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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From “Carville: Democrats “Think It’s Beneath Them” To Go Out And Sell Biden’s Plan, Quit Hounding Manchin and Sinema” at RealClear Politics: “Democratic strategist and former Clinton adviser James Carville admonished Democrats on Wednesday on MSNBC for believing it is “beneath them” to campaign for President Biden’s agenda and for an “idiotic strategy” to protest and hound moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)…..”The issue right now is Democrats in Congress are asked to do very popular things,” Carville said. “It doesn’t take much courage to negotiate prescription drug prices. It doesn’t take much courage to raise taxes on the wealthy. It doesn’t take much courage to expand health care. Somebody has to get into the room and say, ‘Okay, we want to do ten things, we can do five. Let’s do these five and then take the other five and run them in 2022….They have got to understand the reality is they’re just running around like they are people in a locker room banging their helmets against the lockers,” Carville said. “That’s not going to do you any good. You are not going move any further than Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema. So quit this idiotic protesting and hounding them and tell President Biden get them in the room, get the Speaker in there, get the Majority Leader, let’s hammer something out, and what we don’t get let’s go for it in 2022….”Is that a failure of Democratic messaging?” the host asked. “Of course it is,” Carville answered. “They didn’t get out in the country enough, they didn’t sell it enough.” Watch the video at this link for tips on hw to close a political sale.

E. J. Dionne, Jr. largely agrees in his latest Washington Post column, and observes “Democrats are a maddening bunch, especially to their supporters….A party that should be celebrating its efforts to expand health coverage, help families with children, build roads and fight climate change is instead engaged in a messy and increasingly angry confrontation over how much it can and should accomplish….Democrats are effectively running what would be a coalition government in countries with multiparty systems — but without the disciplines that formal coalition agreements typically impose in advance on an alliance’s various components. Democrats are making their deals on the fly, and it shows….I sat down last week with the political scientists Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, co-authors of the justly celebrated 2018 book “How Democracies Die.” Both speak with deep worry about the anti-majoritarian nature of the American system with a Senate and electoral college that vastly underrepresent rban and suburban voters as well as racial and ethnic minorities….None of this gets Democrats off the hook. As the late Donald H. Rumsfeld might advise them, you have to work with the system you have, not the system you wish you had. It is no excuse for making a mess of what should be a moment of achievement.”

If you were wondering “How Close Is Virginia’s Governors Race?,” Geoffrey Skelley and Mackenzie Wilkes have a good update at FiveThirtyEight: “Election Day 2021 is only about two weeks away, and the big race to watch is undoubtedly Virginia’s gubernatorial contest. A still-somewhat purple state with a Democratic lean in recent presidential elections, Virginia will be viewed by many as a bellwether for the 2022 midterms, and the race is already proving to be a testing ground for some of the big national issues  that could very well influence elections next year, including COVID-19 policies, what should be in taught in schools and the economy.” Noting a slight edge for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in recent polls, but with worrsome upticks for his opponent,  Skelley and Wilkes write, “Still, the polls could be overselling the GOP’s chances, like they did in 2017 when Republican Ed Gillespie trailed Democrat Ralph Northam by about 3 points going into the election — similar to where Youngkin is now — but ended up losing by 9 points. That’s impossible to say with any certainty, as the direction of polling error is inconsistent from one cycle to the next. But polls that model higher turnout, such as the CBS News/YouGov survey, which found that McAuliffe led Youngkin by 8 points instead of 3 points in a high-turnout situation, suggest Democrats could perform better than expected if pollsters are underestimating turnout….Historically, Virginia hasn’t been an especially good barometer of the overall national environment“….one election should never be used as a benchmark on its own, but the spotlight will shine brightly on Virginia’s result nevertheless.”

Will supermarket shortages hurt Dems in the 2022 midterms? Are they already doing so? I got to  wondering yesterday by a customer next to me at the meat bin in a rural Food Lion, who grumbled “I don’t know how people can afford to eat any more,” then walked away empty-handed. I noticed some empty shelf space throughout the market, though not as bad as the early days of the pandemic. But it’s still a bad look. Talking heads debate whether the high meat prices and some product scarcity are caused by labor shortages or “shipping bottlenecks” or”pipeline issues.” Nathaniel Meyerson reports that “Grocery store shelves aren’t going back to normal this year” at CNN Business, and notes, “These latest limits mean that stores won’t have all things for all customers heading into the holidays….” Grimly, I remember the way-back Saturday Night Live skit with Akroyd’s Jimmy Carter punchline “Inflation is our friend.” Low unemployment is a good thing for Dems. But, politically, I’m less worried about a Pringles shortage than high meat prices still hanging around a year from now.

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