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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Stef W. Knight and Andrew Solender report that “Democrats snag redistricting” at Axios, and note that “Proposed maps released for New York last Sunday would knock out half of the state’s House Republicans, while giving Democrats as many as three more seats.’ In addition, “The newly enacted Illinois maps create two more blue seats, eliminating two Republican-leaning districts. Both states will lose one seat this decade because of their relatively slow population growth” and “Democrats also managed to draw favorable lines in New Mexico and Oregon, giving themselves a chance to pick up two additional seats from those states.” Further, “Democratic governors are also flexing their veto muscles in key states, with the potential to ward off Republican gerrymandering efforts in states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Kansas.” Also, “North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper used his own veto powers to block efforts by Republican state lawmakers to delay primary elections while the state Supreme Court considers the new GOP-enacted maps,”…. In Louisiana, the official redistricting process is just getting started, but Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards could block any Republican plan that fails to add a second Black majority district. Knight and Solender also report that Democrats won favorable court rulings in four states AL, NC, OH and PA. The arrticle quotes, Kelly Ward Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, who said “We’ve been, for years, running this comprehensive plan and really pushing to think about redistricting in this holistic way. And what you are seeing are the receipts of that strategy.”

At FiveThirtyEight, Alex Samuels and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux chew on some possible strategies for Democrats to address Republican framing of ‘culture war’ issues, and write: “So what can Democrats do in response?”….They could unravel some of the misinformation out there, reframing conversations in ways that are both truthful and potentially beneficial to them electorally. With abortion, that could mean talking about it as an issue that’s fundamentally about women’s power and autonomy. And on critical race theory,….that might look like them providing evidence on what these bans in schools really mean for public school curricula. For example, over the next several years, executive orders like the one Youngkin issued are likely to lead to teachers getting reprimanded for doing their jobs. (Youngkin, for his part, already implemented a tip line for parents to report “inherently divisive practices,” like teaching critical race theory, in schools.) So if Democrats can condemn those offenses while also reframing public discourse on those issues, public opinion — and the terms of how these debates are framed — may later be on their side….Alternatively, Democrats could coalesce around a completely different message that energizes their own base “rather than getting stuck talking about critical race theory — which is something that animates the right, and just isn’t really an issue on the left,” Arora said. Because of increasing partisan polarization, he said, it’s unlikely Republican voters’ opinion on this issue will change unless elites in their own circles say otherwise, so it may be prudent for Democrats to focus on where they can unify their own base instead….Regardless of the choice Democrats make, though, experts said that telling voters their fears and concerns about these issues aren’t real is the worst of both worlds. After all, insisting that the focus on critical race theory is just fake news will only alienate the people who believe it’s not — and it won’t do much to convince Democratic voters that they should care about the underlying issues either.” Whatever else Democratic candidates say, they should keep repeating that  Republicans use the politics of distraction to try and hide their failure to initiate any laws that actually help working families.

Adam Woillner’s “Biden is (finally) stringing together some political wins. Can it last?” at CNN Politics provides an impressive checklist Democrats can share with potential swing voters, including:

“(1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the US economy had added 467,000 jobs in January, well above what had been forecast.

2) Covid-19 cases nationally are down 38% from last week, according to Johns Hopkins University, while hospitalizations are down 16%. (Deaths were 7% higher, but there are signs that number is plateauing.)
3) A successful US counterterrorism raid in Syria that was months in the making resulted in the death of a top ISIS leader.
4) And on top of all that, Biden kick-started the process of filling the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court.
Plus, the week was marked by infighting for the President’s opposition, with the Republican National Committee voting to censure two of the party’s most outspoken critics of former President Donald Trump: Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. The RNC also received swift blowback for referring to the events of January 6, 2021, as “legitimate political discourse.” OK, it’s just a week. But it’s a damn good week, and if Democrats don’t toot their own horn, who will?
On top of all that, check out “Democrats in Congress Are Poised to Hand Biden a Big Economic Win: The House passed the China competitiveness bill, which includes funding to shore up faltering supply chains” by Grace Segers at The New Republic. As Segers writes, “The passage of the competitiveness bill is well timed for the Biden administration. The House vote comes less than a month ahead of Biden’s State of the Union address and with the midterm elections looming, it hands the administration and congressional Democrats a significant policy victory. But the 2,900-page bill passed along party lines in the House will not be the final version. The Senate approved its own version of the bill last year, and both chambers are now expected to begin a formal conference process to forge a compromise measure that can be sent to the president’s desk, an increasingly rare occurrence in a Congress where most differences are hammered out among committee leaders before legislation even comes to a vote….The president has promoted the competitiveness bill as an opportunity for bipartisan action to counter China and strengthen the economy. “Let’s get another historic piece of bipartisan legislation done,” Biden said in a speech celebrating a new Intel semiconductor plant in Ohio last week. “Let’s do it for the sake of our economic competitiveness and our national security.” Democrats don’t really have an effective ‘message du jour’ echo chamber like the Republicans. But the six accomplishments noted above provide a good reason to rig one up.

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