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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his Washington Post column, “A make-or-break moment for our democracy,” E. J. Dionne writes:“Virtually all Democrats in both houses of Congress understand it would be politically ruinous and historically irresponsible to kick away this opportunity to establish a more equitable social contract. That’s especially true since their initiatives — on child care, paid leave, elder care, health care, education and the pro-family child tax credit — are broadly popular….Two points are often lost. One is about the size of what’s being considered. Yes, the much-discussed $3.5 trillion price tag is a lot of money. But that number is based on 10 years of spending. Sharon Parrott, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, points out that the $3.5 trillion should be placed in the context of an anticipated gross domestic product of $288 trillion over the same period — meaning that this debate is over roughly 1.2 percent of the economy….That’s hardly a gargantuan investment in social equity and economic stability for tens of millions of our fellow citizens….Moreover, as both Parrott and my Post colleague Catherine Rampell have noted, backers of these programs are not proposing to throw the whole thing onto the national debt. On the contrary, as Rampell reminded us recently, lawmakers voted last month for a maximum deficit increase of about $1.75 trillion, with all or most of the package to be paid for with new revenue and budget savings elsewhere.”

Dionne continues, “The horror of what so many Republican-dominated state governments have done — most recently in Texas — to restrict access to the ballot and undercut the honest and nonpartisan counting of ballots presents Democrats with only two options: Act uncompromisingly at the national level to ensure democracy everywhere, or accept that many states in our union will, in important ways, cease to be democratic….Killing a strong voting rights bill means accepting, to evoke Abraham Lincoln’s declaration on slavery, a nation half-democratic and half undemocratic….Here again, the clarity of the hazard is pushing even reluctant Democrats to action. Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have said repeatedly that they would not overturn current filibuster rules to enact a voting rights bill….So Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued Manchin a friendly challenge: Offer a proposal that you could vote for and find 10 Republicans to support it….Manchin accepted the challenge, and as soon as this week, a group of Democrats including Manchin and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Raphael G. Warnock (Ga.) could introduce a bill rooted in his ideas….If Manchin can find 10 Republicans to support it, he will deserve canonization for having performed a miracle. If he can’t, will he and Sinema stick with their refusal to alter the filibuster and thus make themselves complicit in the death of a bill as important to democracy in our times as the original Voting Rights Act was in 1965?….Call me naive, but I do not believe that Manchin, Sinema and Biden want to be associated in history with those who failed to stand up for democracy at the hour of maximum danger. In a little over a month, we’ll know where they stand.”

At The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein argues that “The California Recall Could Be a Road Map for Democrats: Gavin Newsom’s strategy has momentum, and it provides a crucial template for his fellow Dems in 2022,” and observes that “the large number of mail ballots already returned by Democratic voters, as well as the latest poll results, signal that Newsom has mostly closed that enthusiasm gap, placing himself in a strong position to defeat the recall when balloting concludes next Tuesday. And he has done so in a manner that could provide a crucial template for Democrats nationwide in 2022: Newsom has focused less on selling his accomplishments than on raising alarms that his Republican opponents will exacerbate the coronavirus pandemic by repealing the public-health protections, such as vaccine and mask mandates, that he has imposed to fight it. He’s linked the GOP candidates running to replace him not only to Donald Trump but also to Republican governors such as Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbott in Texas, who have blocked mandates and other measures to combat the disease….“People are rightfully freaked out at the Delta variant. They are angry at people who refuse to get vaccinated, and extremely angry at leaders who enable anti-vaxxers to endanger everyone else,” says Nathan Click, the spokesperson for the anti-recall campaign. “They see what’s going on in Texas, they see what’s going on in Florida, and they don’t want that happening here.”….These strategies show that Democratic candidates—albeit in blue-leaning states that all rank near the top in vaccination rates—are moving more forcefully than President Joe Biden to pressure the remaining roughly one-fourth of American adults who have refused to get vaccinated. The emphatic embrace of mask and vaccine mandates by Newsom, McAuliffe, and Murphy reflects a growing consensus in the party that the majority of Americans who have received at least one shot are receptive to tougher measures on those who have not.”

From “The Texas county that explains why Republicans are terrified: Demographic shifts in places like Fort Bend mean the GOP is desperate to pass its extreme agenda while it can” by Sam Levine at The Guardian: “Since 2010, the population in Fort Bend county has just exploded. Last year, the census counted 822,779 people living here, a staggering 40% increasefrom a decade ago. It’s part of the metro and suburban growth that helped Texas’s population grow by 16% over the last decade, making it one of the fastest-growing places in the US….The county is also now extremely diverse; it is nearly 32% white, 25% Hispanic or Latino, 21% Asian and 21.3% Black….“​​Fort Bend county is probably the most ethnically diverse county in the United States,” Stephen L Klineberg, the founding director of Kinder Institute for Urban Research, who closely studies the demographics of the Houston area, told me. “And so it’s a perfect model for what the American future [will look like].”….The population isn’t the only thing that’s changing – the politics are too. In 2012, Mitt Romney handily won the county over Barack Obama by about 10 points. But in 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by six points. In 2018, Beto O’Rourke won the county in his US Senate campaign against Ted Cruz. Biden carried the county in 2020….“​​There’s been explosive growth in the suburbs of Texas and that is driving through the change in politics that is creating this kind of last hurrah kind of thing for people like [Texas Lieutenant Governor] Dan Patrick, and Governor Abbott and others that are trying to get as many conservative things as they can possibly get done. Because it’s not a reflection of the population and where the population is headed,” Tameez said….Klineberg, the demographer, added that there was no way for Republicans to stop the kind of demographic change happening in Fort Bend county. “The Republicans see the handwriting on the wall,” he said.”

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