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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “This one issue could save Democrats in November,” Zachary B. Wolf writes at CNN politics: “the larger lesson of 2022 so far is that a focus on protecting abortion rights from the US Supreme Court and Republican-controlled state governments could, maybe, stop a “red wave” in November….In upstate New York, an Iraq War veteran, Democrat Pat Ryan, passed his Republican opponent, Marc Molinaro, in a House special election Ryan framed almost entirely around abortion….Ryan did better in the district against Molinaro than President Joe Biden did versus former President Donald Trump in 2020….Ryan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday that his decision to focus on abortion came from watching the effect of the Supreme Court’s decision on the ground in his district….While the Kansas election put abortion directly on the ballot, it was simply a campaign focus in the special election in New York. Now, with a win in that hotly contested seat where both parties spent money, Democrats see a path in places that seemed to be slipping out of their reach earlier this year.” Woldf quotes CNN’s Harry Enten, who said “All told, Democrats are averaging a 4-point overperformance in House specials since Roe was overturned. This is a 10-point shift from where they were on average before the ruling.” Read the full story.”

Yes, Special Elections Really Are Signaling A Better-Than-Expected Midterm For Democrats,” Nathaniel Rakich writes at FiveThirtyEight, and observes, “We at FiveThirtyEight often track the results of special elections (i.e., elections that occur at unusual times because an office unexpectedly becomes vacant) because of the hints they provide to the national mood. When a party consistently does well in special elections — defined not by winning or losing, but by outperforming a state or district’s baseline partisanship — it’s often a sign that the national political environment favors that party, and is therefore a good omen for that party in the upcoming regular general election….There have been four first-past-the-post special House elections since that decision [Dobbs v. Jackson on abortion rights], and Democrats have outperformed their expected margins in those elections by an average of 9 points….special-election results are clearly indicating that the political winds are now at Democrats’ backs. And it’s not just special-election results. Democrats and their allies have also done well in other, non-special elections since Dobbs….On the day of the Dobbs decision, Republicans led polls of the generic congressional ballot, or polls that ask Americans which party they plan to support for Congress, by 2.3 points, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average. But since then, Democrats have gained 2.7 points, and on Wednesday,3 they hold a small lead in these polls….This is unusual, given that the polls usually get worse, not better, for the president’s party as a midterm election draws closer. That could be a sign that 2022 could be the rare midterm that bucks the usual trend of the president’s party getting a “shellacking.” And if so, Democrats may have the Supreme Court to thank.”

Kyle Kondik writes at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, “Democrats turned in another pair of congressional special election overperformances last night, giving them an at least somewhat surprising victory in the closely-watched NY-19 special and a decent showing in the much sleepier NY-23 special, which Republicans held by a smaller margin than the GOP presidential showing in the district in 2020….In NY-19, a classic swing district that Joe Biden won by about 1.5 points in 2020, Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan (D) beat Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro (R) by a small margin. Some sites were reporting 51%-49% on Wednesday morning, others 52%-48%, and there probably are some scattered votes left to count, such as late-arriving mail votes….This came despite Republican outside groups spending more in the race and polling that pointed to Molinaro….Ryan ran heavily on the abortion issue, an increasing focus for Democrats in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that eliminated constitutional protections for abortion rights, while Molinaro ran more on other issues, like inflation….there is an accumulating amount of evidence that Democrats are holding up better than expected in this midterm environment, likely in no small part because of the Dobbs decision. We now have these decent Democratic special election performances to consider, as well as House generic ballot polling that, collectively, no longer shows a Republican edge. This comes despite President Joe Biden’s poor approval rating — his numbers have been better lately, although he’s still in just the low 40s (as opposed to the high 30s).” Regarding the Ohio Senate race, Kopndik writes, “We’re moving the race from Likely Republican to Leans Republican. Our confidence in Vance winning remains, but we do not feel as strongly about it as we previously did.”

Reports of Democrats’ midterm death may be greatly exaggerated.” Gabby Goldstein and Mallory Roman write at Salon in their article, “Democrats have seized the momentum — now that needs to flow down-ballot. Our analysis shows a narrow path for Democrats to win back state-level power. It’s crucial — but it won’t be easy.”  Goldstein and Roman continue, “In fact, Democrats have momentum. Public reaction to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision has demonstrated the deep unpopularity of Republican abortion restrictions, including Kansas voters’ recent and resounding rejection of a change to the state constitution that would have made an abortion ban possible. And a summer of explosive Jan. 6 hearings has shown the depths to which MAGA Republicans aim to go in dismantling democracy. Meanwhile, the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act has been a tremendous victory. FiveThirtyEight now has Democrats ahead on the generic ballot….Democrats have a path to retain control in Washington. But the fight must be for much more than that. From abortion access to fair elections, state legislatures are increasingly the venues that control ever-broader swaths of our social, economic, and personal lives. Building progressive power in state legislatures is a key to securing the very future of our civil rights and democracy. Remember: whoever we elect to legislatures this year will be in office during the critical post-2024 election period….The good news is that control of legislative chambers is not wildly out of reach. Our recent analysis shows that Democrats have been much closer to controlling chambers than has been commonly understood. Follow the data: Legislative majorities often hinge on the outcomes in a handful of competitive seats. With so much on the line, Democrats must use their newfound momentum to fight hard for control of critically important state legislative seats….to combat ballot drop-off, Democrats need to make sure that our voters understand the importance of state legislatures, policy and power. Unlike Republicans, Democrats do not have an embedded, emotional connection to state-level power. But we can build one. We can shift the narrative to embrace the value of state power as necessary for a free future, we can celebrate progressive federalism, and we can commit to building and maintaining progressive state power.”

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    I hope the Biden administration makes sure whatever websites are set up to deal with the student debt relief work well before the midterms or are rolled out after.

  2. B burdick on

    Need to start using PRAM to describe gop & fox

    Perpetual Lies And Misinformation

    The PRAM they speak is roughing our Country

    Tucker PRAM Carlson- Use it. Make it known

    There are a tin other acronyms…


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