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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Harry Enten explains why “There’s no sign of ‘hidden’ Trump voters” at CNN politics: “Even though the national polls were accurate in 2016, one of the complaints I hear most often about the polls is that Trump’s supporters are either lying or won’t talk to pollsters. Polls like Ipsos get around that argument because they use machines (e.g. they’re done online) to conduct the interviews. There’s no reason to lie to a machine. If Trump was doing significantly better in these non-live interview polls, then these critics of the polls may have a point…The evidence indicates these detractors are, at least in this moment, wrong. There’s no sign of shy Trump voters. Trump doesn’t do any better in polls without a live interviewer…The average of national surveys (accounting for the fact that some pollsters survey more often) this week from pollsters who didn’t have a live interviewer put Biden up over Trump 50% to 39% (10 points unrounded). That’s a huge advantage and very similar to the latest live interview poll average that has Biden up 51% to 41%…Biden’s lead over Trump this past week was double what it was a month ago in the non-live interview polls.”

“Biden, a lifelong Roman Catholic, has performed better in recent polling among white evangelicals — and other religious groups — than Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton did in 2016 and is widely perceived as more religious than the current White House occupant,” Gabby Orr writes in “Trump allies see a mounting threat: Biden’s rising evangelical support” at Politico. “A Pew Research study conducted earlier this year showed that a majority of U.S. adults (63 percent) think Trump is “not at all” or “not too religious,” versus 55 percent who said they believed Biden is somewhat or very religious…Rob Stutzman, a Republican strategist who has argued that Biden has an opening to make inroads with Christian conservatives, said the candidate should invoke his faith more often, as opposed to constantly referencing his accomplishments from his time as vice president and a member of the U.S. Senate…“He would be well-served to talk more in those terms, instead of telling people to check out his record,” Stutzman said. “There are a lot of themes that fit the moment related to justice, authority and loving your neighbor and not in a way that would necessarily make white evangelicals uncomfortable if Biden could speak to them.”

At The Nation, John Nichols argues that Kentucky State Rep. Charles Booker’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination have improved dramatically om recent weeks. Nichols says Booker “now has a real chance of beating the pick of DC insiders for the party’s nomination in one of the highest-profile Senate contests of 2020…A fresh Data for Progress poll puts Booker at 44 percent versus 36 percent for retired Marine fighter pilot and Democratic primary candidate Amy McGrath, whose “unimaginative and uninspiring” campaign has, in the words of the Louisville Courier-Journal, “fallen flat in these final weeks of the campaign.” In addition to securing the endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria   Ocasio-Cotez, “Booker has also collected endorsements from Kentucky’s two largest newspapers, the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader; popular sports commentator Matt Jones; legislative leaders from across the state; former Kentucky secretary of state Alison Lundergan Grimes (who ran against McConnell in 2014); and former state attorney general Greg Stumbo.”

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, “Trump’s begging Chinese dictator Xi Jinping to help him win reelection and his praise for Xi’s detention of 1 million Muslim Uighurs in indoctrination and forced-labor camps are the most shocking revelations in former national security adviser John Bolton’s new book…These revelations matter because they show that the very heart of Trump’s appeal — to “Make America Great Again” by putting “America First” — is a lie all the way down. The paltry crowd he drew to his Saturday rally in Tulsa suggests that a spirit of doubt is taking hold even in his onetime strongholds…So from here forward, remember that whenever Trump uses the word “China,” he is talking about a regime he approached as a supplicant and whose repressive powers he envies.”

Sttephen Wolf reports that “House Democrats are poised to pass statehood for Washington, D.C., next week as Senate support grows at Daily Kos, and notes, “On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the full U.S. House will vote on granting statehood to Washington, D.C. on June 26. With a majority of House members already in support, Washington, D.C.’s statehood is expected to soon pass a chamber of Congress for the first time in U.S. history. This vote comes in response to the nation’s recent wave of unrest over police brutality and discrimination against Black Americans. It would serve as a pointed rebuke to the Trump administration after it teargassed peaceful protestors and used the military to occupy parts of the city, which Trump was able to do largely because of the lack of statehoodand its legal protections against federal interference.” Among the political calculations: “If Democrats win back the Senate in November, statehood supporters come within striking distance of a majority, especially since Democratic candidates who’ve come out in support of statehood—such as Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock—could flip Republican-held seats. If Democrats eliminate the filibuster, it would only take a simple majority vote to admit Washington, D.C. as a state, and if statehood-supporter Joe Biden wins the White House and his vice president breaks a tie in favor, statehood would only need 10 more Senate votes to pass.”

In “How Americans Feel About ‘Defunding The Police’,” Nathaniel Rakich writes at FiveThirtyEight, “There’s some disagreement about what exactly the slogan means. Some activists actually do want to disband police departments entirely, while others argue that police budgets should be radically decreased, but not brought down to zero. But even among those who want to abolish the police, some say they want to do so over time…But while the slogan is suddenly everywhere, so far it doesn’t poll well. Four polls conducted in the past two weeks1 found that Americans opposed the “defund the police” movement or “defunding police departments” 58 percent to 31 percent, on average…The slogan is unpopular with most demographic groups, too, with two notable exceptions: Black Americans and Democrats. In the two polls where results were broken down by race, Black respondents said they supported defunding the police by an average of 45 percent to 28 percent, while white respondents opposed it by an average of 61 percent to 23 percent.”

In “Other Polling Bites,” Rakich notes, “Researchers at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Texas at Austin are out with a cool YouGov poll surveying Americans on the cases before the Supreme Court this term… For example, respondents said 83 percent to 17 percent that they believed it should be illegal for employees to be fired because of their sexual orientation, the subject of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. Respondents also favored keeping the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the subject of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, 61 percent to 39 percent. And this week, the court sided with the American public on both cases.”

“The Biden campaign plans to seize upon Trump’s Tulsa claim that he asked officials to “slow the [coronavirus] testing down, please” to focus on Trump’s broader policy goal of dismantling the Affordable Care Act (Trump’s campaign later said he was joking.),” Jonathan Swan reports at axios.com.The Biden strategy is pretty straightforward: Reiterate Biden’s commitment to Obamacare while signaling that he is open to revising it with a public option — all while drawing a contrast with President Trump, who continues to call for its repeal…Even during the pandemic, the Trump administration is continuing its assault on one of President Obama’s signature issues and is expected to file a Supreme Court brief to repeal the law this week…Biden’s campaign is salivating about that expected filing and will use it to bludgeon Trump on both his COVID-19 response and his opposition to Obamacare…Expect Biden’s team to call on Trump to explain how he plans to provide health care to an estimated 20 million Americans who have lost their jobs, and likely, their health insurance.”

At The Cook Political Report, Amy Walter writes, “Polling out this week from the Des Moines Register also found Trump’s standing to be weakening in the Hawkeye State. He led Biden by just one point, 44 to 43 percent. Back in March, Trump enjoyed a 10-point (51-41 percent) lead over Biden…Even so, the demographics of Iowa are still going to be a challenge for Biden. According to an analysis of the 2016 electorate for the liberal think tank, American Progress, Ruy Teixeira and John Halpin found that 62 percent of the Iowa electorate was white and did not hold a college degree. They voted for Trump by 23 points. As Teixeira and Halpin wrote last year about this state: “For the Democratic candidate, his or her fortunes are clearly dependent on moving the very large white non-college group in their direction…The Des Moines Register poll found some significant movement among non-college white women. According to the survey, Biden leads among this group by 18 points. In 2016, exit polls showed Trump winning with these women by two points (49-47 percent). Among non-college men, Trump still held a wide lead of 36 points.”

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