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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Some thoughts from Michael A. Cohen’s “Democrats’ strategy to boost MAGA Republicans is vindicated: Whatever sane Republicans remain in office, they remain largely enablers of the party’s anti-democracy majority” at msnbc.com. Cohen writes that “some pundits and even some Democratic politicians took the party leadership to task for what, on the surface, might seem like a cynical decision. Democrats “or their political consultants,” wrote Amy Davidson Sorkin in the New Yorker last August, “may have become too enraptured by the idea of their own cleverness or toughness” to recognize they were “immers(ing) themselves deeper in folly” by boosting the candidacies of pro-Trump Republicans. “It’s dishonorable, and it’s dangerous, and it’s just damn wrong,” said Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips, to risk putting people in Congress who would undermine the nation’s democratic guardrails….On Wednesday, the House voted on the Presidential Election Reform Act. The bill would protect American elections from the kind of machinations that endangered our electoral process just two years ago, such as making it more difficult for state legislators to overrule election results and clarifying that the vice president plays only a ministerial role in counting electoral votes….Every Democrat backed the legislation, but just nine Republicans joined them….But last week’s vote confirms that electing any Republican, even those who are not fully indoctrinated in pro-MAGA thinking, risks placing American democracy in peril….The arguments criticizing Democrats for working against occasionally pro-democracy Republicans were based on a faulty premise: that there exists a sane and reasonable wing of the modern Republican Party.” Cohen provides some notable examples to support his argument. It does seem defeatist to argue that Dems should be tactical purists in light of Mitch McConnell’s trashing bipartisan initiatives going back to the day he urged opposing everything President Obama supported regardless of its substance. That’s not to say that supporting unelectable opponents is always a good idea. But the threat to democracy is so immediate, that if helps prevent the authoritarian nightmare, it will be ok for 2022.

Myah Ward provides some evidence that it iS working in “Dems’ big midterm bet pays off — so far” at Politico. “It was a risky bet, but at the moment, it appears to be paying off. In the six races where Democrats were successful in boosting hard-right candidates to the GOP nomination, many of the Republicans are lagging in the polls, struggling to raise money and forced to explain past controversial statements. In three governors races where Democrats played a role in shaping the primary outcome — Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois — cash-poor GOP candidates haven’t aired any TV ads since winning their primaries….In the Illinois governor’s race, incumbent Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker has led Republican Darren Bailey by double digits in nearly every poll since July. Even a recent poll sponsored by Bailey’s campaign showed Pritzker ahead by 7 percentage points….Bailey’s troubles extend beyond the polling. The downstate Republican’s comments about Chicago — he’s referred to the state’s largest city as a “hellhole” — aren’t helping in the populous Chicagoland area: Bailey, a farmer from Louisville, Ill., is now living in a Chicago high-rise to “immerse” himself in the “culture” of the city….He also has money problems. Bailey’s $1.7 million in cash on hand is just a fraction of the billionaire governor’s $60 million war chest….There hasn’t been much polling in Maryland’s gubernatorial race, but what’s out there shows a huge advantage for Democrat Wes Moore. You can tell Republican Dan Cox is feeling the heat: He’s upped his attacks against Mooresince the unflattering numbers were published….Last month, the University of Virginia’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed the race’s rating from “likely Democratic” to “safe Democratic.”….The closely watched race for Pennsylvania governor’s mansion has had a few more polls to examine than the other races. FiveThirtyEight’s polling average has Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro leading Republican Doug Mastriano by 10.4 points….There’s not much out there in terms of public polling data for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, where Republican John Gibbs ousted Rep. Peter Meijer in an August primary….both the Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifted this race from “toss-up” to “leans Democratic,” reflecting the perceived weakness of his campaign.” Ward goes on to cite more examples in New Hampshires Senate race and 2nd congressional district.

“Despite still trailing their Republican counterparts in fundraising this cycle, a jolt of post Dobbs enthusiasm had the president of the Democrats’ main fundraising arm for state legislatures confident enough on Tuesday to declare optimism for flipping GOP majorities in three states,” Jake Lahut and Scott Bixby report in “Dems Are Newly Bullish About Flipping These Statehouses” at The Daily Beast. “We know what we’re up against, but we are making a play to undercut GOP power in the Michigan House and Senate, the Minnesota Senate, and the New Hampshire House and Senate,” Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday….Lahut and Bixby quote an unnamed strategist who explains, “if you’re serious about protecting Roe, winning, winning Congress is very important, winning the gubernatorial races is very important, but also you get much more bang for your buck protecting Roe by winning state house and senate seats.”….Post said that while the DLCC has made improvements compared to their GOP counterparts—including setting back-to-back fundraising records in the two days following the leak of the Dobbs decision and the decision itself—they’re “still being outspent by our Republican counterparts who are flooding money into battleground states.” Readers who would like to contribute to Democratic candidates  for the state legislatures via the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee can do so right here.

In “Hey, Democrats, It’s Time for Unity, Not Purity,” Bill Scher writes at The Washington Monthly: “Democrats shouldn’t make Schumer’s job harder than it already is. The party is on a hot streak, partly because of a legislative strategy sensitive to the needs of vulnerable swing district incumbents. Not since 2002—when President George W. Bush’s Republicans picked up eight House seats—has the president’s party led in generic congressional ballot polls this close to the midterms. Remarkably, Democrats have mustered a slight one- to two-point lead in the Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight averages even though they’re saddled with what’s usually the burden of an incumbent president. Why put this momentum at risk?….the demands of backbencher purists did not help Democrats rack up legislative accomplishments and give themselves a rare chance to keep control of Congress during a midterm when they hold the White House. Democrats unified through compromise, and they fused progressivism with pragmatism. They took on seemingly unsolvable problems and delivered. They can do it one more time before America votes if all wings of the party remember what’s brought them to the cusp of victory.”

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2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Erica Etelson on

    If Democrats’ warnings of impending fascism are valid (and I believe they are), then the GOP extremists they helped to win primaries will not concede when/if they lose in November. Still seems to me to be a very cynical, hypocritical and risky bet.

    • Victor on

      How is this a problem for Democrats? The system will either work or it won’t. I’d rather it show cracks in these lesser importance contests.


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