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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

An excerpt from Geoffrey Skelley’s “The Latest Swing State Polls Look Good For Biden” at FiveThirtyEight: “As for the polling picture in the Sun Belt states — Arizona, Georgia and Texas — they all seemed more or less in line with what you would expect, once you account for Biden’s lead in the national polls and how these states voted in 2016. But they do signal potential trouble for Trump. For instance, the fact that Trump carried Arizona by 3.5 points in 2016 seems to have been erased by Biden’s polling lead. On average, Biden led by 3 points, including a high-quality early June survey from Fox News that showed him up 4 points. In Georgia and Texas, on the other hand, Trump was still in the lead, by 1 and 2 points, respectively. Yet this is not as cushy of a margin as one would expect for Trump, considering he carried Georgia by 5 points and Texas by 9 points in 2016. If this trio of states are all in play — and Arizona is possibly even leaning Democratic — that would give Biden many additional paths to 270 electoral votes…Polls in Florida, the über swing state, also tilted slightly toward Biden, though we didn’t have much in the way of high-quality polls here. These surveys all gave Biden a narrow lead ranging from 1 to 5 points. Meanwhile, North Carolina’s eight polls suggest a competitive race in the state — collectively, the results ranged from Trump by 3 points to Biden by 4 points, averaging out to about even.”

In “Other Polling Bites, Skelley notes, “60 percent of people who said they intended to vote for Biden in November said their support for Biden is more “a vote against Donald Trump” than “a vote for Joe Biden,” according to a new CNN/SSRS poll, while just 37 percent of Biden backers said that their support for Biden was more a vote for him. Conversely, 70 percent of Trump backers said that their support of Trump was more a vote for him than against Biden, while just 27 percent described it as more a vote against Biden than a vote for Trump.”

In “The Tea Party’s Last Stand: The legions that swept over the Republican Party in 2010 aren’t ascendant today—and they’ve scared a lot of other Republicans away,” Stanley B. Greenberg writes about Trump’s supporters at The American Prospect: “His relentless, venomous base strategy has created a bloc of Republican refugees who have nothing but contempt for his armed Tea Party, anti-stay-at-home protesters…The proportion of Republicans who call themselves moderates has dropped from 23 percent in 2018 to only 16 percent now. When the McCain conservatives are added to those moderates, they now constitute 35 percent of the party, down from 41 percent two years ago. That leaves President Trump with a secure hold over his enthusiastic base—but as I wrote in March in The Atlantic, the Republican Party is “a diminished party” that is “shedding voters.”…When Trump took office, about 39 to 40 percent of Americans identified with the Republican Party. That fell to about 35 to 36 percent. Today, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, Republican identification has fallen to 33 percent.”…President Trump is trapped by a pandemic and protests that only magnify his insecurity and weak hold on his own party—and by his need to provoke a Tea Party to make its last stand.”

Observations from Rep. Jim Clyburn on the topic of police reform vs. ‘defund the police’, as reported by Zeesham Aleem  at Vox: “In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Clyburn firmly opposed embracing the concept amid Democrats’ push for criminal justice reform legislation…“I would simply say, as I have always said, nobody is going to defund the police,” he said. “We can restructure the police forces, restructure, reimagine policing. That is what we are going to do…“The fact of the matter is this is a structure that has been developed that we’ve got to deconstruct. So I wouldn’t say defund. Deconstruct our policing,” he said..The fact of the matter is, the police have a role to play. What we have got to do is make sure that their role is one that meets the times, one that responds to these communities that they operate in…Clyburn has previously suggested that he opposes defunding the police because he believes it is a phrase that is vulnerable to opposition messaging from the GOP…“You know all that will do is give Donald Trump the cover he needs,” Clyburn told CNN’s Ana Cabrera Saturday in a separate discussion about the slogan. “I’ve been saying to people all the time, ‘If you allow yourself to play the opponent’s game, you’re going to lose and the opponent will win.’ Let’s not play his game.”

In “As virus cases rise in states where Trump won, Republican attitudes may shift,” Tom McCarthy notes at The Guardian: “In the early stages of the pandemic, African Americans died of Covid-19 at three times the rate of white people, according to figures compiled by the non-partisan APM Research Lab. Only 21% of Covid-19 deaths by late May were recorded in counties won by Trump in 2016, according to a New York Times analysis…But coronavirus cases are now growing quickly in some rural and exurban areas with strong Trump support. Covid-19 cases are climbing in Arizona, Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas, and in Texas hospitalizations for Covid-19 are up 42% since Memorial Day…A relative lack of health infrastructure in parts of rural America and economic devastation from the Covid-19 closures mean that already vulnerable communities could be overwhelmed. Older, rural voters in Republican-led states that declined to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act are more likely to lack health insurance than the urban poor, according to a 2018 study.”

Simon Tisdale explains why “Joe Biden needs more than virtue to win. He will have to pick an exciting vice-president,” also at The Guardian: “Biden indicated last year that, should he win, he would only serve one term. Running again as an octogenarian was more or less ruled out, assuming he could count on a trusted successor. That makes his choice of vice president, or veep, vastly more important than usual. His pick can expect a ready-made launchpad for their own 2024 presidential bid – and a reasonable chance of success…More than anything, picking a black woman, with the possibility of her becoming the first female president, would be a historic move. It would inject excitement and moral authority into Biden’s campaign, especially among younger voters. It would be hailed as a major, practical advance for racial equality and a rebuff to the white supremacist Trump rump…It would be a signal that America really is changing. And it would offer posthumous vindication to George Floyd and the many, many others who have suffered as he did.”

“A lot of the reason why young people don’t turn out and vote is because they see voting and registration as overly complex and difficult and foreign to them,” John Holbein, co-author of ‘Making Young Voters: Converting Civic Attitudes into Civic Action Reforms‘ notes in an interview at The American Prospect. “Reforms that make registration easier, such as same-day registration that allow young people to register when they show up at the ballot box (if they missed a voter registration deadline) and other reforms that make registration more transparent and easy— increase youth voter participation quite a bit…So number one is teaching young people the skills and knowledge they need to participate. Number two is making the voting process more streamlined, more transparent and easier. Given that young people really want to engage, these types of things will actually help them follow through on that…The evidence that we have on vote-by-mail suggests that young people really latch onto this reform. There’s great evidence out of the state of Washington, which implemented its universal vote by mail system a couple of years ago that suggests that young people when given the opportunity to vote by mail, it increases the chances that they’ll go vote. They spring into action.”

Thomas B. Edsall shares perceptive insights about racial injustice and politics at this political moment from Democratic Pollster Celinda Lake”: “1) There has emerged a much stronger awareness of racism and discrimination especially around policing and the chance to get ahead. 2) The pattern of killings and the video have had a cumulative effect of creating a real turning point. 3) Trump’s response had been so out of touch with what people were feeling and the pain, healing, and change they want. 4) It’s a different America than Trump understands especially with young voters so diverse and white women so upset at his style of governing. 5) And then there are unexpected and vivid validators, the generals and police themselves.”

Washington Post coilumnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes that “the coming months are critical as the news turns inevitably back to the resurgence of the novel coronavirus. Former vice president Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress have an obligation to turn the shock of moral recognition from Floyd’s murder into a movement for a new community…Precisely because Biden is widely seen as a traditional figure of restoration, he has been given a historic opportunity to argue that restoration demands change. To become “who we think we are,” Americans must break decisively not only with the Trumpian present but also with the long history of reaction the president represents…More than that: Biden can make the case, as he has begun to, that those who genuinely seek, yes, law and order must embrace justice and reform as the only alternatives to fragmentation and ongoing chaos. We will continue to be tormented, as the Atlantic’s Adam Serwer observed, as long as we refuse to deal comprehensively with our legacy of racism.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Candace on

    “His pick can expect a ready-made launchpad for their own 2024 presidential bid – and a reasonable chance of success…”

    Not really. There is no guarantee that whoever he chooses will be well liked and able to win in 2024.
    Ideas like increasing funding to police departments to create what doesn’t need increased funding to do and that his vice president will need to support that position means there is a strong possibility that he wont be able to unite the Democratic party.
    So in 2024 rather than Biden’s vp as pres there will be a successful candidate from the left that will either instead win the Democratic nomination or third parties will take off.
    These things aren’t easy to predict and there are endless variables to consider so the current decision for someone that could take over as president has to be about the needs of now which are immense.

    “More than anything, picking a black woman, with the possibility of her becoming the first female president, would be a historic move. It would inject excitement and moral authority into Biden’s campaign, especially among younger voters. It would be hailed as a major, practical advance for racial equality and a rebuff to the white supremacist Trump rump”

    Is anyone really in the mood to accept a brief moment of symbolism as a victory? And don’t young voters support candidates based on their ideas, policies and a belief and conviction? Remember Bernie Sanders? Skin color and age doesn’t make the candidate.

    Putting pressure on whoever Biden chooses to be some spiritual superhero because of skin color or starting off as a disappointment because of being white does not reflect the importance of the job and who will fill it. These women have resumes. What about looking at who qualified and best able to help fix the mess this country is currently in? Its a much better way to start.


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