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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “Biden’s Push For Big Government Solutions Is Popular Now — But It Could Backfire,” Daniel Cox writes at FicewThirtyEight that “there are other possible explanations for why Americans might want more government intervention. Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) have experienced multiple economic traumas, which has left them less well-off than previous generations. Whether measured in terms of homeownership, retirement savings or debt, millennials have accumulated far less wealth on average than baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) when they were the same age. As a result, millennials may be less worried about what the government is taking from them and more interested in what it can do for them. A recent Pew study bears this out. Roughly two-thirds of millennials — and 70 percent of Generation Zers (for this study, those born between 1997 and 2005) — believe government should do more to address societal problems while just under half of baby boomers agree….But if deficit spending and mounting debts no longer arouse ire among conservatives and trepidation among the public, that does not mean it never will. Reducing the deficit is not a high public priority, but a new Quinnipiac poll shows that 48 percent of Americans are worried that the Biden administration wants to spend too much money.”

At The Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook rolls out “The Six Factors That Will Shape 2022,” including a couple of optimistic notes for Dems: “The best argument to be made for Democrats in the House is that since they lost 11 seats last year, their exposure is light, only seven Democrats holding seats in districts that Trump won. One law of politics that can be counted upon is that a party cannot lose a seat they don’t hold….Republicans will have to defend 20 seats, compared to Democrats’ 14. Republicans also have five open seats among their 20, which are usually harder to defend than incumbent seats. Democrats have none….Democrats have four seats up in states with The Cook Political Report Partisan Voting Index of 3 points or less, meaning that the state’s vote margin is within 3 points of the national average. Republicans have five such seats. Of course, with only a single-seat margin, Democrats cannot afford any net loss at all.”

Republicans Will Punish Democrats for Every Reform They Make: But that shouldn’t stop Democrats from embracing big and sweeping changes while they can,” according to Elie Mystal, who writes at The Nation: “Unfortunately, many centrist and moderate Democrats seem paralyzed by the fear of what Republicans will do if they take back the Senate or the White House. They’re afraid to pass sweeping policy or procedural reforms because of how they think Republicans will punish Democratic politicians in the future. It’s hard to even have a debate about big, structural changes to how government functions because too many arguments devolve to “If Democrats do anything, Republicans will be super mean….Republicans are not bluffing when they promise retribution should Democrats use the power they have won. But so what? How is that any worse than what we have now?….Who in their right mind thinks Republicans won’t use all the power they have in, say, 2025 just because Democrats showed restraint in 2021? Republicans never hold their fire because they’re afraid of the Democratic response.”

“Unions communicate with their members about issues and candidates to make sure workers have information when they go to the polls on Election Day. Union members’ voter turnout is significantly higher than the general public’s,” according to a report by The Economic Policy Institute. “A study of union members finds they are 12 percentage points more likely to vote than voters who are not in a union….Other research shows that voter turnout is higher in states with greater levels of unionization….Conversely, turnout is lower in states that have adopted anti-worker “right-to-work” legislation. Right-to-work laws undermine unions’ ability to collect “fair share fees” from workers whose interests they represent. Fair share fees cover the costs of bargaining, contract administration, and grievance processes that unions are required by law to undertake on behalf of all (union and nonunion) members of a collective bargaining unit. Without fair share fees, union power degrades quickly—which is exactly what anti-union employers want. According to research by Columbia University professor Alex Hertel-Fernandez and his colleagues, the passage of right-to-work laws reduced voter turnout by 2% in presidential elections. This is not insignificant considering that in right-to-work states Michigan and Wisconsin, the losing candidate lost by less than 1 percentage point in the 2016 election.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    People have no idea how the federal government’s fiscal policies work. Democrats need to engage with the home budget propaganda that is “common sense” to the average voter. Yet explanations are not enough. You need to continually provide tangible benefits so people will be open to it being in their interest to learn.


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