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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. has a messaging tip for Democrats: “President Trump’s success in politicizing mask-wearing has been destructive to human life. By encouraging his followers to ignore the advice of scientists, Trump has made the pandemic worse. None of this means that repeating “Listen to the science” as a quasi-religious mantra will undo the damage he’s done….It won’t work because it’s a sentiment that appeals only to the already converted. It feeds the war against expertise that has become a favorite propaganda tool for the political right. And without intending to, it reinforces the deadly and false dichotomies that Trump has ginned up to avoid accountability….The last things we need are arguments that pit science against the economy, science against democracy, science against individual rights, science against religion, or science against the intuitions of citizens. Such juxtapositions helped create the mess we’re in….But we need to understand that the election we just had points to a country far more divided on how to grapple with the pandemic than many of us would like….The Edison exit poll put an interesting question to voters about their priorities concerning the pandemic, asking which of two approaches was “more important.” The result: Fifty-two percent said “containing the coronavirus now, even if it hurts the economy,” while 42 percent said “rebuilding the economy now, even if it hurts efforts to contain the coronavirus.” Biden won about four-fifths of the first group; Trump won more than three-quarters of the second.” Dionne argues that Demoicrats and progressives “should begin by highlighting the economy every chance they get — by fighting for economic relief now and additional help and stimulus after Biden is inaugurated; by rolling out longer-term programs to assist those whose lives have been most disrupted by the pandemic, including the young; and by proposing a GI Bill and pay-and-benefit increases for those whose work we have finally discovered is “essential.”….Ending the pandemic and reviving the economy must always be mentioned in the same breath as part of the same fight.”

In “GOP holds big money advantage in Georgia Senate runoff races,” Sarah D. Wire and David Lauter write at The L. A. Times: “With spending in Georgia’s twin Senate runoffs rocketing toward record levels, Republicans appear to be gaining a significant advantage on the state’s airwaves as heavy spending by outside groups finances a flood of mostly negative ads….The Republican edge marks a sharp reversal from the general election, in which Democrats largely outspent their opponents in key races nationwide….Much of the Republican advantage comes from a set of campaign committees tied to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that are raising and spending huge sums on the two races….Combining ads that have aired so far and those that have been booked for later, the Republican side is currently on track to have a $118 million-to-$76 million advantage in the Perdue-Ossoff race and a $126 million-to-$81 million edge in the Loeffler-Warnock contest….McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund and three affiliated groups, American Crossroads, PeachTree PAC and One Nation, have spent or reserved nearly $140 million in advertising already, or about 35% of the total….a flood of Republican money has poured in. The Senate Leadership Fund raised $104.2 million nationwide between Oct. 15 and Nov. 23, bringing its 2020 cycle haul to $384.8 million, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. It spent $112.6 million in the final stretch of the regular campaign and had $60.8 million left in the bank.” Those who want to help correct the imbalance should check out this article.

For the best update on the GA runoffs, check out “What The Polls Say About Georgia’s Senate Runoffs” by Geoffrey Skelley and Nathaniel Rakich at FiveThirty Eight. As Skelley and Rakich note, “We don’t have a ton of polls of these runoffs yet, but FiveThirtyEight is rolling out its polling averages for both of the contests today to help everyone keep tabs on where things stand. (Note that these are not forecasts like the ones we published for the White House, Senate and House before the November election; they do not account for non-polling factors such as the state’s base partisanship, demographics or candidate quality. They are simply a fancy snapshot of what the polling says right now.)….And based on the initial wave of polls conducted since the Nov. 3 general election, both runoff races look very close. In the regularly scheduled Senate race, Republican Sen. David Perdue is roughly tied with Democrat Jon Ossoff, while in the special election, Democrat Raphael Warnock holds a narrow lead over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler (who was appointed in January 2020 to fill a vacancy, which is why she’s up for election)….less than a week after the general election, GOP pollster Remington Research went into the field and found Perdue ahead by 4 points in the regularly scheduled contest and Loeffler and Warnock locked in a virtual tie in the special election. Then in mid-November, Insider Advantage/Fox5 Atlanta found both sets of candidates running neck and neck. Two late-November polls were somewhat more bullish for Democrats. RMG Research/PoliticalIQ foundboth races to be very tight but with Ossoff and Warnock leading by 1 and 2 points, respectively, while a SurveyUSA/WXIA-TV poll gave Ossoff a 2-point edge over Perdue and Warnock a 7-point lead over Loeffler. Lastly, Republican pollster Trafalgar Group just released an early-December pollthat showed Ossoff and Perdue separated by less than 1 point, but Loeffler ahead by about 5 points….Of course, some may wonder if it’s worth putting much stock in these runoff surveys after polls across the country underestimated President Trump’s support in November. But remember the polls in Georgia actually did pretty well: Biden led by 1.2 points in FiveThirtyEight’s final Georgia polling average, and he wound up winning the state by about 0.3 points, meaning the polls were only off by about a point. So we don’t think you should dismiss these runoff polls just yet.”

It’s about time somebody said it plain, and Charles Pierce rises to the occasion in his article, “The Republican Party Is Now a Seditious Organization: These authoritarian yahoos believe that the Supreme Court will ride to their rescue and disenfranchise millions of people whom they don’t believe should be allowed to vote anyway” at Esquire: “Nothing secedes like secession….Late Wednesday afternoon, in as clear a demonstration as there ever has been of the authoritarian rot at the heart of the Republican Party, 17 other states, all governed primarily by Republicans, filed an amicus brief in support of the ludicrous lawsuit being brought by Ken Paxton, the indicted Republican attorney general of Texas, that seeks to overturn the results of the presidential election by disenfranchising millions of voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Pennsylvania….The 17 accomplices to this braindead seditious conspiracy are Missouri, Arkansas, South Dakota, Florida (Shocker!), Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina (now two-for-two in attempts to subvert the republic over a presidential election), Utah, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama. None of these benighted places has any more standing to subvert the elections in, say, Michigan, than Texas or the Elks Club of Bugtussle have. But they’re willing to sign onto the closest thing we’ve had to secession in 150 years because the Republican Party has created a couple of generations of leaders who simply can’t think of any other way to do politics than to scorch the earth, win or lose. Zero-sum democracy is untenable….They all believe that the Supreme Court will ride to their rescue and disenfranchise millions of people whom they don’t believe should be allowed to vote anyway. The Republican Party is now a seditious, subversive organization, a Fifth Column of organized authoritarian yahoos. Where’s Joe McCarthy when you need him?”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    Democrats could start by shifting liability for Covid from employers to the state. After all, it is society that has deemed some workers essential. In fact all covid related business costs should be shifted to the government as much as possible. Other than this the focus should be on getting back to normal as soon as possible. The whole discourse of giving help to workers affected by covid keeps dividing workers into two categories, an approach that failed already.


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