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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From “Biden’s complicated new task: keeping Democrats together” by the Associated Press: “President Joe Biden overcame skepticism, deep political polarization and legislative gamesmanship to win bipartisan approval in the Senate this week of his $1 trillion infrastructure bill….But as the bill moves to consideration in the House alongside a $3.5 trillion budget that achieves the rest of Biden’s agenda, the president is facing an even more complicated task. He must keep a diverse, sometimes fractious Democratic Party in line behind the fragile compromises that underpin both measures….If Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress hope to succeed with what they’ve called a two-track legislative strategy, the months ahead will almost certainly be dominated by a tedious balancing act. With exceedingly slim majorities in Congress, Biden can’t afford many defections in a party whose members include moderates and progressives….From Biden’s blueprint, the package will essentially rewire the social safety net and expand the role of government across industries and livelihoods, on par with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society. White House aides are encouraged that, so far, both the liberals and moderates have engaged in mere saber rattling with no red lines drawn….“We have a diverse caucus, from Bernie Sanders, we have Joe Manchin, and everybody in between,” Schumer said. “There are some in my caucus who might believe it’s too much. There are some in my caucus we believe it’s too little. We are going to all come together to get something done.”….An array of progressive and pro-White House groups will aim to keep Democrats in line by spending nearly $100 million to promote Biden’s agenda while lawmakers are on recess. An outside coalition of progressive organizations launched a war room and is planning to host over 1,000 events and actions to bombard the home districts of members of Congress with ads — both televised and digital — to keep the pressure on to follow through on their votes as well as to underscore much of the agenda’s popularity with the public.”

Democrats are deploying a new strategic meme that flips the GOP narrative and has targeted Republicans squirming and flustered. “Several members have already started to implement the new strategy,” Akela Lacy reports at The Intercept. “The former President and Radical Republican are disrespecting police officers,” Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., tweeted July 22. “My colleagues on the other side of the aisle in @HouseJudiciary this morning were yet again talking about ‘supporting the police,’ ‘funding the police.’ But they voted against the opportunity to fund the police in the American Rescue Plan. Watch what they do, not what they say,” Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., Orlando’s former police chief, tweeted the previous day. Earlier this month, Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., tweeted the same slogan: “4 Months Ago: All Republicans voted against #AmericanRescuePlan including funding for Police. 1 Month Ago: 21 Republicans voted against honoring Police for their work during the 1/6 Capitol riot. Now: Capitol Police may run out of funds. Watch what they do, not what they say….After Capitol Police officers testified to Congress on Tuesday during the first hearing of the select committee investigating the January 6 riot, the DNC issued a press release describing the GOP as the caucus that “voted against additional funding for police” and criticized Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., for “*counterprogramming* police officers testifying about the day they protected those very same members of Congress from the violence of January 6….Pelosi’s deputy communications director, Robyn Patterson, replied to the House GOP tweet: “Republicans can’t name a single Congressional Democrat who voted to defund the police. Fox News, however, can name 210 House Republicans and 50 Senate Republicans who voted to.”

Washington Post syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. explains why “It’s Liberals Who Are the Tough-Minded Realists About Policy,” and writes, “Over the decades, conservatives have been enormously successful at selling a parody of liberalism. Liberals are cast as dreamy idealists who think “throwing money at problems” is the way to solve them. They’re painted as hostile to a tough-minded examination of their programs and indifferent to whether they work….This parody has things exactly backward. In 2021, it’s liberals who want citizens, politicians included, to look rigorously at the evidence. It shows how many public programs make a substantial, positive difference in the lives of Americans, especially kids from low-income families. It’s conservatives who prefer ideology and moralism to the facts….The spending that liberals favor these days — much of it included in President Biden’s American Families Plan that Democrats are pushing through Congress — is for government interventions that have been tested and proved.’ Dionne cites “a report released this month by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a think tank devoted to careful policy analysis aimed at lifting up those who have been left out,” which notes that ““When children grew up in a household receiving additional cash benefits, their academic achievement increased on a lasting basis.”….“When children had access to quality pre-kindergarten at age 4, they were likelier to enter college on time.”….“When high school students were guaranteed grants to pay for community college, they were likelier to complete community college.” Dionne adds, “A major obstacle to more energetic efforts to help the least advantaged, Parrott said, is “the cynicism that it doesn’t matter what we do.” But it does matter. When it comes to public programs, the antithesis of cynicism is reality itself: We know a great deal about what works. Let’s do it.”

In “Other Polling Bites,” Alex Samuels reports at FiveThirtyEight: “There’s been a big discussion as of late into whether schools should be allowed to teach critical race theory and have frank discussions about racism in the U.S. And new polling from the Pew Research Center shows that most Americans believe increased attention to  the history of racism is a good thing for society. Per the poll, 53 percent of U.S. adults think it’s “very” or “somewhat” good for society to be aware of the history of slavery and racism in America, while 26 percent of respondents think it’s bad for society. The survey found wide partisan and racial divides, too. Black (75 percent), Asian American (64 percent) and Hispanic adults (59 percent) were more likely to view heightened attention to this topic as a good thing, while just a little under half of white adults (46 percent) felt the same way. The partisan divide was even more stark, Pew found. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, only 25 percent said greater attention to racism and slavery was good for society, compared to 78 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. “

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