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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Lauren Fox, Fredreka Schouten and Rachel Janfaza  report that “Sen. Joe Manchin won’t support For the People Act, says path forward is John Lewis Voting Rights Act” at CNN Politics: “Sen. Joe Manchin will not back the For the People Act, the sweeping elections and campaign finance overhaul sought by Democrats to blunt Republican state-level efforts to restrict voting access, a spokeswoman for the West Virginia Democrat confirmed Wednesday….Manchin — who had previously expressed reservations about moving forward with a far-reaching measure without bipartisan support — suggested instead using the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as the path forward….Manchin’s proposal comes just one day after the Senate Rules Committee deadlocked 9-9 along partisan lines on passing the For the People Act out of committee Tuesday, revealing the tough path ahead for the Democratic legislation, which touches on everything from rules for early voting to public funding for Senate candidates….Manchin’s suggestion for voting rights legislation — the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — is a bill far less sweeping than the For the People Act, but brings back major pieces of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, including a provision that require states to consult with the federal government before making major changes to their voting rules.” If this means that the For the People Act is not going forward, should Democrats first enact the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, then try to pass the most popular provisions of For the People as separate bills?

Charlie Cook shares some data about the relationship of demographic and economic realities at the Cook Political Report: “Based on data compiled by Brookings Institution demographer William Frey and his Metropolitan Policy Program team, Cook Political Report House Editor David Wasserman calculates that of the 100 counties with the highest percentages of college graduates, Joe Biden won 87 last year, while Donald Trump won 94 of the 100 with the lowest percentages of college graduates, losing only the ones where racial minorities were in the majority….Frey’s Brookings colleagues Mark Muro, Eli Byerly Duke, Yang You, and Robert Maxim released a report just days after last November’s election (with data updated in February), showing that while Trump carried 2,564 counties to just 520 for Biden, the counties Biden won generated 71 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, to just 29 percent for the far more numerous Trump counties. That was up from four years earlier, when counties that backed Hillary Clinton represented 64 percent of GDP while those backing Trump accounted for 36 percent….The report continued: “Democrats represent voters who overwhelmingly reside in the nation’s diverse economic centers, and thus tend to prioritize housing affordability, an improved social safety net, transportation infrastructure, and racial justice. Jobs in blue America also disproportionately rely on national R&D investment, technology leadership, and services exports.” Closing the circle, the report said, “By contrast, Republicans represent an economic base situated in the nation’s struggling small towns and rural areas.”

‘Bipartisanship’ may be a political unicorn nowadays, but the public – and even many Republicans – say they want it. “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” McConnell said at a press conference….According to a survey fielded by Vox and Data for Progress prior to McConnell’s comments,” Li Zhou writes at Vox, “some Republican voters don’t necessarily want lawmakers to do that. Instead, they maintain a focus on bipartisanship that’s consistent with past surveys — and one that looks increasingly untenable in the current Congress….Per that poll, 68 percent of all people, including 43 percent of Republicans, said they think it’s more important for GOP members of Congress to find ways to work with Biden rather than refusing to compromise. Meanwhile, 50 percent of Republicans said they were in favor of Republicans refusing to compromise, while 7 percent weren’t sure. That breakdown speaks to a general preference for bipartisanship that voters have expressed in polls in the past as well: In a Monmouth survey this past January, 71 percent of all voters also emphasized that they wanted Republicans to work with Biden, including 41 percent of Republicans.” Democratic Senator Joe Mancin currently has the loudest megaphone for bipartisanship. But so far he has used it to press the case for bipartisanship by Democrats only. Couldn’t he use at least some of his influence to push Republicans to embrace more bipartianship? Republicans are afraid he will change his position on filibuster reform. Surely he could use that fear to encourage a few of them to negotiate in good faith. That would be real bipartisan leadership.

If you are looking for bellwether political races this year, check out Virginia. As Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman write at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, “The Democratic primary is now less than a month away (June 8), and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) remains well ahead of a divided field of challengers….While there are other races to watch throughout 2021 for signs about the national political environment, such as U.S. House special elections, the upcoming Virginia state elections might be the best sign we’ll get this year as to which way the political winds are blowing. Specifically, Virginia is dotted with the kinds of highly educated and diverse suburban areas that have zoomed toward the Democrats in recent years. It also has a rural, white western region where Donald Trump performed very well even in defeat. If the GOP can make a comeback in the suburbs in 2022, the first signs may come in the November results this year, and Republican performance in the rurals also will help measure Trump Republican enthusiasm without the man himself on the ballot….Brood X cicadas are emerging in parts of Northern Virginia and elsewhere this spring. They’ve been out of sight and out of mind for 17 years. The Virginia Republicans have not won a statewide race in a dozen years. If Republicans don’t win something this year, they risk extending their dry spell to cicada-like lengths….We continue to rate the Virginia gubernatorial race as Leans Democratic.”

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