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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Federal, state and local Democratic candidates must respond strongly to the horrific killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis. Democratic Pesidential frontrunner Joe Biden’s comment is a good start: “George Floyd’s life mattered. It mattered as much as mine. It mattered as much as anyone’s in this country. At least it should have…“It cuts at the very heart of our sacred belief that all Americans are equal in rights and in dignity, and it sends a very clear message to the black community and to black lives that are under threat every single day.” Politico’s Quint Forgey reports, further, “Biden on Wednesday compared the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s arrest to the 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was placed in a chokehold by police in New York and whose final plea — “I can’t breathe” — evolved into a rallying cry for protests against police brutality…“Watching [Floyd’s] life be taken in the same manner, echoing nearly the same words … is a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but a part of an ingrained, systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country,” Biden said…We have to get to the root of all this. You know, we have to ensure that the Floyd family receive the justice they’re entitled to,” Biden said. “And as a nation … we have to work relentlessly to eradicate these systemic failures that inflict so much damage on not just one family, one community, but on the people of color all across this nation.”

FromRevealed: conservative group fighting to restrict voting tied to powerful dark money network” by Sam Levine and Anna Massogliaat The Guardian: “This story was reported in collaboration with OpenSecrets…A powerful new conservative organization fighting to restrict voting in the 2020 presidential election is really just a rebranded group that is part of a dark money network already helping Donald Trump’s unprecedented effort to remake the US federal judiciary, the Guardian and OpenSecrets reveal…The organization, which calls itself the Honest Elections Project, seemed to emerge out of nowhere a few months ago and started stoking fears about voter fraud. Backed by a dark money group funded by rightwing stalwarts like the Koch brothers and Betsy DeVos’ family, the Honest Elections Project is part of the network that pushed the US supreme court picks Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, and is quickly becoming a juggernaut in the escalating fight over voting rights…it has also been extremely active in the courts, filing briefs in favor of voting restrictions in Nevada, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and Minnesota, among other places, at times represented by lawyers from the same firm that represents Trump. By having a hand in both voting litigation and the judges on the federal bench, this network could create a system where conservative donors have an avenue to both oppose voting rights and appoint judges to back that effort.”

If anyone was foolish enough to think that Trump couldn’t get much more hypocrtical, they should check out Kevin Liptak’s “Trump could have voted in person in Florida this year but chose not to” at CNN Politics, which points out: “As President Donald Trump rolled to his West Palm Beach, Florida, golf course on the morning of March 7, his motorcade filed past a library where local officials were preparing for the first day of in-person early voting in Florida’s presidential primary contest…Trump didn’t stop at that site or any of the 15 other early voting locations in Palm Beach County that were opening that day. By the time the library opened for voting at 10 a.m., Trump had already arrived at his golf course — whose main entrance is across Summit Boulevard from the library. When he departed the course hours later, he didn’t stop to vote either…Trump would drive past the library four more times that weekend without dropping in to cast a ballot. Instead, he voted by mail — the very option he has begun railing against as governors seek to expand remote voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

Thomas B. Edsall observes in his NYT column, “The partisan fight over the lockdown has shown us, once again, how differently the choices government leaders make look to different constituencies of our society. Whether you emphasize the imperative to save lives or the consequences of economic devastation, with more than 36 million unemployed as of May 14, determines what you think the proper response to the outbreak should be, to a degree that is astonishing even in our deeply polarized society.” Edsall notes that “two Pew surveys, one conducted April 7-12, the other April 29-May 5” indicate “that in a matter of three weeks, Republican voters shifted from a modest majority (51-48) concerned that the restrictions would be lifted too quickly, to a similarly modest majority (53-47) concerned that the restrictions will not be lifted quickly enough. Democrats, on the contrary, went from a decisive majority who feared (81-18) that restrictions would be lifted too quickly to an even stronger concern (87-13).”

If you were wondering which states had “The most expensive 2020 Senate races so far, by ad spending,” the NBC News Political Unit has the skinny: “Here are the top ten most expensive Senate races so far, by ad spending:

  1. Maine: $25.6 million
  2. North Carolina: $20.9 million
  3. Iowa: $13.3 million
  4. Michigan: $13 million
  5. Kentucky: 12.4 million
  6. Georgia (special election for the seat vacated by former Sen. Johnny Isakson): $10.1 million
  7. Arizona: $9.3 million
  8. Alabama: $6.1 million
  9. Colorado: $5.4 million
  10. Texas: $4.2 million”

The NBC News Political Unit also flagged some upcomming “Senate primaries and run-offs to watch,” including these Democratic contests:

June 2

  • Iowa Senate Democratic Primary: Who will take on GOP Sen. Joni Ernst in the fall? Theresa Greenfield is the favorite, but the Des Moines Register has endorsed rival Mike Franken, and there are three other candidates on the ballot, too. If Greenfield doesn’t get to 35 percent support, the nomination will be decided by a party convention later in June.
  • Montana Senate Democratic Primary: How much strength will Gov. Steve Bullock show in his likely lockup of the nomination to face GOP Sen. Steve Daines?

June 9

  • Georgia Senate Democratic Primary: Former special House election candidate Jon Ossoff competes against former Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, former Democratic lieutenant governor nominee Sarah Riggs Amico, and others for the chance to take on GOP Sen. David Perdue. If no one gets 50 percent, there’s a runoff August 11.
  • South Carolina Senate Democratic Primary: Jaime Harrison hopes for a strong showing as he preps for an expected run against GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham.

June 23

  • Kentucky Senate Democratic Primary: Well-funded Democrat Amy McGrath wants a solid performance in the primary as she prepares a general election run against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

June 30 

  • Colorado Senate Democratic Primary: Former governor and onetime White House hopeful John Hickenlooper is the heavy favorite against progressive and past Senate and House candidate former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff to take on vulnerable GOP Sen. Cory Gardner.

July 14 

  • Maine Senate Democratic Primary: State House Speaker Sara Gideon is the favorite for the nod to take on vulnerable GOP Sen. Susan Collins.
  • Texas Senate Democratic Run-off: Deep-pocketed M.J. Hegar is fighting against longtime state Sen. Royce West before taking on Republican Sen. John Cornyn.

August 4 

  • Arizona Senate Democratic Primary: Mark Kelly has to dispatch a challenge from his left in order to face Republican Sen. Martha McSally in one of the cycle’s marquee races.

At The Nation Jeet Heer explains why “Mitch McConnell Is Even Worse Than Trump,” and writes, “As grotesque as Trump is, McConnell is worse. McConnell has been around longer and has helped create the conditions that made Trump’s rise possible. McConnell’s obstruction during the Obama years, including blocking the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland, contributed to the demoralization of the Democratic base and the larger feeling in America that Washington is hopelessly gridlocked. In 2016 Trump skillfully exploited the anxiousness created by gridlock and sold himself as the outsider who can fix it…Democrats are eager to defeat Trump in the fall election. But they should bear in mind that McConnell is the bigger villain. The goal should be to make sure McConnell loses his position as majority leader. Even sweeter would be if he were ejected from his seat.” McConnell has declined to check Trump’s worst instincts all along. He is more responsible for the current gridlock and the death of bipartisanship than any other individual. Those who want to contribute to his defeat, click here.

“There’s a lot for a political party to like about absentee voting. As a get-out-the-vote matter, once someone’s submitted an absentee ballot, that’s one fewer voter whom the party has to get to the polls,” David Shorr and Kathleen Sullivan write in “WI Dems Acted Quickly To Spur Voter Turnout In April. Can They Maintain That Momentum This Fall? If the Wisconsin Democratic Party truly can learn and adapt on the fly, as it seems to have done in April, it could be a game-changer for the state and even the country” at Talking Points Memo. “And because absentee ballot requests are public, the transparency of the process makes it possible for a political party to track each step: from the voter’s initial request, to the local clerk sending out a ballot, to the clerk ultimately receiving a filled-out ballot. This permits the party to do multiple “touches”: to check in with voters and remind them of key races and issues, all while urging submission of a completed ballot and offering information that can assist in overcoming obstacles to the process…Tracking ballots as they’re requested and returned also can help the party make course-corrections on voter turnout methods and messages while they count — focusing and re-focusing on where efforts can be most fruitful…If the Wisconsin Democratic Party truly can learn and adapt on the fly, as it seems to have done in April, it could be a game-changer for the state and even the country. ”

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