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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. provides a preview of the Democratic Convention that starts today: “Democrats will gather for their convention this week with dreams of another New Deal dancing in their heads. “Gather” is a polite fiction, of course, since nearly everything will occur remotely in the purest media event ever. But the format will not stop party loyalists from savoring the possibility of a sweeping victory akin to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s triumph over President Herbert Hoover in 1932…Their hopes are not fanciful. President Trump’s catastrophic fumbling in the face of a pandemic and economic collapse invites comparison to Hoover’s haplessness, even if the 31st president was as morally upright as the 45th is not…Every second of the gathering will be an advertisement of Trump’s failure: the convention that could not meet because of the health crisis the incumbent could not manage…And a New Deal-style commitment to active, fact-based, problem-solving government really does match the mood of a country that wants a virus conquered, jobs and incomes on the rise again and fairness enshrined in the economic system…Much of the week’s speechmaking will focus on the calamity that is Trump’s presidency. But the historic task of this “unprecedented and unusual” convention is clear: To help Biden prove that a 21st-century New Deal alignment can be assembled from more diverse building blocks by embracing both racial and economic justice.”

Geoffrey Skelley notes at FiveThirtyEight: “Two early polls suggest that the public has had a reasonably positive reaction to Harris’s selection, too. A snap poll by YouGov after the pick found that 51 percent of voters approved of the choice while 36 percent disapproved. And 47 percent told ABC News/Ipsos that Harris was an excellent or good choice — including 83 percent of Democrats. Only 29 percent said the choice was not so good or poor…Bottom line: Biden’s decision to pick a woman as his VP has remained widely popular, and in Harris, he’s found a solid No. 2. As a former presidential contender, she’s already been through public scrutiny of her record and background, and, as a U.S. senator, she has high-level political experience. She’s also a relatively popular choice according to the polls, so her history-making nomination should please many Democrats.”

In “Democrats fight back in US Postal Service showdown with Trump,” Stephen Colinson reports at CNN Politics, “Democrats are launching an emergency effort to thwart what they warn is President Donald Trump’s attempt to squeeze the US Postal Service — one of the country’s most beloved institutions — to suppress the vote in November’s election…Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling on the House to return to Washington, likely next weekend, for an unheard of session during presidential convention season…Democrats have also demanded that new Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testify on August 24 to answer charges that his controversial new policy changes are intended to deliberately slow voting by mail…Already, several states say they’re considering legal action against the Trump administration over concerns about the USPS and mail-in voting…It also comes with many Democrats worried that DeJoy’s policy changes, which have slowed delivery times, removed high-speed letter sorters from commission and included warnings that mail-in ballots will no longer be treated as a priority, will severely impact the election on November 3.”

Ronald Brownstein warns at The Atlantic: “President Donald Trump’s open admission yesterday that he’s sabotaging the Postal Service to improve his election prospects crystallizes a much larger dynamic: He’s waging an unprecedented campaign to weaponize virtually every component of the federal government to partisan advantage…Trump is systematically enlisting agencies, including the Postal Service, Census Bureau, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security, that traditionally have been considered at least somewhat insulated from political machinations to reward his allies and punish those he considers his enemies. He is razing barriers between his personal and political interests and the core operations of the federal government to an extent that no president has previously attempted, a wide range of public-administration experts have told me…There’s always been temptation … but no president in modern times has taken action so explicitly and obviously—or transparently—to influence and actually direct these agencies to favor the party in power,” Paul Light, a public-service professor at New York University, told me. “None. None.”

SemDem warns at Daily Kos: “The 2020 election will be the first in almost 40 years where Republicans will be allowed to engage in a massive, nationwide coordinated effort for a so-called “ballot security” campaign. During those 40 years, Republicans were under a federal consent decree to curb their poll “monitoring” efforts because, back in 1981, Republicans sent armed, off-duty police officers to patrol the polls in minority neighborhoods for a gubernatorial race in New Jersey. The chief strategist for the Republican in that race was a man you might have heard of: convicted felon Roger Stone…The Democrats sued and won, and the Republican National Committee (RNC) promised to behave. The courts kept the Republicans more or less in line, although the Republicans always tried to work around it. Unfortunately, 2020 will be much different. A federal judge allowed the federal consent decree to expire in 2018. Free from any judicial oversight, the RNC will be able to conduct their dream voter intimidation campaign, and the Republicans are already planning on taking full advantage of this in November.

Sem Dem also provides suggestions for meeting the challenge of GOP ‘ballot security, including: “Sign up to be a poll monitor – Contact your local Democratic party and volunteer. I’ve done this before here in Florida. The Democrats color-code the poll sites where there are issues of challenges and intimidation, on a scale of green, yellow, and red, like a traffic light. There were quite a few sites marked red, as I recall. Election lawyers, if available, are sent to the worst ones. Democrats are there to protect people’s fundamental right to vote. Republicans, not so much. Unfortunately, we were often short-staffed. When I volunteered in 2004, two monitors were allowed by each party for each site, but I was the only one who showed up on the Democratic side. Work the damn polls..Most poll workers are over 60 and thousands are not expected to work the polls this cycle due to the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is causing a massive shortage that will contribute to huge wait times…Are you over 15? Do you want to get paid? Sign up for a shift. I’ve decided that this is where I need to be this election. Please consider doing this.

Jennifer Agiesta reports at CNN Politics, “Joe Biden’s lead over Donald Trump among registered voters has significantly narrowed since June, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, even as the former vice president maintains an advantage over the President on several top issues and his choice of California Sen. Kamala Harris as a running mate earns largely positive reviews…And on the eve of the party conventions, a majority of voters (53%) are “extremely enthusiastic” about voting in this year’s election, a new high in CNN polling in presidential election cycles back to 2003…Across 15 battleground states, the survey finds Biden has the backing of 49% of registered voters, while Trump lands at 48%…”

From “A Steady Race Where Movement Is Driven by “Bystanders” by Amy Walter at The Cook Political Report: “In analyzing the last 18 months of polling from the Polling Consortium (which includes over 20,000 interviews), the AFL-CIO’s Mike Podhorzer has found that most of that movement can be attributed to a group he dubs “partisan bystanders.” These are people who either hate both parties or don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about either party. Some of them aren’t paying all that much attention to politics. Some of them are more checked in on politics. But, they are not deeply invested in their partisan allegiances. Podhorzer estimates that about 15 percent of the electorate falls into the ‘bystander’ category…According to Podhorzer’s analysis, this group cuts across demographic lines. They aren’t defined by demographics. They are defined by their lack of partisan attachment.”

If anyone has any doubts about which political party is leading the way to gender parity in America’s political institutions, Li Zhou shares some clarifying data at Vox, including: “As of earlier this week, 243 women had won House primaries this year, including 169 Democrats and 74 Republicans, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. That’s outpacing the 2018 results, when 196 women — 152 Democrats and 44 Republicans — won after the same states had voted. (These numbers don’t include the updated figures from the most recent August 11 primaries or runoffs.)…In 2020, both Democrats and Republicans are seeing a more diverse pool of women filing for these positions, a nearly 50 percent increase from the number of women of color who did in 2018. Democrats, however, still far surpass Republicans on this front, with 162 Democratic women of color filing to run, compared to 86 who did on the GOP side.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Michael Brennan on

    Won’t a lot of Americans want to vote if they are concerned about

    1. Trump’s threats to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    2. Trump support for the anti-Obamacare Graham-Cassidy Senate bill. This bill would have
    millions of Americans would lose their health insurance.
    thousands of Americans would die because they lacked health insurance..
    In about ten years these deaths would number 41,600 a year — one American dying every 15 minutes!

    Source of the death and insurance estimates is Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, who called the bill The UIndertakers Full Employment Act.


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