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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes, “The Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was not just an ugly outbreak of mayhem unleashed by an unhinged mob. It was certainly not a protest that got out of hand. It was a coordinated effort to overthrow our democratic system led by a president determined not to let the voters deprive him of power….And it was a warning that political violence, spawned by white supremacists and right-wing extremists, threatens to become a regular part of our nation’s political life….Tuesday’s chilling testimony before the House select committee investigating the insurrection should be a moment of truth. Most Republican politicians have, up to now, embraced a strategy of avoidance. They turn the other way and change the subject. But what they heard Tuesday should make the choice before them clear: If they care about the rule of law, they must break decisively with President Donald Trump and the dangerous forces ready to use coercion to upend majority rule….If more Republicans had done so before Jan. 6, the bloody destruction might well have been avoided. It could also have been prevented if the Trump aides who now portray themselves as the reasonable people in his administration had spoken publicly at the time about the absurdity of Trump’s claims and warned the nation about the dangers he posed….Only the willfully blind will deny that the Jan. 6 Select Committee has now connected the dots. Trump’s falsehoods about fraud, his groundless lawsuits, his assembling of slates of fake electors, and, finally, his last-ditch resort to force were all components of one effort to let him stay in the White House despite the voters’ democratically issued eviction notice….By relying on extremist thugs to lead the way into the Capitol, Trump has brought our nation back to some of its very worst moments. It is hard not to ponder the violence used to overthrow Reconstruction after the Civil War — a toxic part of our history….Ridding our politics of this poison ought to be a bipartisan cause. Unfortunately, it isn’t.”

At nbcnews.com, Henry J. Gomez reports that “Democrat Tim Ryan chases after Fox News viewers in Ohio Senate race: A new 30-second spot titled “Fox News Friends” highlights personalities from the cable network — including Tucker Carlson — heralding Ryan’s moderate credentials.” As Gomez writers, “Rep. Tim Ryan — a Democrat angling to flip what many believed would be a safe Republican Senate seat in increasingly red Ohio — is unsubtly ratcheting up his efforts to woo GOP voters….Ryan’s latest TV ad, shared first with NBC News, will begin airing this week exclusively on Fox News, although its reach could eventually expand beyond the cable network known for its conservative audience and prime-time programming….Titled “Fox News Friends,” the 30-second spot is stuffed with clips of Fox personalities heralding Ryan’s “moderate ideas,” including during his brief run for president in 2020. Even Tucker Carlson — a commentator reviled on the left who has frequently hosted Ryan’s Republican general election rival, J.D. Vance — makes an appearance via a 2019 segment in which he encouraged his viewers to take note of how Ryan positioned himself to the right of other Democrats on border security. Carlson’s on-screen headline: “Not Everyone in the Dem 2020 Field Is a Lunatic.”….”Even the most conservative voices on TV agree: Tim Ryan is a voice for commonsense policies who stays focused on the issues that matter most to Ohioans,” Ryan spokesperson Izzi Levy said in a statement announcing the commercial, which is part of the campaign’s ongoing, eight-figure advertising blitz….A robust campaign account has kept Ryan on TV for months and allowed him to vastly outspend Vance since the primary. Last week, Ryan announced he had raised $9.1 million in the year’s second quarter, more than double what he raised in the first. Vance has yet to report his latest fundraising numbers.”

The new “Cook Partisan Voting Index (Cook PVI) State List” is out, with a change in the calculation method: “A Cook PVI score of D+2, for example, means that in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the state or district performed about two points more Democratic in terms of two-party vote share than the nation did as a whole, while a score of R+4 means the state or district performed about four points more Republican. If a state or district performed within half a point of the nation in either direction, we assign it a score of EVEN….Please note that the formula has been tweaked since we last released the state PVI scores in 2021. Instead of using a 50/50 mix of the two most recent presidential elections to assess partisanship as we’ve done in the past, we’re switching to a 75/25 weighting in favor of the more recent presidential election. For the 2022 dataset, that means that the 2020 result in each state or district is weighted three times as heavily as the 2016 result.” Here are the ratings for 10 states with close U.S. Senate races in 2022: AZ – R+2; FL – R+3; GA – R+3; IA – R+6; NC- R+3; NH – D+1; NV – R+1; OH – R+6; PA – R+2; and WI – RA+2. The Cook Report also released the data for House districts.

In his article “The Glaring Contradiction of Republicans’ Rhetoric of Freedom: Democratic governors are showing the national party how to challenge the red states’ rollback of rights” at The Atlantic, Ronald Brownstein touches on a possible messaging strategy for Democrats: “….the systematic drive by GOP state officials and the Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices to roll back seemingly long-settled civil rights and liberties, including the right to abortion, has provided Democrats with a unique opening to reverse the terms of this debate, particularly in races for state offices, where the rights battles are now centered. An array of Democratic governors and gubernatorial candidates are presenting Republicans as a threat to Americans’ freedoms….“It has frustrated me that Republicans love to cloak themselves in this blanket of freedom and feel as though they own it somehow, when in fact what they are selling to the people of Pennsylvania, or the American people, really isn’t freedom at all,” Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general and Democratic nominee for governor, told me in an interview. “It’s far bigger government and more control over people’s everyday lives.”….One of the most dramatic expressions of this new thrust came last weekend when California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, who’s rapidly increased his visibility in national culture wars, ran a television ad on Fox News in Florida jabbing at DeSantis as a threat to liberty. In the ad, Newsom stands without a jacket or tie in the California sun as “America the Beautiful” plays in the background and declares, “It’s Independence Day, so let’s talk about what’s going on in America. Freedom: It’s under attack in your state.”….Supposedly representing the party of smaller government, Republicans across red states have in recent months approved a wave of intrusive actions as they work to unravel the “rights revolution” of the past 60 years. These measures include authorizing vigilante lawsuits by private citizens against anyone involved in providing an abortion and state investigations of parents who approved medical transition treatment for their transgender children (both in Texas), as well as restrictions on how both teachers and private companies alike can talk about race and gender and how K–12 teachers can discuss sexual orientation (the “Don’t Say Gay” law, in Florida). DeSantis has penalized in various ways the Walt Disney Company, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team, and the Special Olympics for objecting to his policies….In Ohio, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill allowing “genital inspections” of high-school athletes suspected of being transgender (though the Republican State Senate leader says this measure won’t make it into the final legislation).”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    More New Yorkers than Floridians move to California and more Californians move to Texas than to Florida. Then, why is Newsom advertising California’s liberal politics in Florida? Because he is running for President and he needs the votes of as many Florida Democrats as possible to win the nomination. If he gets nominated, it is entirely possible that he will be running against De Santis.


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