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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. shares some insights about the January 6th investigation: “Using less than two hours of prime-time television, the committee issued an urgent plea: Americans must understand the violence they saw on that winter day in 2021 as nothing less than what Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the committee chair, called “an attempted coup.”….Attempted coups have authors, and with a steely, matter-of-fact eloquence worthy of history’s most able prosecutors, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair, indicted Donald Trump in every sense but the formal one….After watching Cheney pile fact upon fact and make connection after connection, the actual prosecutors in the Justice Department (and local prosecutors in Georgia) will have little choice but to issue the actual legal indictments that the treasonous conspiracy of Jan. 6 requires….The nation must be clear on this: Failing to achieve accountability for the Jan. 6 insurrection, in the courts and at the ballot boxes, will amount to issuing a license for the enemies of democracy to do this all over again….One man set this attempted putsch in motion. “President Trump,” Cheney declared, “summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.”….It was devastating to see former attorney general William Barr on video calling Trump’s assertions “bulls—,” and to learn that the former president’s own data mavens told him they were false. Trump’s daughter Ivanka was on video saying she believed Barr, not her father….If holding Trump accountable is “partisan,” that makes standing up for one of the most conservative Republican vice presidents in history “partisan,” too. And if the story being told is “partisan,” why are so many of the credible witnesses Republicans?”

If you were wondering which Republican U.S. Senators are supporting the bipartisan gun safety reforms, read “Here are the 10 Senate Republicans who are backing the bipartisan gun bill” by Olafimihan Oshin at The Hill. The list includes GOP senators who are either retiring or not running in 2022: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas); Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.); Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.); Rob Portman (R-Ohio); Richard Burr (R-N.C.); Mitt Romney (R-Utah); Bill Cassidy (R-La.); Susan Collins (R-Maine); Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.); and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). In short, none of them have anything to lose in 2022, except maybe some of their future NRA money. But it’s equally possible, if not more likely, that the NRA will reward those who are running in future years for their blockade of more substantial reforms. Brendan O’Brien of Reuters has a good summary of the ‘framework’ in “Factbox: What’s in and what’s out of the Senate’s gun-safety plan.” If you want to measure the Senate package against the much stronger House gun safety reform package, check out Kristin Wilson’s “House passes sweeping gun reform package though it’s unlikely to move in the Senate” at CNN Politics.

Over 40 Percent Of Americans Now Rate Gun Violence As A Top Issue,” according to Geoffrey Skelley and Hoilly Fuong, writing at FiveThirtyEight. They note, “There have already been 248 mass shootings this year,1 according to the Gun Violence Archive. At this point in 2021, there had been 258 mass shootings; in 2020, 173. Mass shootings are defined by the Gun Violence Archive as incidents in which at least four people — not including the shooter — are injured or killed, and they have been on the rise in recent years.It is often a select few mass shootings, though, that capture national headlines and spark outrage. Public opinion often shifts in favor of stricter gun laws after high-profile mass shootings, like the one on May 14 that killed 10 people in a racist attackin Buffalo, New York, and the one on May 24 that killed 19 children and two teachersat an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. …It should be no surprise, then, that the latest FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll, which was conducted from May 26 to June 6 and went into the field two days after the shooting in Uvalde, found that concerns regarding gun violence had surged. Using Ipsos’s KnowledgePanel, we interviewed the same 2,000 or so Americans from our previous survey, and of the 1,691 adults who responded, 42 percent named “crime or gun violence” as one of the most important issues facing the country, up 19 percentage points from the first wave of the poll released in early May.2 This was by far the largest increase for any one issue we asked about, putting it behind only “inflation or increasing costs” as Americans’ top concern for the country….A solid majority of Democrats, 58 percent, named the issue as a top concern, up from 33 percent in early May, while 41 percent of independents said the same, up from 19 percent.3 Republicans also became more worried about crime and/or gun violence, but the uptick was much smaller, going from 19 percent in May to 29 percent now.”

Skelley and Fuong add, “Nothing changed quite as much as Americans’ concern around crime and/or gun violence in our poll, but there were a handful of other important changes regarding which issues Americans felt were most pressing for the country. Abortion, for instance, saw the second-largest change on net, likely thanks to increased media coverage of the issue in early May following a leaked draft Supreme Court opinionthat suggests the court might be ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion in 1973. Nine percent of respondents in our survey named it as a top issue, up from just 4 percent a month ago. That said, abortion isn’t the issue that Americans in our poll are most worried about….Rather, that distinction still belongs to inflation. Americans are most worried about inflation, with even more respondents (56 percent) naming it as a concern than in our last survey (52 percent). This was in large part driven by Republicans, as 75 percent cited inflation as a major concern, up from 65 percent a month ago. Independents were also somewhat more likely to name it as a concern, 56 percent now versus 50 percent in May. Roughly 40 percent of Democrats named inflation as a concern, but this barely changed from our previous survey….Finally, political extremism and polarization remained a top issue overall, ranking third behind inflation and crime/gun violence after ranking second in our last survey. We dug more into this issue, too, and Americans’ attitudes around political extremism and polarization in this survey, so we’ll examine those results more in-depth in an article early next week. But as we’ve outlined here, there’s no question that the big, topline finding in our second FiveThirtyEight/Ipsos poll is that more Americans are concerned about crime and/or gun violence — at least for now.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    Dionne asks, “And if the story being told is “partisan,” why are so many of the credible witnesses Republicans?” I am surprised Dionne does not already know. Trump is an even greater threat to the power of the Republicans attacking him than he is to the power of the Democrats attacking him.


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