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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Here’s an interesting poll, as reported by Andrew Romano at yahoo news: “With President Biden reportedly set to announce his reelection campaign early next week, more Americans say they feel “exhaustion” over the prospect of a 2024 rematch between Biden and his predecessor, Donald Trump, than any other emotion, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.….The survey of 1,530 U.S. adults, which was conducted from April 14 to 17, found that 38% chose exhaustion after being shown a list of eight feelings and asked to select all that “come to mind” when considering another Biden vs. Trump campaign….Among registered voters, the number is even higher: 44%….No other sentiment — not fear (29%), sadness (23%), hope (23%), anger (23%), excitement (16%), pride (8%) or gratitude (7%) — cracks the 30% mark among all Americans.” One reason not to take this too seriously is that, if the pollster picked 8 different words, number one would have been something else. Blue words have different meanings for different people. Romano adds, “Fatigue is an understandable response to what could be the first general election for president since 1892 to feature the incumbent and his defeated predecessor competing as the major-party nominees — and the only White House race in U.S. history in which one candidate is facing indictment and possible criminal prosecution for conspiring to overturn his prior loss.” I would agree that “exhaustion” is the best choice of the selected “feelings” to describe the prospect of such a rematch, in my case 100 percent because of Trump, who is the most obnoxious president I can remember. I suspect few would hang the “exhausting” label on Biden, through his detractors would undoubtedly have some choice words of their own. Romano has lots more numbers for those who want to check out the poll.

Say what you will about President Biden. But he may be the ‘greenest’ president we have ever had, at least according to the number of trees his administration is planting across the nation. At The World Economic Forum, Stephen Hall reports that “The US is planting a billion trees to fight climate change,” and writes: “As a solution to global warming, “tree restoration can be a powerful tool for drawing carbon from the atmosphere,” according to ecologist and professor Tom Crowther, from Swiss university ETH Zürich….It’s a potential fix that is already being implemented in earnest by governments and institutions around the world. In July 2022, the Biden administration announced that the US government aims to plant over a billion trees to replace millions of acres of burned and dead woodlands….More than $100 million has been set aside by the US Government for reforestation this year, which is more than three times the investment of previous years, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a statement….Over 4 million acres of forest now need to be replanted over the next decade. This equates to 400,000 acres of forest annually, which, if successful, will significantly exceed the 60,000 acres planted last year.” Many would point to Teddy Roosevelt, who started the national parks, FDR’s CCC or President Jimmy Carter’s environmental initiatives. But, for sheer scale, Biden’s tree-planting initiative is unprecedented. Of course, where the trees are planted is really important for quality of life. The hope is that plenty of them are/will be planted where most people actually live, and create more urban parks. Biden also deserves some credit for other environmental policies, even though many progressives would fault him for not moving fast enough to de-carbonize our energy dependence.

In “Here’s the Gutsy, Unprecedented Campaign Biden and the Democrats Need to Run: The party needs a clear hold on power in Washington to deliver big economic boons to the American people. To do that, they need to make a big promise to voters,” Michael Tomasky writes at The New Republic: “A poll released Friday showed that just 47 percent of Democrats want Joe Biden to run for reelection. That’s a grim number. And here’s a grimmer one: Overall, just 26 percent of respondents said he should run again….But Biden is running—with an announcement coming this week, possibly. There’s nothing the Democrats can do about it. And in fact, there’s nothing they should do about it. Yes, he’s 80 years old. But he has a terrific record of accomplishments both domestic and foreign, and there’s no one in the party who would obviously be a better candidate right here and right now….Democrats appreciate that he ran in 2020 and beat Trump and that he’s passed some impressive bills. Under normal circumstances, that would be enough. Incumbents usually run on some version of “stay the course”; we’ve moved things in the right direction, and this is no time to switch. But that won’t be enough this time. The “wrong track” number in this Morning Consult daily poll (69 percent last Monday) has been higher on average for the last year than it was during most of Trump’s presidency. And there could be a recession coming—one rather inconveniently timed from the Democratic point of view. If additional economic headwinds start to blow, that wrong track number is likely to go even higher….So no—the circumstances don’t call for a stay the course campaign.

Tomasky continues, “Biden should do something bigger and bolder. He and the Democratic candidates for Senate and House should run a unified campaign. They should say to America: Elect us—give us the White House, 52 Senate seats, and a House majority—and we’ll reform the filibuster and by Memorial Day 2025, we’ll pass a platter of bills all aimed at helping the middle class and fulfilling the Biden motto that the economy grows from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down….That’s an interesting campaign. That’s a campaign about the future. It implicitly acknowledges that things aren’t great right now, but it does so obliquely enough that it doesn’t sound like an admission of any kind of failure. It says, “We’ve done some good; now, we want to do better. But you have to give us the run of the place.”….This is key. Swing voters, the 5 or 6 percent who aren’t locked in and have gone from Obama to Trump to Biden and could go back, have a very old and hard-wired habit. Distrustful of both parties, they split their votes. Okay, they reason, I’ll go for Biden, I guess, because I don’t want Trump back in there; but I’ll vote Republican for Senate to keep him honest….This seems, to the swing voter, to make a kind of sense. But in reality, it’s the precise cause of our current dysfunction. Giving this Republican Party any degree of power is a surefire recipe for nothing getting done. Democrats need to explain this to swing voters and get them to break that old habit. You don’t have to love us and everything we stand for, they could say. But give us full power in Washington, and we’ll use it to make your life better….what Democrats have to do is get swing voters to understand a very simple truth: Joe Biden can’t make these things happen alone. He has to have a Democratic House and Senate (and in the latter, he needs a couple extra seats to spare to get filibuster reform done).” Tomasky proposes an 8-point agenda that could win the support of Democrats from Rep Ocasio-Cortez to Sen. Jon Tester —  “A unified, parliamentary-style campaign in which they all run on the same economic agenda is their best shot at holding the Senate, because it gives a rationale for why they need unified power and what they’ll do with it.” Read his article for more details.

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