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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“More than 30,000 voters who had been registered members of the Republican Party have changed their voter registration in the weeks after a mob of pro-Trump supporters attacked the Capitol — an issue that led the House to impeach the former president for inciting the violence,” Reid Wilson reports at The Hill. “The massive wave of defections is a virtually unprecedented exodus that could spell trouble for a party that is trying to find its way after losing the presidential race and the Senate majority….It could also represent the tip of a much larger iceberg: The 30,000 who have left the Republican Party reside in just a few states that report voter registration data, and information about voters switching between parties, on a weekly basis….Nearly 10,000 Pennsylvania voters dropped out of the Republican Party in the first 25 days of the year, according to the secretary of state’s office. About a third of them, 3,476, have registered as Democrats; the remaining two-thirds opted to register with another party or without any party affiliation….Almost 6,000 North Carolina voters have dropped their affiliation with the GOP. Nearly 5,000 Arizona voters are no longer registered Republicans. The number of defectors in Colorado stands north of 4,500 in the last few weeks. And 2,300 Maryland Republicans are now either unaffiliated or registered with the Democratic Party….In all of those areas, the number of Democrats who left their party is a fraction of the number of Republican defectors….Only a small handful of states report voter registration data on a weekly basis. Others report monthly activity, and many states do not report granular details about those who leave one party or the other. Once more states report party registration data, the true number of Republicans who have re-registered in recent weeks may prove to be much higher.”

However, Chris Cillizza notes at CNN’s The Point that, “before you start writing the political obituary for the Republican Party in Washington, you need to consider this oft-ignored but critically important card that the GOP still has in hand: The Republican Party will control the bulk of the redistricting processes in the country….Wrote David Wasserman, The Cook Political Report’s House editor, in his big look at the state of redistricting on Tuesday: “Republicans may not be as dominant as they were in 2011 when they redrew nearly five times as many congressional seats as Democrats. But they still hold far more raw power. They fared well in 2020’s state legislative elections and maintained control of several huge prizes: Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, which are collectively poised to gain six seats from the Census.” (Remember that following the census every decade, all state legislative and congressional lines are redrawn based on population gains and losses.)…Wasserman added that, based on his initial calculations, Republicans could gain as many as 10 seats solely from the number of map-drawing processes in key states they will control over the next 18 months. (Republicans need a net gain of only six seats to retake control of the House in November 2022.)”

Amy Walter shares this note on the fragility of the Democratic Party’s senate  ‘majority’ at The Cook Political Report: “The last time we had a 50-50 Senate, it ended five months later with Vermont’s Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords’ defection….in the event of a tragedy, the death or sudden resignation of a Senator, control of the body (and with it prospects for a Biden agenda), could be altered immediately….There are currently 15 Democratic senators who sit in states with a Republican Governor: Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema (Arizona), Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff (Georgia), Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Maryland), Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Jon Tester (Montana), Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan (New Hampshire), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders (Vermont), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia). Five Republican senators sit in states with a Democratic Governor: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Richard Burr and Thom Tillis (North Carolina), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), and Wisconsin (Ron Johnson). …However, while most states allow a governor to fill the vacancy immediately with a candidate of their choosing, other states have more specific rules about when and how a vacancy is filled. For example, in Arizona, North Carolina and Maryland, the governor must appoint a senator from the same party as the senator he/she is replacing. In Wisconsin, the senate seat remains vacant until a special election is held to fill the seat. The National Conference of State Legislatures provides a list of rules for each state here.”

It looks like filibuster foes just don’t have the votes to end it. But there some potential reforms that could make it less of an obstruction. As Alex Pereene explains one of the ideas at The New Republic: “Norm Ornstein has proposed simply placing the onus on the minority to make a filibuster rather than on the majority to break one. “Instead of 60 votes required to end debate,” he suggested last year, “the procedure should require 40 votes to continue it. If at any time the minority cannot muster 40 votes, debate ends, cloture is invoked, and the bill can be passed by the votes of a simple majority….This is far from ideal, which is precisely why hidebound senators ought to approve of it. It could be paired with other tweaks (former Senator Tom Harkin has proposed lowering the vote threshold each day a piece of legislation is debated, which may be a bridge too far for the filibuster enthusiasts), but it would be a good start on its own. It would allow senators like Manchin to brag that they saved the filibuster, assuming that their stubborn devotion to the rule stems from some belief that their constituents approve of it.” Also, why not just lower the filibuster threshold from 60 votes to 55?

3 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Michael Brennan on

    To win what people urgently need, let’s
    remind all our fellow members of the American family
    how good they feel when they help each other when needed, and
    how good it feels to pledge allegiance to a flag with one nation with liberty and justice for all

    Let’s thank them for the good they’ve done
    share a story of someone who needs our help
    and invite them to keep helping.

  2. Victor on

    The best argument against the filibuster is that it is anticonstitutional. Could Democrats pass their whole legislative program and then adopt a rule in the House that legislation requires 2/3 majority? Use right wing arguments against the GOP. In any case it won’t happen because of Democrats.

  3. pjcamp on

    I saw another interesting proposal for filibuster reform: you have to represent a majority of the population to sustain one.


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