washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “Will Democratic Leaders Get Their Message Right? Our polling suggests winning themes,” Stanley B. Greenberg, a top Democratic pollster, strategist and author of major works of political analysis, writes at The American Prospect: “Democrats have the momentum in the 2022 midterm election, our new Democracy Corps survey shows. Democrats have pulled into a 3-point lead with registered voters and 2 points in the likely electorate. Amazingly, Democratic partisans are no longer less enthusiastic and engaged. Democrats are slightly more consolidated, and Republican fractures are growing. Cheney conservatives will give Democrats a few more points, as she now says is her goal….Yet much of this momentum seems accidental and ahistorical, and the Democrats’ lead is fragile and at risk. This also means Democrats, progressives, and commentators could take the wrong lessons from 2022….Democrats have narrowed the gap on the economy but still trail Republicans by 8 points. Staying there is fatal. People are on the edge financially, and they are paying a lot of attention to what is happening in Washington. The parties are now at parity on who is better on the cost of living, including a big change in who is “much better”—one of the most important changes since July….And fortunately, Democratic campaigns in practice are delivering a message consistent with that finding. The NBC poll tests the message that Democrats are actually saying, and it starts with their advocacy for working people on the cost of living: “we need to keep delivering for working Americans by lowering costs, including health care and prescription drugs, and ensuring the corporations pay their fair share of taxes.” That message gives the Democrats a 7-point advantage compared to the Republican message….Our poll shows that we make our biggest gains when Democrats take on the corporate monopolies that are driving up prices, despite making super profits. It contests the cost of livingby hitting Republicans hard on doing big corporations’ bidding on price-gouging and taxes….”

Greenberg continues, “In this key experiment where half the respondents also hear the Democrats contest the cost of living, their lead grows to 4 points….Democrats hold their lead in this poll only when they embrace helping working people with the cost of living as their first priority. They make further gains when they address abortion, assault weapons, and the Child Tax Credit….Across the base of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Gen Z and millennials, and unmarried women, the top legislative accomplishment that most impressed voters was bringing down health care costs. The Child Tax Credit was top for Gen Z and millennial voters. Their affirming Roe v. Wade in law in the House was top for Hispanics, Gen Z, and unmarried women, including whites. That was the very top accomplishment for all under-50 white working-class voters….The results should lead to messages that attack Republicans for being corrupt and extreme on doing the bidding of the biggest corporations, raising taxes on working people, and billionaires paying no tax….Democratic leaders need to see the America that was revealed in our focus groups….The revulsion with the “top 1 percent” is stronger than hatred generated by Trump’s “Make America Great.” Just throw out the phrase “top 1 percent,” and marvel at the reaction, as I did in focus groups conducted for Rethink Trade. In Philadelphia, the service workers shouted out, “rich,” “wish I was part of it,” “fortunate,” “spoiled,” “don’t have a clue, entitled.” “Better than ever before.”….What Trump and many Democrats miss was a deepening consciousness of all Americans that the country is ruled by the top 1 percent, elites, billionaires, and big corporate monopolies that use their almost unlimited money to exert their power over government….In this poll, I asked voters their reaction to the term “corporate monopolies.” Their hostile responses topped their positive ones by a 3-to-1 ratio (60 to 19 percent). And what about America’s partisan polarization? Republicans are actually slightly more put off than Democrats by corporate monopolies and their power….The Democrats’ winning message centers on working people, the cost of living, protecting health care, raising taxes on big corporations, and providing tax relief, as well as challenging monopolies, battling for democracy, being against assault rifles, and defending the right of women to have legal abortions….The battle for the economy is now not over the number of jobs, but what government is doing to make work pay—and to champion working people and attack the billionaires who prosper at the expense of everyone else. This is the core message that will enable Democrats to win and keep winning.”

At The Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. explains why “A partisan Supreme Court is 2022’s other incumbent.” As Dionne writes, “The proof of how radically the new court majority has polarized opinion along partisan lines lies in the polling. The Pew Research Center has been asking Americans their views of the court since 1987, when 80 percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP had a favorable view, as did 75 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners….The high point in bipartisan comity and sympathy came a few years later, in 1994, when 83 percent of those inclined toward the Democrats and 79 percent of those disposed toward the Republicans had a favorable view of the Supreme Court….That’s bipartisan legitimacy. It’s gone….This summer, as Pew noted, it found that “ratings of the Supreme Court are now as negative as — and more politically polarized than — at any point in more than three decades of polling.”….Just 28 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents viewed the court favorably. Among Republicans and Republican leaners, the court’s favorable rating stood at 73 percent….It’s obvious that Republicans are aware that a double-incumbent election is dangerous to their chances in November. That’s why they have been playing down abortion in recent weeks, and why many once-ardent abortion foes in the GOP are scrubbing their websites of their once-bold promises to enact broad bans on the procedure. They are clearly hoping that the more time passes since the Dobbs decision, the less of a voting issue abortion will become….But Democrats are not letting up on abortion, guns and other issues where the incumbent court has taken stands out of step with public opinion. The beginning of the court’s new term, and the increasingly public clashes between liberal and conservative justices over its direction, will further underscore the depth of the political and philosophical conflict the country confronts….The election of 2022 is only the beginning of a long, angry and consequential struggle.”

From “Republican states keep refusing to expand Medicaid — until you ask their voters: Medicaid expansion is 6-for-6 with voters on ballot initiatives. South Dakota could make it seven in a row” by Dylan Scott at Vox: “Six times since 2017, voters in a state have weighed in directly on whether to expand Medicaid and make more low-income adults eligible for free public health coverage. Six times, the ballot measure has passed….That undefeated streak could extend to seven wins in South Dakota this November….On Election Day, voters will decide on a constitutional amendment that would extend Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. If it passes, anybody making less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $18,000 for an individual or $36,900 for a family of four) would qualify for Medicaid coverage. Right now, 5 percent of the state is uninsured. Childless adults of working age can not qualify for coverage at all. Pregnant women, children, and the elderly can currently receive Medicaid benefits, but working parents must have a very low income — less than 63 percent of the federal poverty level, about $17,500 for a family of four — to enroll….Polling commissioned by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network found 62 percent of South Dakota voters said they support the measure….Across the six states that have expanded Medicaid through a ballot measure — Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Utah — an estimated 811,000 people have either enrolled or become eligible for Medicaid coverage. It’s a new frontier for expanding access to health insurance in America….To date, Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives have been an unqualified success. But their usefulness might soon be running out. Only about half of states allow citizen-initiated ballot measures and, of the 12 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, only four of them permit such initiatives: South Dakota — which is already voting on it this fall — plus Florida, Mississippi, and Wyoming.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.