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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In their article, “If Congress Can’t Boost Workers’ Rights, the Administration Will Go It Alone: A new report lays out ways that federal agencies can increase worker power” at The American Prospect, worker rights advocates Deborah Greenfield and Lance Compa write, “The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, passed by the House and pending in the Senate, would dramatically improve protections for workers who try to form unions. The task force report notes that support for unions runs high, both in the general public (68 percent) and especially among Black women (82 percent), Black men (80 percent) and Hispanics (75 percent). But now and for the foreseeable future, 41 U.S. senators who might represent less than 20 percent of the American population can block passage of the PRO Act—unless, as appears highly unlikely, there are 51 senators willing to scrap the filibuster….Facing this reality, the only way for the Biden administration to amplify workers’ bargaining power is through executive orders, with the hope that they can later be codified in filibuster-proof legislation. This is how President Kennedy’s 1962 executive order granting collective-bargaining rights to federal employees became law under President Carter in 1978….The White House ordered the 20 executive branch agencies in the task force to dig into their governing legislation, rules, regulations, and practices to identify changes that would help workers organize and bargain. Their prospecting developed recommendations for actions spanning the many roles that federal agencies play—as employers, as contractors that hire private-sector providers, as grant-givers, and as models of healthy labor-management relations.” The article also details findings from the Administration’s Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment report.

Some good message points from “Biden soars abroad while he rebuilds at home” by WaPo’s E. J. Dionne, Jr.: “Like President George H.W. Bush, who quietly but persistently rallied allies to support reversing Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait in 1991,” Republican pollster Whit Ayres told me. “President Biden’s quiet diplomacy has been effective in rallying the West against Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But Biden will probably not get the credit Bush did because American troops are not directly involved in Ukraine.” In his SOTU address, Biden “reminded Americans of the record economic growth  he presided over in his first year and then outlined how his approach to battle inflation differed from conservative economic doctrine….“One way to fight inflation is to drive down wages and make Americans poorer,” he declared. “I have a better idea to fight inflation. Lower your costs, not your wages. … Make more cars and semiconductors in America. More infrastructure and innovation in America. More goods moving faster and cheaper in America. More jobs where you can earn a good living in America.”….he ended his speech by outlining an entirely different, bipartisan “Unity Agenda” that might serve as an alternative focus of action in an election year if his earlier proposals stall again. His new emphasis was on the opioid crisis, mental health, care for veterans and curing cancer. One can imagine moderate Democrats in swing districts embracing his unity theme with relief.”

How will the January 6th ‘insurrection’ investigation affect the midterm elections? Even if it shows the most damning evidence that Trump and his associates were guilty of a ‘criminal conspiracy’ and that Republican leaders did their best to distract voters from it, will that affect enough swing voters to make a difference in the outcome of the elections? An NBC News Poll conducted by Hart Research Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R). Aug. 14-17, 2021 asked 1000 adults “”Would you say, yes or no, that the protests that led to rioters overtaking the U.S. Capitol was an act of terrorism?” 52 percent said “yes,” 47 percent said “no.” A Quinnipiac University poll conducted July 27-August 2 asked “Which comes closer to your point of view: the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th was an attack on democracy that should never be forgotten, or too much is being made of the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th and it is time to move on?” 57 percent said it “should never be forgotten,” while 38 percent said it was “time to move on.” In light of such findings, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Democrats don’t have much to gain by making Republican complicity in Trump’s attempt to void the 2020 election a major midterm campaign issue, although a couple of reminders in campaigns where specific Republican candidates went too far in supporting the “insurrection” might help.

At The Washington Monthly, Chris Matthews makes the case “Memo to Democrats: Tie Putin to Trump: The carnage in Ukraine must be laid at the former president’s doorstep.” As Matthews writes, “Pretty smart,” Trump said of Vladimir Putin’s stark aggression. “He’s taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions, taking over a country—really a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people—and just walking right in.” Yes, that’s what the Manhattan developer said about the most significant war in Europe since 1945….The Democrats, if they still know how to play political hardball, should make Trump wish he’d never said such words, as he did again at the recent CPAC conference, calling Putin “smart.” His toady Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered similar words of praise for Putin. Fawning international felons is really a thing with these guys….In black-and-white partisan terms, it’s time for the Democrats to nail Trump for his grotesque cozying up to Putin. Now that Moscow’s murderous intent is apparent, now that the problem with Ukraine is no longer an impossible-to-follow flowchart of Paul Manafort’s crimes and Alexander Vindman’s whistle-blowing, the Democrats can say, “Look at what Trump and Putin wrought.” It’s time to tie Trump to Putin’s attack on women and children instead of ignoring the connection….It’s a different world now, a united world. Democrats and Republicans, all Americans, now see Putin for who he is, and the Democrats must remind the country who was the strongman’s ally and dupe. They should plaster Trump-Putin posters on every telephone pole, cascade them on every social media site. They should rub that picture of the two wanna-be strongmen—showing off Trump’s hairdo and Vlad’s bare chest—for every American voter to see and never forget.” Matthews is focused mostly on 2024. But the argument also has merit for this year’s mideterm elections, since so many Republican incumbents and candidates have bet their electability on their association with Trump — a bet that doesn’t look quite as smart today as it did last week.

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    Thank you, J.P. Green, for the link to Chris Matthews’s article in Washington Monthly. Voters need to be reminded that Trump encouraged Putin to invade Ukraine.


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