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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In her article, “Why Are Republicans Going After ‘Wokeness’ Instead of Going After Biden?,” Amy Walter writes at The Cook Political Report: “What makes Americans angry also propels them out to vote. The key for political campaigns, however, is to make sure that the issue motivating their base isn’t also: a) getting the other side’s base super engaged; and/or b) turning off independent-leaning voters you need to win a general election….After the 2020 election, for example, many moderate Democrats blamed their losses at the House level on liberals’ over-emphasis on things like “defunding” the police and support for fewer restrictions on immigration. While those issues may have motivated younger voters and/or voters of color to show up to the polls for Democrats, they also turned off swing voters in battleground districts….In 2022, the abortion issue—normally a base motivator for the GOP—did more to turn out the Democratic base than to motivate an already engaged GOP one….For example, a post-election survey by the progressive group Navigator Research found that among those who “somewhat” disapproved of President Biden’s handling of the economy—13 percent of the electorate—voters backed Democrats over Republicans by a greater than two-to-one margin (net +36; 65 percent Democratic candidates to 29 percent Republican candidates)….I asked Bryan Bennett, the senior director of polling analytics at the Hub Project (the sponsor of the survey), for a profile of these somewhat disapprovers to try and figure out what may have caused them to vote for a Democratic candidate, even as they were “meh” on Biden….What they found was that these voters “pretty overwhelmingly voted for Biden in 2020 (net +40; 68 percent Biden to 28 percent Trump to 4 percent other) and had a more Democratic-leaning profile.” In other words, these are the types of voters who Democrats should be getting to vote for them….The Navigator survey found that the overall electorate picked inflation as the top issue (45 percent), with abortion and jobs tied for second place at 30 percent. However, among those “somewhat disapprovers,” abortion was their top issue at 41 percent, with inflation a close second at 37 percent. In other words, for the overall electorate, inflation was 15 points more important than abortion, while for ‘somewhat disapprovers’, abortion was four points more important than inflation.”

As regards transgender rights, “One of the biggest targets for “anti-woke” legislation is transgender issues and kids,” Walter continues. “According to the website Track Trans Legislation, 38 states have seen anti-trans bills proposed in 2023, including 107 bills that focus on health care restriction for youth and 75 bills that address school/curriculum issues….On its face, this is an issue that not only gets support from conservatives, but also finds acceptance across a more broad cross-section of the public. Washington Post columnist David Byler wrote that the public “has recently become less open to transgender rights” quoting surveys showing that “sixty percent of American adults reported last summer that they oppose including options other than ‘male’ and ‘female’ on government documents. Fifty-eight percent favor requiring transgender athletes to compete on teams that match their sex at birth. Forty-one percent say transgender individuals should be required to use the bathroom corresponding to their sex at birth (31 percent disagree and 28 percent don’t have a position). And Americans are roughly evenly split on whether public elementary schools should teach about gender identity.”….One of the reasons to talk this up, of course, is not simply to motivate the base, but to lure Democrats into a fight on terrain that is more challenging for them. Democrats would rather fight Republicans on issues where they have a noted advantage, like protecting Social Security and Medicare, than on things like gender identity where their coalition is divided….the Economist’s G. Elliot Morris noted that a recent Economist/YouGov poll found that while 58 percent of independents say “whether someone is a man or a woman is determined by the sex they were assigned at birth,” almost 75 percent of independents also think there is “a little” or “a lot” of discrimination against transgender people in the US….The survey also found, Morris said, that “independents are generally opposed to things like puberty blockers for minors and transgender kids playing on sports teams, but also oppose banning books about trans youth.”….In other words, independent voters see a line between keeping kids safe and discriminating or targeting kids.”

From “The Five Day Workweek Is Dead” by Christian Paz at Vox: “And the pandemic has only intensified that push. Record numbers of Americans across economic sectors quit their jobs in what was eventually dubbed the Great Resignation. Whether it’s hourly retail workers frustrated with contingent schedules or more highly paid salaried employees tired of working 60-hour weeks, there is “a broader consensus now that our work should sustain us,” Deutsch said. “Our whole life should not be at the mercy of a job that does not allow us to thrive.”….More livable schedules have had success elsewhere in the world. Companies in Japan, New Zealand, and elsewhere have experimented with shorter workweeks in recent years, often reporting happier workers who are actually better at their jobs. But one of the largest and most high-profile recent experiments took place in Iceland, where local and federal authorities working with trade unions launched two trials of a shortened workweek, one in 2015 and one in 2017. In the trials, workers shifted from a 40-hour work week to 35 or 36 hours, with no cut to their pay. It wasn’t just office workers who participated — the trials included day care workers, police officers, care workers for people with disabilities, and people in a variety of other occupations….The results were impressive, according to a report on the trials published by Autonomy, a UK-based think tank that helped analyze them. Workers reported better work-life balance, lower stress, and greater well-being. “My older children know that we have shorter hours and they often say something like, ‘Is it Tuesday today, dad? Do you finish early today? Can I come home directly after school?’” one father said, according to the report. “And I might reply ‘Of course.’ We then go and do something — we have nice quality time.” Democrats would be wise to pay close attention to the movement for a shorter workweek. People want more time with their families, and for personal growth and development, and the shorter workweek is the key reform that can bring it to them.

You have probably read or heard about the daunting odds Democrats face in holding on to their U.S. Senate majority in 2024. In the House, however, Dems have better prospects, as Kyle Kondik writes at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “The overall battle for House control in 2024 starts as a Toss-up….Relatively similar numbers of Democratic and Republican seats start in the most competitive Toss-up and Leans categories, although Republicans start with a few more targets in large part because of the likelihood that they will benefit from redistricting in North Carolina and Ohio….Big blue states California and New York, where Republicans have made key gains over the past couple of cycles, loom large as Democrats plot a path back to the House majority….Sources on both sides of the aisle generally believe that the House playing field is not going to be that large. Part of it is that redistricting slightly reduced the number of truly competitive districts, and the North Carolina and Ohio maps could chip away at that number a little further. But Republicans also probably will not be casting as wide of a net as they did in 2022, as they came up empty in many districts where Biden did better than he did nationally. That includes arguably red-trending but still blue districts like the ones held by Reps. Frank Mrvan (D, IN-1), Henry Cuellar (D, TX-28), and Vicente Gonzalez (D, TX-34). Republicans were hoping that another turn of the realigning wheel in these places after Donald Trump made them more competitive in 2016 and/or 2020 would flip them red in 2022, but that didn’t happen. So Republicans may not push as hard in these districts as they did last time….Our overall ratings show 212 seats rated Safe, Likely, or Leans Republican, 201 rated Safe, Likely, or Leans Democratic, and 22 Toss-ups. Splitting the Toss-ups evenly, 11-11, would result in a net GOP gain of a single seat. Democrats need to net 5 seats to win the majority. Again, we think this is reflective of an overall Toss-up House race to start.”

3 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Tom chumley on

    If Democrats are anti police, why did they send 5 billion to states to ratchet up law enforcement?
    Why did every republican vote against police funding?

  2. pjcamp on

    “liberals’ over-emphasis on things like “defunding” the police ”


    Progressives are not liberals, as they will tell you in no uncertain terms.

    • Victor on

      Without white liberal support, the defund movement would be dead in the water.

      White liberals’ foundations in particular provide a funding backbone to police abolitionist organizations.

      White liberals are a major part of electoral support (either as the core or as key marginal voters) for abolitionist candidates. This can be seen in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.

      The abolitionist coalition is a mix of white liberals, minority nationalists and socialists/anarchists.

      Many progressives are usually more focused around economics and tend to support better policing, including more funding.

      People like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren spend much less time on criminal justice than economics. Compare that to the role of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on criminal and immigration reform.

      How much time did the Democratic Congress devote to negotiations with Republicans on issues like criminal reform, only for nothing to come out of it? Under the leadership of white liberals like Pelosi and Schumer, etc.

      White liberals think following the voices of the most radical minority groups is more important than following the opinion of the majority of minority voters.

      White liberals provide the key complicity for the dysfunctionality of the far left with either active support, or mostly with silent complicity. Because they fear being called out as racists for not opposing stuff like abolishing the police or ICE (open borders).


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