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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dems Embrace ‘Show and Tell’ Strategy on Voting Rights Reform

At msnbc.com, Ja’Han Jones explains “Why Democrats are reverting to a ‘show and tell’ strategy on voting rights“:

Democrats aren’t banking on the long shot that any senators — Democratic or Republican — will change their minds and suddenly support voting rights bills or back rule changes to pass voting rights legislation. Instead, they’re using this week’s debate to try to show voters the depths of conservative obstructionism and the GOP’s opposition to democracy. Then, they’re hoping to use that exposure to hammer voting rights legislation opponents and mount a public pressure campaign that either sways Sinema and Manchin, if and when the bill is reintroduced in the future, or inspires enough voter outrage to prevent Republicans from reclaiming the Senate in the fall.

That strategy is unlikely to move progressive activists, many of whom are demanding substantive voter protections by any means necessary.

Regardless, you can hear Democrats beginning to embrace the show-and-tell strategy as they talk about the importance of getting senators’ voting rights stances on the record.

….During “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., said this week’s votes are needed because “we need to know who is with us and who is not, so we will know how to conduct ourselves going forward.”….”We operate now in the blind. Let’s have these votes. Let people have this debate. And let’s see where we stand, so we will know how to conduct ourselves,” the majority whip added.”

However, Lisa Hagen notes at US News: “That failed motion will trigger a debate and vote on a rules change. Senate Democrats met Tuesday evening to discuss the path forward and see if they can agree to a rules reform by using the “nuclear option.” Rules changes need 67 votes – which the party doesn’t have – and going nuclear will allow them to do so with a simple majority. As of now, Democrats don’t have all 50 of their senators behind any option.”

Mitch McConnell will tap a range of parliamentary gizmos to try and foil every Democratic tactic to advance voting rights reform. But it is McConnell’s ‘unified front’ against voting rights that has forced Democrats to embrace re-establishing the talking filibuster. There’s no denying that a defeat on voting rights would be a major blow to Democrats. But, if their ‘show and tell’ strategy convincingly portrays the Republicans as the real obstructionists of bipartisan democracy in the months ahead, it could help Dems in November.

Beyond short-range tactics for the midterm elections, Dems should be working harder than ever on longer-range strategies, including: improve candidate recruitment; mobilize a larger African American turnout; accelerate outreach to working-class voters of all races and more aggressively discredit the GOP ‘brand.’ But Dems should also develop more creative ideas to strengthen Democratic state and local parties, particularly in swing states and swing districts; toughen up party discipline; energize lobbying of elected officials; and identify and connect with moderate and persuadable voters. Formidable challenges, yes. But improvement in any of these areas would be welcome.

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