washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “It’s long overdue we’ve corrected this injustice. Minnesotans celebrate new law restoring voting rights to felons” as kstp.com Richard Reeve writes, “On March 3, Governor Tim Walz signed the Felon Voting Rights Bill….According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Minnesota now joins 21 other states in automatically restoring voting rights after release from prison.” According to the ACLU Felony Disenfranchisement Map, in Maine and Vermont, imprisoned people can legally vote. In NY and CT, people who have served their time and who are not on parole can vote. Those who are not in prison can vote in: CA; OR; NV; UT; CO; MT; IL; MI; IN; OBH; PA; MD; NJ; MA; NH and RI.  “Some. people with felony convictions” can not vote in: WY; AZ; IA; MS; AL; TN; and FL. In all other states, “people with felony convictions can vote on completion of sentence.” In October, The Sentencing Project reported a study indicating that 4.6 million Americans, about 2 percent of the voting age population, were denied their voting rights because of a felony conviction. “According to the report, “1 in 19 African-Americans of voting age is disenfranchised, a rate 3.5 times that of non-African Americans….Among states, Florida has the highest number of disenfranchised citizens, with more than 1.1 million people currently prohibited from casting a ballot. Most of those individuals, researchers say, are disenfranchised simply because they cannot afford to pay court-ordered fees or fines….According to the Sentencing Project, state-level disenfranchisement rates range from 0.15% in Massachusetts to more than 8% in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.”  For a discussion of “Constitutional Considerations,” related to the issue, check out “Is the Disenfranchisement of People with Felony Convictions Unconstitutional?” at felonvoting.procon.org. What is needed to gauge the electoral effects off felon disenfranchisement is a study showing what percent of convicted felons vote where they are allowed to do so.

“President Joe Biden is taking a number of steps to negate potential Republican attacks and he’s telling progressives they’ll have to stomach some tough policy compromises. But the White House insists you not call it triangulation,” Jonathan Lemire and Daniella Diaz report in “Here Dems are, stuck in the middle with Biden: The president is calculating that liberals will stick with him despite decisions on oil drilling, immigration, crime bill and more” at Politico….”Over the past few weeks, the president has said he would not stop a bill overriding changes to D.C. criminal code, announced a historic new drilling initiative in Alaska, and entertained reinstating family detention to deter migration along the southern border….The White House argues that there has not been a coordinated, deliberate strategy to move to the center as a likely reelection campaign approaches. Rather, it says the series of moves were the product of inadvertent timing or simply Biden acting on long-held positions, like on crime. Aides have also pointed to his previous willingness to break with progressives, such as during his 2020 primary campaign or even his first two-plus years in office. But the president’s political advisers are also calculating that liberals in his party will have no choice but to stick with him when it’s time to hit the polls.” My hunch is that this is a fairly well-reasoned risk. What are progressives going to do, not vote and let Trump or DeSantis run the country? In America’s highly-polarized electorate, centrist votes are more malleable than those on the left or right.

On that topic, Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. argues in “First, Biden was FDR. Now he’s Clinton. (Spoiler alert: He’s neither.)” that “The evidence that Biden has veered to the center rests largely on three moves: his refusal to defend the right of the D.C. Council to rewrite the city’s criminal code and reduce penalties for some offenses; the apparent toughening of his stance on immigration (although the particulars are still under debate inside his administration); and his approval of oil drilling on certain federal lands in Alaska, which angered environmentalists….Standing up for D.C.’s democratic autonomy against carping Republicans in Congress would have been the right thing to do, and most House Democrats voted against rescinding the code….In going along with the Republican effort to scrap the reform, Biden’s defenders say he is simply being true to his history of toughness on law-breaking. But let’s face it: Most Democrats, including Biden, are adapting to an increasingly tough public mood on crime….Yet even if you stipulate that Biden is executing some tactical maneuvers to fend off Republican attacks, there is a forest-and-trees problem in using a handful of decisions to declare a wholesale change in his presidency….That’s why, despite some grumbling, there is not a revolt against him among progressives. They see Biden as closer to their view than any president in decades on core economic questions, including taxes, trade, labor, inequality and regulation.”

At The Guardian, David Smith reports , “Indivisible is targeting little-known GOP House members in swing districts for the 2024 election. Co-founder Ezra Levin says: ‘They are basically Marjorie Taylor Greenes in how they vote’…Juan Ciscomani. Tom Kean Jr. Brian Fitzpatrick. Marc Molinaro. David Schweikert. Brandon Williams … Many Americans would struggle to identify who these people are or what they do….They are all, in fact, Republican members of Congress. And progressive activists argue that their fate is more crucial to the future of American democracy than more high-profile rightwing political figures such as Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene….Indivisible, a leftwing political umbrella movement founded in response to Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, has launched a campaign to unseat 18 Republican members of the House of Representatives from districts that Joe Biden won in the election of 2020….The “Unrepresentatives” initiative is based on the premise that these 18 districts – not the safe, deep red ones of Gaetz and Greene – will determine if Republicans maintain control of the US lower chamber next year. They are the “Achilles heel” of the Maga (Make America great again) House….Although the 18 are in swing districts, they are not really moderates. They are under pressure to raise money for their next election campaign. That means they have to make commitments to donors about how they will vote in Congress – which is in line with Greene and the Maga wing of the party about 95% of the time….These Republicans work hard to cultivate a low profile away from the bright lights of Fox News or other rightwing media, steering clear of hot button topics such as abortion or Maga circuses such as the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)….But now Levin, a former congressional staffer, intends to shine a light on them and ensure they have no hiding place….“We have a clear goal and that is: let’s make these folks famous – famous locally, specifically. Let’s make it as clear as possible to their constituents that they are in fact backing up the Maga majority.”

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.