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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From Tal Axelrod’s “Democrats Scramble to Reclaim Lost Ground in statehouse Battles” at The Hill:  “How Democrats Scramble”Democrats are licking their wounds and looking to cobble together a new strategy for success in state legislative races after failing to flip a single chamber throughout the entire country last year. Those defeats are particularly stinging now as Republicans are left in control of redistricting for 187 House districts, while Democrats will have full control to delineate jus…“This is not a scenario where you show up in the last election of the decade to try to flip a chamber,” said Texas state Rep. Trey Martínez Fischer (D). “You spend a decade committing yourself to flipping a chamber in a particular state, and you don’t give up. You don’t play the short game on this, this is a long game.t 84….Those defeats stand in stark contrast to the victories Democrats projected in states like Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas. Adding insult to injury, Democrats also ceded both chambers of the New Hampshire legislature….And with redistricting coming just ahead of the 2022 midterms, those losses have Democrats alarmed….“I think it’s devastating,” said Amanda Litman, co-founder of Run for Something, which helps Democrats win state legislative races. “If we hold the House in 2022, it will be a structural miracle. Because Democrats failing to flip a single chamber and in fact losing two in 2020 is the kind of thing that will set Congress back decades.”….Democrats have been tantalizingly close in several chambers. The party last year was two seats away from flipping the Arizona state House and Minnesota Senate and nine seats away from flipping the Texas state House, to name a few. Democrats made no headway in Arizona or Texas and won only one seat in Minnesota.”

Here’s a headline that ought to provoke intense discusssion about redistricting in the Lone Star State: “Just 35 Percent of Texas’ Congressional Districts Are Majority-White — Down From 58% in 2010” by Amy Walter at The Cook Political Report. As Walter explains, “Perhaps no state has seen as much demographic change as Texas. Of the states 36 CDs, 13 of them (or just over 35 percent) have a majority white population. Just ten years ago, more than half (58 percent) of the state’s CD’s were majority white….Nowhere has this surge in the population of people of color been more pronounced than Texas’ 3rd CD held by GOP Rep. Van Taylor. Back in 2010, this district, which takes in the fast growing exurbs north of Dallas (such as Plano and McKinney), was 62 percent white. Today, Census data shows that the white population has dropped almost 13 points to 49.8 percent. Leading the surge in population growth in these exurbs were Asian residents who now make up almost a quarter of the population in the district — up from 15 percent just ten years ago….Of the eight CDs that were majority white in 2010 but are not today, all but one (suburban Dallas’ 32nd CD) are represented by Republicans….Notably, six of those eight districts have gotten much more competitive at the presidential level as well. Or, to put it another way, six CDs that looked safely Republican when these lines were last drawn back in 2012, are now either Democratic-leaning or evenly divided. For example, back in 2012 Mitt Romney won GOP Rep. Michael McCaul’s Austin and Houston suburban district by more than 20 points. Last year, however, Donald Trump narrowly carried it by just 1.7 percent.”

“The vaccinated, across party lines, have kind of had it with the unvaccinated, an array of new polls suggests,” Ronald Brownstein writes at The Atlantic. “While most state and national GOP leaders are focused on defending the rights of unvaccinated Americans, new polling shows that the large majority of vaccinated adults—including a substantial portion of Republicans—support tougher measures against those who have refused COVID-19 shots….These new results, shared exclusively with The Atlantic by several pollsters, reveal that significant majorities of people who have been vaccinated support vaccine mandates for health workers, government employees, college students, and airline travelers—even, in some surveys, for all Americans or all private-sector workers. Most of the vaccinated respondents also say that entry to entertainment and sporting arenas should require proof of vaccination, and half say the same about restaurants….All of this suggests that as the Delta variant’s “pandemic of the unvaccinated” disrupts the return to “normal” life promised by the vaccines, a backlash may be intensifying among those who have received the shots against those who have not. And that could leave Republican leaders who have unstintingly stressed the rights of the unvaccinated—including Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy—in an exposed position….About 85 percent of Democrats and just over half of Republicans have been vaccinated, according to a recent survey by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which is conducting monthly polls about experiences and attitudes toward the COVID-19 vaccines….But big majorities of the vaccinated in both parties assigned responsibility to the unvaccinated; almost two in three vaccinated Republicans joined nearly nine in 10 vaccinated Democrats in blaming them for the case rise. By contrast, less than one in 14 of the Republicans who hadn’t received the shot blamed the unvaccinated. (In this survey, like most of those I examined, the group of unvaccinated Democrats was too small to reliably analyze.)

Brownstein continues, “The COVID States Project’s national polling has found the broadest support for mandates: In its latest survey, 63 percent of vaccinated Republicans, as well as 95 percent of vaccinated Democrats and 65 percent of unvaccinated Democrats, supported government action “requiring everyone” to obtain a vaccination. Unvaccinated Republicans stood isolated in their opposition; just 14 percent supported such a sweeping mandate….When Kaiser recently asked whether “the federal government should recommend that employers” require their workers to get vaccinated, four-fifths of vaccinated Democrats and nearly half of vaccinated Republicans agreed that it should. But nearly nine in 10 unvaccinated Republicans disagreed (as did about six in 10 unvaccinated Democrats)….Quinnipiac University found similar patterns when it recently tested attitudes toward a broad range of vaccine and mask requirements. Among vaccinated Democrats, at least 85 percent backed vaccine mandates for government workers, university students, health-care workers, and all private-sector employees; well over 80 percent backed proof-of-vaccination requirements for flying or entering large arenas; and 90 percent or more backed mask requirements for public-school students and staff, as well as for participants in indoor activities in high-risk areas. (Seventy percent of vaccinated Democrats also backed proof-of-vaccination requirements for restaurants.)” Brownstein concludes, “Biden, who has generally muted issues that might spark culture-war confrontations, has clearly been reluctant to test the public’s tolerance for more coercive measures to pressure unvaccinated individuals to receive a vaccine. But if the virus continues to find a safe harbor primarily in Republican-leaning states with low vaccination rates and lax public-health protections, he may eventually have no choice but to enter that fight.”

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