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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “Maloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine ‘stuck in the past’,” Scott Wong and Mike Lillis write at The Hill: “The polling is antiquated. Money is being frittered. Diversity is lacking. And digital outreach lags far behind the times. These are the warnings from Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a four-term New York Democrat who’s vying to lead the party’s campaign arm in the next Congress…..Democrats are expecting a tough environment in the 2022 midterms, and Maloney’s message is a foreboding one: Modernize the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), he says, or President-elect Joe Biden will be battling a House under Republican control come 2023….To move the party into the future, Maloney is vowing to listen to younger progressives when it comes to social media and digital outreach; to shift away from “stuffy old traditional crappy polling” and adopt community-based focus groups; and to reject the idea that big fundraising hauls are synonymous with election success — a formula that didn’t play out this year, when Democrats raised historic amounts of campaign cash but still lost House seats…..Maloney will square off with Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) in an internal, secret-ballot election that will decide who becomes the next DCCC chairman. That vote is scheduled after Thanksgiving….Cárdenas, 57, who’s run the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’s (CHC) campaign arm Bold PAC for the past six years, has pitched himself as a proven fundraiser and someone who can help Democrats make up lost ground with the tens of thousands of Hispanic voters who backed President Trump this year in places like Texas and Florida.”

Newsweek’s Christina Zhao reports that “Trump to Campaign for Georgia Senate Candidates as His Supporters Threaten Boycott,” and writes that “Donald Trump on Thursday said he will travel to Georgia to campaign for Republican Senate runoff candidates as his supporters threatened a boycott of the upcoming election….”Speaking of Georgia, I’ll be going there,” Trump told reporters after talking to U.S. service members in a teleconference call on Thanksgiving Day, “Maybe I’ll go twice.” He noted that he wanted to encourage support for Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in a stadium, but “can’t, because of COVID….Meanwhile, a number of pro-Trump Republicans have taken to Parler, the “free speech” social media network, to discourage members of their own party from voting. Some of the users have invoked a conspiracy theory about “rigged” ballot machines to call for a boycott of the upcoming Georgia elections in a move that threatens Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell‘s plan to restrain incoming President-elect Joe Biden….The boycott calls driven by Trump supporters appear to have been inspired by the president, who has spent the past few weeks alleging without evidence that a “rigged” election and widespread voter fraud caused his loss to Biden.” Trump’s December 5th visit may energize his GA base, but it could also backfire by reminding Atlanta donut suburbs voters that Trump’s chief enabler, Mitch McConnell is the invisible name on the ballot supporting the Covid-19 profiteering Republican incumbents.

Dissent magzine has a forum, “The 2020 Elections: A Roundtable,” in which Michael Kazin observes, “The problem the Democrats have is that they’re a heterogenous party, and they have been since the 1960s, when they, at least officially, got rid of their racist past and pushed the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. Spanberger wouldn’t win in AOC’s district in the primary, and AOC wouldn’t win Spanberger’s district. Democrats have to find a way, as they always have (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) to make both progressives and centrists happy. Biden really didn’t try to do that; he didn’t have to, because the election was all about Trump. All the Democratic operatives I know said, if the election’s about Trump, we win; if it’s about Biden, we lose. Biden was not the kind of candidate Obama was, or even that Clinton was in 1992. He was a generic white Democrat. That was good enough to win pretty convincingly in the popular vote. Only because of our ridiculously stupid eighteenth-century way of electing presidents was it even close….Activists on the left were crucial in winning key states like Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania. But they alone were not going to win control of the Senate or expand the majority in House. We have to figure out the few ideas and programs to push that will win over people in the middle who are part of neither side’s base. Some of those people were won over in Georgia, Arizona, and even Pennsylvania—Erie County had been Democratic, went for Trump in 2016, and then went narrowly for Biden. Though I don’t think Bernie would’ve won, I think he was right that you have to push universal programs, you have to have economic populist messaging, and if you don’t do that, you’re prey to falling into the culture wars.”

At Crooks and Liars, Mike Lux writes, “I am convinced that Democrats can win those two Georgia Senate seats and win the 2022 midterms. In Georgia, I have full confidence in the Stacey Abrams strategy of winning by inspiring, mobilizing, registering, and turning out people of color and young voters. But I also think that tactically, we have to invest the resources we need to compete with the right-wing infrastructure on social media, because if we are not going toe-to-toe with them, they will swamp us in the end. And message-wise, we need to show voters we are fighting for working families on the economic issues that matter the most to them. We have to showcase Mitch McConnell as the barrier to all the good things we want to do, the same way our Clinton team successfully showcased Gingrich in the 1990s. Remember: in most midterms the president’s party loses seats. But in 1998, we picked up seats by building our campaign around Gingrich blocking everything good on the issues people cared about in their lives….Republicans have been running ads with spooky music saying Democrats want to change things. We should say: damn right we do. We want to give you a $15-an-hour minimum wage. We want to create millions of new infrastructure and green energy jobs. We want to tax people worth more than $50 million dollars and use the money for jobs and child care. We want to rein in drug prices and student debt. We want to make government work for the people again — not Wall Street billionaires — and that’s not socialism, it’s just good governance….We can win in Georgia, and win the midterms. We just have to show the people which party is fighting for them and which isn’t.”

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