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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Brent Budowsky writes at The Hill: “Fateful and indescribably important moments in the history of our democracy will occur from former President  Trump’s attempts to steal the 2020 election, the 2022 midterm elections, and — presumably — the 2024 presidential election. These also will shape the next decade of American democracy and American life….These matters will have a profound  impact on  our politics and  elections — more than experts think, because they  powerfully  and  personally  affect  either  every  one  of  us, either directly  or  the  people  we  love  deeply.  Upon  such  things  voters  will  vote,  our nation  will  rise,  and  change  will  come….I  doubt  that  our  troubled  nation  will  stand  with  five  Supreme  Court  justices,  on  a  court  with  only  25  percent  approval  according  to  Gallup,  packed  by  Senate  Minority  Leader  Mitch  McConnell  (R-Ky.),  whose  average  approval  rating  is  only  25.5  percent,  according  to  RealClearPolitics….Even  today  McConnell  threatens,  shamefully,  that  if  Republicans  win  power  in  the  Senate,  he  may  refuse  to  give  President  Biden’s  nominees  a  vote.  Biden  should  challenge  McConnell  aggressively  about  this.  If  he  does,  he  will  prevail….I  doubt  our  troubled  nation  will  stand  with  five  Supreme  Court  justices  who,  according  to  their  opinions,  might  next  outlaw  same-sex  marriage  and  contraceptives,  in  their  rigid  view  of  how  all  Americans  must  exercise  the  lifestyle  rooted  in  their  faith. These five Supreme Court justices  promised  the  opposite  of what  they  are  doing  now,  when  they  were  confirmed  under  oath….The legal  extremism  of  the  Supreme  Court  in  Roe, which follows an attack against gun control, after another mass murder that destroyed the lives of American children, has set  loose  a  hyper-motivated  movement  for  change  that  is  happening  in  towns,  cities  and  communities  across  the  nation. …Women  and  the  men  who  love  them  are  organizing,  registering,  voting,  speaking  at  town  meetings,  supporting  state  initiatives  and  pressuring  Congress  to  act.”

In “Americans’ Views On Abortion Are Pretty Stagnant. Their Views On The Supreme Court Are Not” at FiveThirtyEight, Zoha Qamar takes a deep dive into public opinion about the Supreme Court’s abortion decision and writes, “According to a poll conducted by YouGov/The Economist from June 18-21, 50 percent of Americans did not want the court to overturn Roe. And when YouGov ran a survey after the release of the Dobbs decision on June 24, it found that the same percentage of Americans disapproved of the court overruling Roe. (Support for overruling Roe didn’t waver much, either: Thirty-two percent were in favor of overturning Roe in the earlier survey, compared with 37 percent in the later survey.)….But it’s not just that Americans largely disapprove of the Dobbs decision. A third YouGov poll, this one fielded June 24-25, gave respondents 11 different choices to describe their reaction to the decision, and Americans reported feeling disgusted (34 percent) at a higher rate than any other emotion. This was closely followed by feeling sad (33 percent), angry (32 percent) and outraged (31 percent). A far smaller share of Americans reported positive emotions about the decision, such as feeling satisfied (19 percent), grateful (18 percent), happy (17 percent) and thrilled (12 percent). Notably, only 20 percent of Americans said they felt surprised by the decision, perhaps due to the notorious leaked draft opinion from early May as well as the court’s recent track record, which has been very conservative….the breakdown of Americans who believe abortion should be always legal, mostly legal, mostly illegal and always illegal has been relatively stable since then….While public opinion on abortion has remained fairly steady, public opinion on the Supreme Court has not. According to Gallup data, Americans’ confidence in the court has been trending mostly downward since peaking in 1988, but it nosedived in the past year. Last June, Americans’ confidence in the court sat at 36 percent; however, in June 2022 — ahead of the Dobbs decision but after its draft opinion was leaked — it plummeted to 25 percent. This is the lowest confidence level since Gallup began the surveys almost 50 years ago, and it was driven primarily by a dramatic drop in confidence among Democrats and independents.”

Cognitive dissonance researchers may want to explore the disconnect between Biden’s low approval rates and public attitudes toward Republican policies. In “Other Polling Bites,” FiveThirtyEight notes, “As the Jan. 6 hearings continue, 51 percent of likely voters agreed that Trump-supporting Republicans’ challenges to the results of the 2020 election, including during the Capitol insurrection, were “[a]n attempt to claim and hold power and overturn the will of the people,” according to a poll from Data for Progress conducted June 15-21. Among Democrats, a whopping 87 percent agreed with that view. Only 19 percent of Republicans thought so, however. By contrast, 66 percent of Republicans agreed with the idea that Trump-supporting Republicans’ challenges were “[b]ased on legitimate evidence of fraud, illegal voting, and false results.”….Most Americans also disagreed with its ruling that New York’s gun-control law was unconstitutional, according to a recent survey from Monmouth University. Fifty-six percent said that states should be allowed to limit the ability of people to carry concealed handguns through permits and other protocols.”

Centrist contrarian Doug Schoen opines in the Orange County Register that “First and foremost, it is highly unlikely that abortion replaces inflation or the economy as the top midterm issue. While abortion access is becoming a more salient issue as of late, Americans are still nearly three times more likely to cite economic issues (41%) – like inflation – as their top national voting concern this year over women’s issues (16%) – including abortion access – per a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll….Moreover, nearly two-thirds of voters blame President Biden’s policies for inflation (64%) – including a majority of Independent Voters, as well as of Democrats – according to recent IBD/TIPP polling….The second major reason that the decision to overturn Roe will have a muted impact on midterms is that Democrats’ own messaging on abortion has often times been varying. The party has struggled to come together around a cohesive stance – beyond their standard ‘choice’ articulation – about when and under what circumstances abortion should be legal…This failure, along with the electorate’s general lack of knowledge on the subject, has made it possible for G.O.P.-led states around the country to pass very restrictive abortion laws – i.e., banning abortions after six weeks, which is effectively a complete ban – without much national political blowback….Though the public broadly supports abortion legality, Americans want some limits. Even among abortion rights supporters – 61% of the public – a majority (68%) say that, in some cases, abortion should be illegal, per data collected by Pew Research Center….Thus, some of the messaging on the left from the progressive wing – about legalizing abortion access in all cases – is at times out of touch with the American public, and could be harmful to Democrats’ political prospects in swing-states….To that end, there is also a real chance that Roe ends up backfiring on Democrats politically, as President Biden is now calling on Congress to end the filibuster to codify Roe into law….This is one of the worst political and practical moves that Democrats could make. Talk of killing the filibuster shifts the national conversation away from Republicans being anti-choice and anti-women’s health to Democrats being anti-bipartisanship….Moreover, doing so would contradict the administration’s claim that they are willing to work across the aisle, damage their credibility, and negate Democrats’ ability to sell their bipartisan successes on infrastructure and gun control.” After the midterm elections, however, the argument for ditching the filibuster might make more sense — in the unlikely event that Democrats get a net gain of 2 or more Senate seats.

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    A good development is that moderates and non-left liberals are finally realizing that their institutionalist support for the Supreme Court is a dead end. The institution needs some sort of reform, at the very least.


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