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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At Newsweek, Alexandra Hutzler reports that “Bookmakers currently have Republicans defeating Democrats to win control of Congress next year….The Republican Party is the favorite to take majority control of the Senate following the 2022 midterms, with their odds of winning the chamber at 5/6 (54 percent), according to betting aggregator US-Bookies….The GOP’s odds of capturing the House stand at 2/5, or 71.4 percent….The Democratic Party‘s odds of holding control of the Senate are 21/10, or roughly 32 percent. The party’s odds for keeping their majority in the House are slightly higher at 2/1, or 33 percent, according to the site….”While the odds favor Republicans winning control of Congress come midterms, their odds [to] take the House are stronger than the Senate,” a US-Bookies spokesperson said in a news release….Plus, for Democrats the 2022 map has dwindled following the redistricting process. Axios reported last month that Democrats have cut their list of Republican House seats to target from 39 to 21.” Lest we get too Chicken Little about the midterms, Hutzler also notes, “But polling has shown the competition to be close. FiveThirtyEight’s generic congressional ballot shows Democrats and Republicans less than 3 percentage points apart when voters are asked which party they will support in next year’s elections.” Hutzler adds that “Political betting is illegal in the United States but is popular in Europe and other areas abroad.”

“Biden’s approval rating has failed to improve even as Afghanistan has faded from the headlines,” Nate Silver writes at FiveThirtyeight. “According to closed-captioning data from the Internet Archive’s Television News Archive, from Aug. 12 through Sept. 1, the three major cable-news networks (CNN, Fox News and MSNBC) mentioned Afghanistan in an average of 1,320 15-second clips per day. From Sept. 2 through Sept. 30, however, they mentioned the country in an average of only 403 clips per day. (This is, however, still more often than Afghanistan was in the news before the Taliban’s takeover. From Aug. 1 through Aug. 11, the three networks mentioned Afghanistan in an average of just 56 clips per day.)….This is consistent with the argument that the decline in Biden’s approval rating was never just about Afghanistan. The timing of it suggested it was also driven by the resurgent pandemic, dissatisfaction with the economy, or even natural post-honeymoon reversion to a mean that is more realistic in these polarized times. In other words, a myriad of factors….Of course, case counts remain quite high in absolute terms (higher than at any point in the pandemic other than last winter), so Americans may not quite be in a mood to give Biden credit just yet. It doesn’t mean, however, that Biden won’t receive a political boost if and when the pandemic truly ends….Other news developments could help or hurt Biden politically as well, such as whether Democrats in Congress pass their infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills or if the government defaults on its debt. So we’ll have to wait and see what happens to Biden’s approval rating going forward — which will be important for, among other reasons, assessing how big of a shellacking Democrats will receive in the 2022 midterm elections (or if they will receive one at all).”

New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall probes the authoritarian politics of ‘true believers,’ and notes that “David C. Barker, Morgan Marietta and Ryan DeTamble, all political scientists, argue in “Intellectualism, Anti-Intellectualism, and Epistemic Hubris in Red and Blue America” that epistemic hubris — the expression of unwarranted factual certitude — is “prevalent, bipartisan and associated with both intellectualism (an identity marked by ruminative habits and learning for its own sake) and anti-intellectualism (negative affect toward intellectuals and the intellectual establishment).” Edsall quotes barker in a follow up interview: “The populist right hates the intellectual left because they hate being condescended to, they hate what they perceive as their hypersensitivity and they hate what they view as an anti-American level of femininity (which is for whatever reason associated with intellectualism)….the intellectual left really does see the G.O.P. as a bunch of deplorable rubes. They absolutely feel superior to them, and they reveal it constantly on Twitter and elsewhere — further riling up the “deplorables.”….The populist/anti-intellectual right absolutely believe that the intellectuals are not only out of touch but are also ungodly and sneaky and therefore think they must be stopped before they ruin America. Meanwhile, the intellectual left really do believe the Trumpers are racist, sexist, homophobic (and so on) authoritarians who can’t spell and are going to destroy the country if they are not stopped.”

Campaigns & Elections has a post on “Finding TV Ad Efficiencies In the Midterm Year,” which adds some insight into the relative efficiency of the ad campaigns that elected Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Osoff to the U.S. Senate in January, and Dems can hope will bode well for Warnock’s re-election next year: “Midterm ad spending next year is projected  to top $9 billion, which will exacerbate the issue of clutter that political media buyers are already struggling with….In fact, maneuvering through the ad saturation of voters’ screens may be a greater challenge for the Republican side, which hasn’t been as effective as Democrats in channeling donor money to candidates who get the lowest unit rate when buying TV time, according to Adam Wise, VP of client strategy at National Media….He pointed to the Georgia Senate runoff where $520 million was spent in a 45-day  period from Election Day 2020 to Jan. 5….“Republicans held a significant linear spend advantage, but candidate dollars, when you go back and look at purchasing power parity, [Democrats] actually outspent Republicans by $45 million because their dollars went 4.4 times further and 75 percent of their spend was with Warnock and Ossoff,” Wise said Sept. 9 at C&E’s Reed Awards Conference in DC…..“Really that’s going to be a big challenge for the Republicans going into next cycle. [Last cycle] on the Senate map, we were outspent by an effective dollar amount of $298 million dollars, he added. “How we can get that money to candidates and how candidates can function smarter and bigger is going to be a really big challenge for the party.”….Getting the money into candidates’ hands is one thing, spending it efficiently is another.”

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