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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Harry Enten notes some worrisome stats for Democrats at CNN Politics: “Democrats represent a mere five seats of the 65 districts (8%) that have a higher proportion of Whites without a college degree in their ranks. All of those Democratic representatives were incumbents heading into the 2020 elections (i.e. no non-incumbents like Hart won in these districts). Going further, a mere two of the top 50 districts with Whites without a college degree have a Democratic representative and none of the top 10 do….After the 2006 elections, Democrats controlled 44% of the districts with as many or more White non-college graduates as Iowa’s 2nd District. They held 23 of the top 50 districts matching this description, or 21 more than they do now. Additionally, Democrats held five of the top 10 of these districts compared to zero today.”

In his article, “Why Democrats Might Need to Play Dirty to Win: The party is trying to ban partisan gerrymandering nationwide, but aggressively redrawing districts in blue states like New York might be the only way to preserve its House majority,” Russell berman writes at The Atlantic: “To hear democratic leaders decry gerrymandering as part of their current bid to enact landmark voting-rights legislation, you’d think the centuries-old practice was a mortal threat to the republic. But political necessity could soon demand that Democrats drop their purity act. To keep their narrow House majority, they might have to deploy the tactic everywhere they can, and every bit as aggressively as Republicans do….Nationwide, the challenge for Democrats is formidable: The shuffling of House seats as a result of the decennial census is expected to shift power from mostly Democratic states like California, New York, and Illinois to states like Texas, Florida, and North Carolina—all of which will have legislatures controlled by Republicans who will be in charge of drawing new districts. “The bottom line is: If this becomes an arms race, and both parties maximize their advantage in the states that they control, Republicans will come out ahead,” David Wasserman, an analyst for the nonpartisan newsletter The Cook Political Report, told me. The GOP needs to flip just five Democratic seats to recapture the House majority in 2022, and conceivably, the party could gain all of those seats through gerrymandering alone. Wasserman projects that Republicans could net anywhere from zero to 10 seats from redistricting.”

Joe Biden’s first set of judicial nominations this week is the beginning of something big: almost certainly by the end of this Congress, the majority of lower court seats will be filled by Democratic appointees,” Bill Scher writes at The Washington Monthly. “That may surprise you, considering the breathless coverage Donald Trump received for his four-year judicial confirmation blitz. We were constantly told he was transforming the judiciary for a generation. With Sen. Mitch McConnell’s help, the Senate became a judicial confirmation factory. Not counting the Supreme Court, Trump got 231 judges with lifetime appointments confirmed. No president got more lower court judges confirmed in a single term since Jimmy Carter….the Republican grip on the lower courts is tenuous. Just one circuit court has to flip for Democrats to hold the majority of circuits again. Just nine seats have to flip for Democrats to hold the majority of seats again….Securing those flips shouldn’t be too hard. Despite Trump’s torrid pace, he left some judicial seats empty, and more vacancies have been announced since Biden’s inauguration. At present, the federal judiciary has 97 currentand future vacancies for seats with lifetime appointments. Fifty-two of those vacant seats were last held by Republicans….Trump was able to move faster than most presidents because the filibuster for lower court judges was nuked by Democrats in 2013 (with Republicans finishing the job regarding Supreme Court nominee in 2017). Now it’s Biden who gets to take advantage of the easier rules, so he will at least partially offset Trump’s gains.”

Despite the raised eyebrows about the size of President Biden’s infrastructure upgrade proposals, it looks like he has the support of the public. As E. J. Dionne, Jr. notes at The Washington Post, “And yes, big infrastructure investments of the sort President Biden has proposed (and that Republicans seem ready to oppose en masse) are broadly endorsed by the public; so are Biden’s proposed ways of paying for them….The Morning Consult/Politico poll, for example, found that 54 percent of registered voters — including 32 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of conservatives — favored infrastructure improvements financed by taxes on those earning more than $400,000 annually and increases in the corporate tax rate. (Another 27 percent of registered voters favored infrastructure spending without the taxes.)”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. MartinLawford on

    Berman’s article in The Atlantic says that the New York legislature can overrule the supposedly independent redistricting commission at will and is likely to do so. In that case, in what way is the redistricting commission independent?

    Reply

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