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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

There is a pretty good counter-argument to the belief that the January 6th investigation will not help Democrats in the midterms. In his article, “Truth about Trump “starting to sink in” for Republicans, says Morning Joe” at Salon’s Raw Story, Travis Gettys flags some comments by former Republican congressman and now MSNBC commentator Joe Scarborough regarding the political fallout of the January 6th investigation. As Gettys writes, “Scarborough was shocked by the results of a new [ABC/Ipsos] poll showing a majority of Americans — including one in five Republicans — think Donald Trump should be prosecuted….The survey conducted after the first week of public hearings by the House select committee found 58 percent of Americans believe the former president should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the “Morning Joe” host found the results astonishing….”You look at the number — only 19 percent of Republicans, let’s stop for a second and think about this,” Scarborough said. “In this world of small margins that we play by every election, whether it was 2016 or 2020, let’s just stop for a second and go, oh, wow. Only 19 percent of Republicans think he should be charged with a crime and go to jail. That’s one in five Republicans.”….”Now, I must say, I ran four times and won easily four times,” he added. “But if one in five of my base thought I should have been charged with a crime and gone to jail, I mean, I would have gone and practiced law a lot earlier. Again, this is starting to resonate, this is starting to sink in. I just — we love to knock around Washington institutions. I’m not saying you, but all of us, we love to talk about how ineffective people in Congress or committees are. This committee has gotten the truth out to the American people, and even at the beginning of the summer, they’re listening….”

Dylan Scott reports that “A new study claims Medicare-for-all could have saved more than 200,000 lives during the pandemic” at Vox, and notes: “….a new study from a group of scholars at Yale and UMass-Amherst says the US had more deaths per capita than most economic peers due to something more specific: the lack of universal health care….According to that paper, published this month in PNAS, at least 212,000 fewer Americans would have died of Covid-19 in 2020 alone if the US had a single-payer health care system similar to the Medicare-for-all plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). The country would have also saved $105 billion in pandemic-related health care costs….The researchers ticked through different factors that would have reduced the number of Covid-19 fatalities under a system in which the government insures everyone and pays almost all of their health care costs:

  • Nobody would have lost health insurance as a result of job loss from the pandemic’s shock to the economy. (The study estimates about 14.5 million Americans lost employer-based coverage in March and April of 2020, though some of those people would end up being covered by Medicaid.) Research has repeatedly shown being uninsured leads to patients delaying health care and worse health outcomes. More insured people would have meant more cases being diagnosed and getting treated sooner, reducing the likelihood of severe disease or death.
  • Vaccination rates would likely have been higher — and therefore there would have been fewer severe cases and deaths — if more Americans had a relationship with a primary care doctor, which one in four people in the US don’t.
  • And by reducing the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations through more vaccinations and earlier diagnoses, US hospitals would have come under less strain. That would have made it easier for them to manage all of their patients, rather than the situation last summer — after vaccines were widely available — when people showed up at hospitals with no room or staff to treat them. Some of those people died.

….And if you take a look at countries that have universal health care systems — the UK, Taiwan, Australia, and the Netherlands, countries we covered in our Everybody Covered series on universal health care, plus France and Germany — they have experienced fewer deaths per capita than the US has.”….Countries with universal health care did outperform the US during the pandemic — that part of the paper’s conclusion appears beyond dispute. But they have deployed different programs to achieve that goal. It’s not clear to me that Medicare-for-all would necessarily lead to better outcomes than, say, a system modeled on the Australian or Dutch approach.” It won’t be much of an issue for the midterm elections, but leaning toward some form of M4A may get some traction for Dems in 2024.

Democratic strategists would be wise to enhance their dossiers on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. As Chris Ciliizza reports at CNN Politics: “A new poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire has some startling news for Donald Trump: He’s no longer the big dog on the block (at least in the Granite State)….Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes 39% in a poll of the Republican presidential primary in New Hampshire, while Trump is at 37%. No other potential GOP contender manages double-digit support, with former Vice President Mike Pence in third place at 9%….That’s a MAJOR change from where the race was last fall. A UNH poll in October 2021 showed Trump with 43% to DeSantis’ 18%….Another interesting nugget from the poll: Just 6 in 10 self-identified Republicans (62%) want the former President to run again in 2024. Which is, well, sort of low?…Now, this is just one poll in a state expected to be one of the first to vote in the 2024 primary season. If you look at all the polling done in the broader Republican White House race, Trump still leads in the preponderance of it. And he would start a third bid for president as the favorite for the GOP nomination….(Check out my rankings of the 10 Republicans most likely to win the 2024 nomination.)…And DeSantis just got the New Yorker profile treatment. (The headline: “Can Ron DeSantis Displace Donald Trump as the G.O.P.’s Combatant-in-Chief?“) That story includes this telling line: “Articulate and fast on his feet, he has been described as Trump with a brain.” Expect a hard-fought, maybe a vicious Republican presidential primary season in 2024, but don’t assume that they won’t unify at the end of it.

In “Yes, Democratic Messaging Sucks. But It’s Harder to Fix Than You Think.It’s a lot easier to be the party that wants to break government than it is to be the one that wants to use it,” Editor Michael Tomasky observes at The New Republic: “Democrats simply give the impression of being afraid of a fight. They want to be the party of comity. Even Biden is still trying to give Republicans a path to redemption in this regard….Democrats and their consultants need to think outside the box in which they’re trapped. Show elected Democrats doing things and going places you wouldn’t normally expect to see a Democrat, things that reinforce that they’re on the side of working people of all kinds, even those who don’t vote for them. And name names. Take on enemies. Every time you name an enemy you also name the people you’re trying to defend. People have a much better sense of what you stand for when you tell them what, and who, you’re against. They’ll trust you more if they think you’re on their team….I submit that this kind of approach will help address the structural problems I laid out above. Democrats across the ideological spectrum—from the conservatives to the very liberal—will respond favorably to a politics that emphasizes the idea, “We’re against the powerful interests that are scheming against you.” If people see liberal politicians taking creative and brave stands, we might even bump that liberal number up above 25 percent, since liberalism will stand for something positive again to your average person. This kind of politics can also slice through the media chatter: Republicans understand that the media loves conflict, so they serve up some new ones every week. The public always knows who the GOP is mad at, and they don’t pay a price for being the “angry” party….We don’t know if Biden will run in 2024. He often looks tired. But I’ll say this for him. He is more unambiguously on the side of working people than any Democratic president in a very long time. He’s an old-school, Truman-type Democrat. He and his team need to do more to show it.”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    Democrats’ strategy in Florida relies too much on Black voters and candidates while the growing Hispanic population should be centered.


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