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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

At The Washington Post, columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. provides some useful Democratic messaging points, and writes, “By offering Jackson at least a respectful hearing, Republican senators could have taken a step toward easing the legitimacy crisis the Supreme Court confronts because of the GOP’s relentless packing of the nation’s highest judicial body. Rejecting extreme partisanship might have lowered the political temperature around the court, to the benefit of its 6-to-3 conservative majority….To turn the nomination of the first Black woman to the court into an occasion for raising racial themes Republicans plan to use in the 2022 and 2024 election campaigns was to kick away the chance the party had to show that it means what it says in declaring its faithfulness to “colorblindness.”….What conservatives don’t want to acknowledge is how much damage they have already done by taking control of the court through the raw exercise of political power. Beginning with the blockade of Merrick Garland’s nomination in 2016 and culminating in the rushed confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett just days before the 2020 election, Republicans have sent the message that not the law, not deliberation, but partisan manipulation is at the heart of the court’s decision-making….The court’s conservative justices have reinforced this view with rulings on voting rights, gerrymanders and campaign finance that are tilted to the benefit of Republicans, moneyed interests and voter suppression.”

Adam Woolner flags “The issue that could be the sleeping giant of the 2022 elections” at CNN Politics: “The political world’s attention in recent days has largely been centered on the Russia-Ukraine crisis and Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic Supreme Court nomination, the outcomes of which will have major implications for the future of Joe Biden’s presidency. But there’s another issue simmering below the surface at the moment that could also go a long way in shaping the political environment heading into this year’s midterm elections: abortion….After the US Supreme Court allowed a restrictive abortion law in Texas to remain in place, saying that abortion providers could still challenge the law in federal court, and took up a case on another in Mississippi — which is a direct challenge to the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade ruling — Republican-controlled states have felt emboldened to pursue their own limitations on the procedure.’ Woolner notes that four states recently acted on this “hot button issue,” and adds, “In each of these cases, partisans took action to appease their bases. But the politics of abortion — which hasn’t been a major issue in recent elections — would become much more nationalized and complicated if the US Supreme Court scales back or overturns Roe v. Wade later this year….If Roe v. Wade is overturned and abortion laws are left to the states, the issue would quickly shoot up on voters’ priority list. In an otherwise treacherous political environment, Democrats see an opening on the issue: A recent CNN poll found that 69% of Americans said they do not want to see the Supreme Court completely overturn Roe v. Wade.”

Aida Chavez reports that “Progressives Want to Put Medicare for All Back on the Table” at The Nation, and observes that “after dominating the 2020 presidential primary, the idea of establishing a national, single-payer health insurance program has all but disappeared from mainstream political discourse….Congressional progressives are trying to revitalize the conversation. The House Oversight Committee is holding a hearing next week on Medicare for All, the first to examine paths to universal health care since 2019—and House Democrats’ third-ever on the issue. The hearing is being led by Chair Carolyn Maloney and Representative Cori Bush, and will be stacked with members of the Squad, including Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Jamaal Bowman….“I have fought tirelessly for policies to expand access to health coverage since I was first elected to Congress, including as a proud supporter of Medicare for All since its introduction,” Maloney told The Nation. Maloney is facing a crowded primary field this election season, including from Justice Democrats-backed candidate Rana Abdelhamid, and she has long touted her support for Medicare for All as a campaign plank….“As chairwoman of the Oversight Committee,” Maloney added, “I am holding this hearing to examine how the gaps in our current system threaten the health of the most vulnerable among us and how Congress can ensure that every person in this country has access to high-quality health care—no matter who they are. I am thankful to Congresswoman Cori Bush for her partnership in convening this hearing and for her leadership on behalf of patients across the country……..On the Senate side, Bernie Sanders is planning to reintroduce Medicare for All legislation in the coming days.” Opinion polling on health care reform issues is all over the place, depending on how questions are phrased.

In “Are Latinos Deserting the Democratic Party? Evidence from the Exit Polls” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball,  Alan I. Abramowitz adds some clarity to understanding recent trends: “Recent election results have led some political strategists and pundits to suggest that the partisan allegiances of Latino voters in the U.S. may be shifting in the direction of the Republican Party. Exit poll results from the 2020 presidential election showed Donald Trump modestly increasing his share of the Latino vote even as his share of the national popular vote declined between 2016 and 2020. At the same time, results from some heavily Latino areas in South Florida and along the Texas-Mexico border showed a dramatic swing toward the GOP. More recently, one exit poll showed the Republican candidate winning a majority of the Latino vote in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election, although a second exit poll showed the Democratic candidate winning a clear majority of the Latino vote….Solid support among Latino voters has long been seen as crucial to Democratic chances of winning elections in states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona and important in many other states in which the Latino share of the electorate is growing rapidly….Evidence from national and state exit polls shows that Latino support for Democratic presidential candidates has been quite variable in recent elections. Democratic margins have generally been much larger in elections with Democratic incumbents than in elections with Republican incumbents like 2020. This pattern of support among Latino voters also helps to explain variability in Democratic margins in Miami-Dade County in recent elections. From this perspective, the falloff in Democratic support in the 2020 presidential election may reflect the greater responsiveness of Latino voters than other types of voters to the effect of presidential incumbency rather than any long-term shift in the underlying partisan loyalties of these voters. It is not clear why Latino voters seem to be more responsive to the effects of presidential incumbency, but if this pattern holds again in 2024 and Joe Biden is running for a second term, we could see a rebound in Democratic support among Latino voters, although Biden’s approval rating in recent months has been fairly weak with Latinos….Going forward, Democrats may or may not have longer-term problems with Latino voters; however, it’s worth noting that the overall pattern of Latino presidential voting is more variable over time than the most recent couple of elections might indicate.”

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