate replacement — and he would almost certainly pick a Republican…That would hand the GOP a bonus seat at the start of 2021 — and trigger a special election in the summer for Warren’s full term…The rules in Massachusetts work like this: Baker has the right to appoint an interim senator but also must call a special election for the seats between 145 and 160 days after the vacancy occurs…If Warren was the VP pick and resigned on the day she and Biden were inaugurated (January 20, 2021), the soonest a special election could be held is Tuesday June 15, 2021, and the latest June 29, 2021. That would mean that for the first six months of Biden’s presidency, Republicans would have an extra seat, which could be hugely important if the margin for control in the Senate was tight…And, yes, Democrats would be favored to win Warren’s Senate seat in a June 2021 special election even against Baker’s appointed Republican. But special elections are weird things — and Scott Brown’s 2010 special election win will be on Democrats’ minds…Other potential VP picks Sens. Kamala Harris (California) and Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) represent states with Democratic governors, making their selections far less problematic for Biden.” Yes, there is a chance Democrats will win a large enough Senate majority without Warren staying in the Senate, but that’s a dicey bet at this point.

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. proposes “a bipartisan coalition of responsible governors pick one of their own to lead a daily briefing aimed at the whole country. Many governors already make regular reports to their respective states, of course, and New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo has played a de facto role as a spokesman with effective news conferences well-timed for East Coast media…But individual governors often and understandably hedge what they say for fear of retaliation by Trump, who treats them the same way he treated Ukraine’s president. He is, once again, holding Washington’s assistance hostage to his own selfish interests…Workers realized long ago that speaking and bargaining collectively gave them power they didn’t have as individuals. Governors trying to act sensibly should learn the same lesson. Acting together, they could be far more fearless in calling out Trump’s failures, and more demanding when it comes to what their citizens need from Washington”

Dionne continues, “With his hands full in New York, Cuomo will continue his own briefings. But other governors could rotate the job of being the daily embodiment of practical ideas and thoughtful leadership…Americans across the country need to hear more from Republican governors such as Maryland’s Larry Hogan, Ohio’s Mike DeWine and Massachusetts’s Charlie Baker. And let Western and Midwestern Democratic governors become larger national voices, among them California’s Gavin Newsom, Oregon’s Kate Brown, Washington’s Jay Inslee, Colorado’s Jared Polis, Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer and Illinois’s J.B. Pritzker. Others could join. Each day, one of them should be empowered by their colleagues to speak for the group. They should do this even if Trump — no doubt influenced by the backlash against his Disinfectant Delirium — follows through on his Saturday evening tweet suggesting he might end his daily follies.”

In his article, “A New Poll Shows The Messaging Democrats Should Use To Defeat Trump” at forbes.com, Will Jeakle notes, “Of the three, the message that had the most impact on those polled was the idea that Trump’s response to the coronavirus crisis had not only been ineffective but had actually cost lives. This message moved voters’ perception of Trump almost a full percentage point in the Democrats’ direction….The next most effective message in voters’ eyes was the message that Trump and his allies had used the crisis as an opportunity to slash the social safety net, ensuring help for big business, but leaving workers and small businesses to fend for themselves. This message resonated despite that fact of the CARES act providing SBA loans and disaster relief for small businesses and the beginning of the delivery of $1200 per person relief checks (delivery which was held up in some cases by Trump’s insistence on affixing his signature to the memo field of the checks).”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. pjcamp on

    “despite that fact of the CARES act providing SBA loans and disaster relief for small businesses”

    It was intended for small businesses. It was given to publicly traded corporations. Do you not read the news?

  2. Victor on

    The European Union has announced that they are going to use the Covid reconstruction and stimulus process to start implementing their Green New Deal. Why can’t Biden say he will do the same in the US?


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