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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In his Washington Post column, “President Biden, push the voting bills now,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, “What’s missing in Washington is a sense of urgency. The best case for that urgency rests on the imperative to defend democracy. Biden must stop downplaying the pro-democracy bills while waiting for passage of his social program. The truth is: We’ve waited too long for both….And at the moment, there appears to be more room for hope on the voting legislation. A group of senators who have in the past shared Manchin’s reluctance to change the filibuster rules have been working closely with him to find a way to alter them enough to get the democracy bills — bills that both he and Sinema support — to Biden’s desk….A victory for the voting reforms would electrify Biden’s currently dispirited supporters. And a bold defense of democracy is exactly the right response both to the findings of the Jan. 6 committee so far and to the attacks on free elections in the states….Building on voting rights victories, Biden would be in a stronger position to argue that passing the rest of his program is part of an effort “to prove that democracy still works,” as he put it last April, by easing the day-to-day burdens on our citizens. Surely Manchin and Sinema cannot want Biden’s efforts to collapse in a heap. That would only open a wide path for a resurgence of Trumpist Republicanism, the main threat to our democracy now.”

For a bit of good news, read “Incumbency vs. Environment in 2022’s Gubernatorial Races; Rating changes in four races” by Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. As they explain, “Today’s rating changes clarify that Democrats have the 2 clearest gubernatorial pickup opportunities: the open seats in Maryland and Massachusetts. Republicans also are defending a couple of races in the Toss-up column, the open seat in Arizona as well as Kemp’s bid for a second term in Georgia. Meanwhile, Democrats are defending an open, Toss-up seat in Pennsylvania as well as the Toss-up reelection bids of Sisolak in Nevada and Govs. Laura Kelly (D-KS) and Tony Evers (D-WI). But there’s also a large group of 5 Democratic-held governorships in the Leans Democratic column — Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Oregon — while there are no Republican-held seats rated as Leans Republican (all of the other current GOP states are rated as either Likely or Safe Republican).For Republicans, the more immediate focus is helping their incumbents navigate primaries, as well as sorting out large fields of challengers in some key targeted states. After the primary season, there are a lot of attractive pickup opportunities for the GOP, and the potential is there for Republicans to have a big cycle. For Democrats, it’s more about helping incumbents steel themselves against what very well could be a difficult cycle — and also capitalizing on what are some golden offensive opportunities even amidst a challenging environment.”

Thomas B. Edsall has a warning in his latest New York Times column: “An Aug. 3-Sept. 7 CNN survey of 2,119 people demonstrates the differing ways Democrats and Republicans are responding to the emerging threats to democracy….Far higher percentages of Republicans, many of them preoccupied by racial and tribal anxiety, believe “American democracy is under attack” (75 percent agree, 22 percent disagree) than Democrats (46 percent agree, 48 percent disagree). Republicans are also somewhat more likely to believe (57-43) than Democrats (49-51) “that, in the next few years, some elected officials will successfully overturn the results of an election in the United States because their party did not win.”….This level of anxiety is in and of itself dangerous, all the more so when it masks the true aim of America’s contemporary right-wing movement, the restoration and preservation of white hegemony. It is not beyond imagining that Republicans could be prepared, fueled by a mix of fear and provocation, to push the nation over the brink.”

Simon Rosenberg has a juicy message point at NDN: “Biden’s 5.9m jobs is already three times as many than were created in the 16 years of the last 3 Republican Presidencies, combined.  It is also millions more than were created in the entirety of any of their three individual Presidencies.  Many millions more.  Since 1989 and the end of the Cold War, the US has seen 42 million new jobs created.  Remarkably 40 million of those 42 million were created under Democratic Presidents, 95%….since this new age of globalization began in 1989, a modern and forward looking Democratic Party has repeatedly seen strong economic growth on its watch.  Republican Presidents, on the other hand, have overseen three consecutive recessions – the last two, severe. The contrast in performance here is very stark, it is not a stretch to state that the GOP’s economic track record over the past 30 years has been among the worst in the history of the United States.”

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