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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

David Siders explains “Why this moment for gun politics is different” at Politico: “If fallout from the nation’s two most recent mass shootings runs to form, calls for stricter gun laws on the left will meet resistance from the right. Washington will gridlock, and the media will move on….But the current debate is taking place under an uncommon alignment of the political stars, creating a unique moment in the arc of gun politics. Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress for the first time since 2011. Public polling reflects widespread support for background checks and other gun measures, while the National Rifle Association — a traditional power in Republican Party politics — has been crippled by financial problems and infighting…..For the gun reform movement — a centerpiece of the Democratic Party’s agenda for at least a quarter century — the question this week has become, if not now, when?….The history of midterm elections suggests Democrats are at risk of losing the House next year, shrinking their window for legislative victories…..“The time is definitely now,” said Peter Ambler, executive director of the gun-control group Giffords. Howcver, Siders adds, “Democrats, of course, lack a filibuster-proof majority. And at least one Senate Democrat, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, hails from one of the most pro-gun states in the nation. But even if legislation ultimately fails in Washington, holding a vote on a major gun reform bill could be politically significant ahead of the midterm elections next year. For Democrats, said Floyd Ciruli, a Denver-based pollster, such legislation “would be, at least to some extent, to get a vote on it and be able to use it in suburban districts” in Colorado and across the country.”

In “The Strongest House Candidates In 2020 Were (Mostly) Moderate,” Nathaniel Rakich writes at FiveThirtyEight: “It’s not an ironclad rule, but there is a lot of evidence that moderate candidates tend to perform better at the ballot box. And though the relationship may be growing weaker with time, an examination of split-ticket voting in the 2020 election suggests it’s still there….Using data on the results of the presidential election by congressional district from Daily Kos Elections, I calculated how much better — or worse — each candidate for U.S. House did than their party’s presidential nominee. Assuming that President Biden and former President Donald Trump’s vote share represent how a “typical” 2020 Democrat or Republican would have done in each district, this gap gives you a rough measure of candidate quality….the vast majority of House candidates performed about as you’d expect based on presidential partisanship. But when you look at the exceptions — the districts where Democratic House candidates most outperformed Biden, and the districts where Republican candidates most outperformed Trump — the strongest candidates tended to be incumbents with moderate voting records and personal brands that differentiate them from the national reputation of their party….It wasn’t just Democratic moderates who punched above their weight. Middle-of-the-road incumbents also represent many of the districts where Republican House candidates most improved upon Trump’s margins (excluding House seats that Democrats did not contest).”

Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill shares the sobering truth regarding “Why We Can’t Start A Civil War In The Democratic Party” on Lawrence O’Donnell’s ‘The Last Word’ on MSNBC (via Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars}: “”Well, here is what they should start by doing, and that is forcing votes on public policy that is wildly popular in this country, whether it is on gun safety or whether it is minimum wage or the reimportation of prescription drugs,” McCaskill said….”There is a long list of public policy issues that get wide, popular bipartisan support. Tee those up for votes, get those votes first, but let me tell you where it cannot end….Joe Manchin is never going to be beat by a progressive candidate. He’s in a state that Donald Trump won by 40 points. He is an aberration in West Virginia today….”So we only have 50 votes. If Joe Manchin decides to walk to the other side of the aisle, Mitch McConnell is back in charge. We have to win more seats in 2022. So what we can’t do in this process is start a civil war in the Democratic party….”Because if we do, then we see Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and North Carolina all slip from our grasp and we’re in a situation that if something happens with Joe Manchin or if he doesn’t run again, or Jon Testor or any of the other Democrats that are in Republican states, then we’re back with Mitch McConnell calling the shots and we can’t force votes. And so there needs to be a plan here, and it’s not as simple as ‘We can flip Joe Manchin,’ ” she said….”Cause that is a lot harder than you think.”

From “Biden allies eye two-step strategy on infrastructure” by Morgan Chalafant and Alexander Bolton at The Hill: “Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a key ally of President Biden, and several White House advisers want Congress to first move a smaller infrastructure bill in hopes of securing a bipartisan win before trying to address more ambitious goals on climate change and health care in a subsequent measure….Democrats say Biden is eager to get a bipartisan triumph during his first few months in office….“Anything we can do bipartisan is good,” said centrist Sen. Joe Manchin(D-W.Va.), adding that if Biden is talking about breaking up the infrastructure to package to get Republican support, it shows how serious he is about changing the tone in Washington….“If he’s talking like that — I think he’s sincere in that,” Manchin said….There’s long been bipartisan support in Washington for overhauling the nation’s traditional infrastructure system: roads, bridges, rail lines and waterworks….The Senate and House passed by overwhelming margins a $305 billion five-year highway bill in 2015. The sticking point in recent years has been finding a way to pay for infrastructure spending. The White House is mulling raising tax rates on corporations and wealthy individuals to pay for at least part of its infrastructure bill….But Biden also wants to use his infrastructure agenda to combat global warming, expand access to community colleges and prekindergarten programs, establish a national paid-leave program, modernize schools and weatherize private and public housing.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    Democrats must make sure to avoid talk of raising gas taxes.

    Instead like the European Union they should focus on taxes on maritime and air transport.

    It can be argued that this target both more affluent consumers and are a way of taxing globalization and favoring domestic industry.

    Domestic transport could be exempted.


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