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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From “Biden has running room this summer. It could decide the 2024 race,” by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr.: “The nation is about to witness a bold experiment. It’s a test of whether normal governing — building stuff, spurring economic development and job creation, trying to anticipate future challenges — still plays a significant role in American politics….Informed skeptics, of course, challenge the idea that elections really revolve around how politicians do their work. Political scientists have found that who wins or loses typically depends on long-standing partisan loyalties, group attachments and gut impressions about whether things are going well or badly….Nonetheless, President Biden’s administration is placing a large bet on the idea that voters still care about whether government is succeeding at the basics: constructing roads and bridges; creating well-paying jobs in new green and tech industries; and managing the federal apparatus without excessive drama….To highlight the calmer side of governing seems out of sync with news cycles overwhelmed by Trump’s indictment and the former president’s wild attacks on the Justice Department. But that is part of the point, since Biden’s case is about both substance and style….The investments in infrastructure, green energy and tech, Biden argued at a union-led campaign rally in Philadelphia on Saturday, are promoting shared growth, especially in parts of the country (many of them rural and Republican-leaning) that have experienced decades of economic turmoil….Biden’s team sees the president as having running room after getting past the debt ceiling crisis with minimal concessions to House Republicans. While this is creating problems for Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) with his right wing, and could lead to a new budget showdown this fall, it also means turmoil in Washington is now happening largely on the GOP’s turf.”

“After eight years, Americans have made up their minds about former President Donald Trump,” Nathaniel Rakich writes at FiveThirtyEight. “And it appears that not even a federal indictment is swaying them. According to polls conducted before and after Trump’s indictment on June 8, Trump’s support levels in both the primary and general election don’t appear to have budged, even though a large majority of Americans view the charges as serious. In the Republican primary, he is currently at 53.5 percent support,1 according to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average. That’s little changed from June 7, the day before the indictment, when he was sitting at 53.8 percent. (The other candidates have all held roughly steady too.)…It’s not that Americans have somehow missed the news. Trump’s indictment has gotten mountains of media coverage. According to a recent YouGov/CBS News poll, 75 percent of American adults had heard or read at least some about the latest indictment. And overall, they don’t see the content of the charges as frivolous: Sixty-nine percent agreed that, yes, it would be a security risk if Trump had nuclear or military documents in his home after leaving office. Another poll, from Ipsos/ABC News, found that 61 percent of American adults — including 38 percent of Republicans — thought the charges were very or somewhat serious. (Compare that to the 52 percent of adults who thought that about Trump’s first indictment, over hush-money payments to a porn star with whom he allegedly had an affair.)….Per Civiqs/Daily Kos, 50 percent of registered voters believed Trump is guilty of crimes that merit jail time, and 42 percent believed he is not….Trump’s position also hasn’t really changed among the overall electorate. In an average of seven polls2 of registered voters taken since the latest indictment, Trump leads Biden in a hypothetical general-election matchup 42.6 percent to 41.4 percent. That’s virtually identical to the average of those seven pollsters’ previous, pre-federal-indictment polls.”

Also at FiveThirtyEight, in “Other Polling Bites,” Rakich notes, “A new Gallup poll has found that Americans have taken a right turn on social issues — or at least, in how they label themselves. Thirty-eight percent of Americans now say they are conservative or very conservative on social issues, while 29 percent say they are liberal or very liberal. In 2022, those numbers were 33 percent and 34 percent, respectively. While independents have gotten a little more conservative over the past year, the shift is primarily being driven by more Republicans identifying as conservative and fewer identifying as moderate….One social issue that that Gallup poll asked about was transgender rights. Fifty-five percent of Americans said that it was morally wrong for people to change their gender, while 43 percent said it was morally acceptable. Americans also said 69 percent to 26 percent that transgender athletes should be allowed to play only on teams that match their birth gender.”

At The Nation, Kate Rader and Carissa Quadron explain “What Running on a Jobs Guarantee Could Mean for Democrats: Candidates hoping to win in 2024 should look to A. Philip Randolph, who knew an economy stuffed with good jobs would gain a political advantage,” and share some of the findings from a new survey launched by the Center for Working Class Politics (CWCP) : “Democrats, regardless of class, overwhelmingly supported the federal jobs guarantee in our survey by a margin of nearly four to one, signaling the popularity of this proposal across the Democratic base. But our results revealed important differences in support for these policies based on the party and class of respondents. First, and most significantly, while both policies were popular across the pool of respondents, the progressive jobs guarantee was most popular among working-class respondents—and not just those who identified as Democrats but also working-class independents and Republicans as well. Importantly, working-class people from either party were more likely to prefer progressive economic policies than their middle- and upper-class counterparts. Working-class independents were also much more likely to support a jobs guarantee than middle-class independents by as much as 20 percentage points. Not only did some Republicans and independents respond favorably to this policy, but the jobs guarantee was also the only economic policy proposal viewed positively by respondents across all parties, which could indicate that it is less likely to generate electoral backlash for a political candidate in a competitive district. In fact, we found that even in the face of Republican opposition messaging, broad support for a jobs guarantee actually increased slightly….A lot has changed since A. Philip Randolph’s push for full employment, but Americans, and particularly working-class Americans, have not stopped craving bold, progressive jobs programs. The issue, however, is that despite serious difficulties engaging working-class voters, progressive jobs policies have not been a priority for today’s Democratic Party. The CWCP’s analysis of hundreds of campaign ads run in competitive districts in the 2022 midterm cycle shows that only 18 percent of Democratic candidates invoked jobs as a key campaign issue….Democrats hoping to win in 2024 should take note: A jobs-focused campaign is not just a winning strategy but also the key to achieving a progressive agenda.”

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