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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Digby reports on “The massive Cuban emigration” at digbysblog.net, and writes “I know why Trump put in place all the draconian policies that have now forced Cubans to try to emigrate to the US in massive numbers. But why are they still in place?….Cubans migrate to the US because, unlike any other group of refugees, they are fast tracked to residency as political refugees. If they put their feet on US land, they get to stay. I can only assume that this migration is, therefore, supported by Cuban American Republicans because they want these people to come to America….The people who push the Great Replacement Theory idea that Democrats want more immigrants because they believe they will vote for Democrats, actually seem to be doing what they accuse the Democrats of doing. Surprise.'” Digby quotes from a recent New York Times article, which notes, “Over the last year, nearly 250,000 Cubans, more than 2 percent of the island’s 11 million population, have migrated to the United States, most of them arriving at the southern border by land, according to U.S. government data….Even for a nation known for mass exodus, the current wave is remarkable — larger than the 1980 Mariel boatlift and the 1994 Cuban rafter crisis combined, until recently the island’s two biggest migration events….But while those movements peaked within a year, experts say this migration, which they compare to a wartime exodus, has no end in sight and threatens the stability of a country that already has one of the hemisphere’s oldest populations….The avalanche of Cubans leaving has also become a challenge for the United States. Now one of the highest sources of migrants after Mexico, Cuba has become a top contributor to the crush of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been a major political liability for President Biden and which the administration considers a serious national security issue.” The massive migration from Cuba to the U.S. undoubtedly has political consequences favoring Florida Republicans, who are already having a good year.

From “With the creation of the Heartland Caucus, Democrats look to the Midwest for a winning strategy” by Zoe Clark and Rick Puta at michiganrdio.org: “The background: Michigan Democrats won the 2022 election handedly. For the first time in nearly four decades, they are taking over the Governor’s office, the state House and the state Senate in 2023. And that has many wondering if their strategy is a template for winning future elections nationwide….The question: Are Michigan issues the key to helping Democrats win elections nationally?….The answer: Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell sure thinks so. “Sometimes it’s easy to fly over the heartland and we want to make sure that we have a collective voice in the heartland,” Dingell recently told us. She wants to see a new Democratic caucus in Congress known as the Heartland Caucus. It would be made up of Democratic members from at least 12 Midwest states, and Dingell says the caucus would focus on a long list of issues facing the Midwest surrounding agriculture, unions, telehealth services for rural areas and the Great Lakes….The idea is gaining traction after Dingell shared a map that has been getting a lot of attention. The map shows the power that coastal Democrats hold in Congress with leadership representing California and much of the East Coast but the Midwest being left-out. “This battle for the heartland and to make sure there’s more representation is something that, you know, I’ve talked about for years, for decades. I think a map that I put together that showed that the heartland in the Democratic Party had no representation in senior leadership or committee chairs got the attention of a lot of people,” Dingell explained….Dingell says Republicans — especially Trump Republicans — have tapped into the anxiety felt by working class voters in the suburbs and rural areas and she says if Democrats want to build on their successes they’d be smart to focus on issues that Midwesterners care about. Take a look, for example, at how Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin won reelection in her mid-Michigan swing district that went for President Donald Trump in both 2016 and 2020.”

Sasha Abramsky shares some insights regarding “How Democrats Beat Arizona’s Extremist Republicans” at The Nation: “Although Arizona has historically been a Republican state, in recent election cycles it has gone from red to purple to, at least in federal elections, a light shade of blue. Many moderate GOP voters, said a regional Republican consultant who asked to remain anonymous, “woke up and said, ‘I can’t take four more years of this shit.’ Donald Trump’s persona—people just said, ‘Enough is enough.’” The state has two Democratic senators, both elected under Trump, and in 2020, after the vast voter registration and mobilization efforts spearheaded by Unite Here Local 11 and other unions and a huge voter turnout for Biden in the Navajo Nation and other tribal communities, its Electoral College votes went to Biden….On many of the key issues of the day, from abortion to January 6 to climate change and immigration, Arizona voters are to the left of the GOP politicians who run the state and the candidates who ran for statewide and federal office in 2022….Tucson, in Arizona’s far south, has long been a liberal redoubt. Over the past several election cycles, it has increasingly been joined by the population center of Phoenix (America’s fifth-largest city) and surrounding Maricopa County, which have gone from being bastions of the sort of racist, demagogic politics preached by longtime sheriff Joe Arpaio—who was finally booted out by voters in 2016 after 24 years in office—to leaning Democratic. The mayor of Phoenix, Kate Gallego, is a Democrat, and its city council has a Democratic majority that pushes progressive housing, labor, and wage ordinances.”

“This year, young people appear to have made up a smaller portion of the electorate than in 2018, and they supported Democrats by a thinner marginthan in the last two elections. And despite what you’ve heard, young people aren’t one single, amorphous voting bloc that will continue to vote the same way,” Christian Paz writes in “What America’s politicians get wrong about young voters” at Vox. “Given Democrats’ struggles in holding on to support from voters of color, independents, and working-class people, this year’s results from young voters should be a wake-up call for both parties, but especially Democrats. Despite the identity often ascribed to them, young voters aren’t special or unintelligible — they are just as complex as other voting demographics….They’re also not the sum of stereotypes that both progressives and right-wing pundits project as conventional wisdom — young voters are not all clamoring for full student loan cancellation, vote based on climate policy and marijuana legalization, or are “brainwashed” leftists. Those issues do matter to young people but, this year, they behaved like most other voters: They balanced concerns over abortion, the cost of living, and election denialism in making their decisions….Though it varies by state, it looks in general as though young voters did turn out in above-average numbers nationally. In most places, they didn’t exceed the turnout of 2018’s blue wave or the historic 2020 presidential election year, which saw the highest youth voter participation rate in recent memory. But young voters likely exceeded the levels of participation seen in the 2010 and 2014 midterms during the Obama years, when Democrats were dealt significant setbacks in Congress. In specific states, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia, their share of the electorate was closer to 2018 than 2014, while participation lagged in places like California, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington….What stands out is the breakdown in young voters’ support for Democrats: Voters under 30 years old preferred Democratic candidates by 28 points (which, according to exit polls, is a 7-point drop from their support in 2018’s blue wave), making it the only age group that Democrats won by a large margin. That same dynamic shows up in AP Votecast’s measure of vote choice based on age: 53 percent of voters under the age of 30 supported Democrats this year compared to the 41 percent who supported Republicans. That margin is down from 2020 and 2018, when the margins were 25 points and 30 points respectively….Young women, especially women of color, are much more Democratic than young men, according to Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. And rural youth are much more Republican than those who live in cities….But research published in the University of Chicago’s journal of politics shows that, for most people, political beliefs are longstanding and stable, but liberals are more likely to become more conservative than the other way around as people grow older.”

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