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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “Democrats lean on abortion to flip the House — but there’s a catch: Democrats see abortion as a potent issue to attack the GOP House majority, but many of their target districts are in states where abortion rights are protected,” Bridget Bowman writes: “Democrats’ top targets, as they seek a net gain of five seats to flip the House, include 18 Republicans who represent districts President Joe Biden carried in 2020. Eleven of those Republicans hail from New York and California. Still, Democrats believe focusing on abortion helped change the 2022 election — and is a winning strategy for 2024….“This extremism across the country on reproductive freedoms will cost Republicans the House majority,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairwoman Suzan DelBene told NBC News in an interview.“This is an issue that is now real and visceral. It’s no longer theoretical,” said Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan, who won a special election in New York after the Supreme Court’s decision last year….Ryan also pointed out that abortion will be on the ballot in New York next year, as voters weigh a proposal to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. (Abortion is currently legal under regular state law in New York.) And Ryan noted that New Yorkers would be affected by GOP proposals to institute a federal ban or limit access to pills used in medication abortions…. It does appear that voters are paying attention to abortion policies in other states….In a new NBC News national poll, 57% of voters in the West and 55% in the Northeast, where abortion is largely legal, say that their own states have “struck the right balance” on abortion access. But similar shares of those voters — 58% in the Northeast and 59% in the West — say access to abortion across the country is “too difficult.”

Max Greenwood has an update on Florida Democratic plans to win back the state in the Miami Herald. As Greenwood writes, “Florida Democrats are leaning on their biggest adversary as they look to revamp their party ahead of 2024: Gov. Ron DeSantis….After two tough election cycles in a row — including a particularly bruising 2022 midterm year — the state party has begun an aggressive counteroffensive against DeSantis in an effort to claw its way back from the brink of political irrelevance, seeing the top-tier Republican presidential hopeful as the perfect foil to fuel their political resurgence….The animosity between Florida Democrats and the state’s powerful Republican governor isn’t new. What’s changed, party officials and operatives said, is that DeSantis’ nascent bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination has elevated their platform and allowed them to appeal to national Democrats — including donors — in a way that’s been lacking in recent years….So far, Democrats say, there’s at least some reason for optimism. Democrat Donna Deegan’s win in the Jacksonville mayoral race in May was held up by many in the party as an early sign that their losing streak could be coming to an end….And [Democratic Chair Nikki] Fried said that she’s gotten assurances from President Joe Biden and Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison that national Democrats are still planning to contest Florida in 2024….The DNC recently began running a digital ad in key battleground states, including Florida, targeting several Republican presidential contenders on their abortion stances. That includes DeSantis, who signed a six-week ban on the procedure in April, though that law has yet to take effect….Fernand Amandi, a Miami-based Democratic pollster who helped former President Barack Obama win Florida in 2008 and 2012, said that any successful effort by Democrats to put the state back into play is going to require more than just an aggressive counter-messaging campaign against DeSantis….“When there’s a massive, multi-million dollar investment into trying to win Florida that is sustained over time, that’s when I think we can say Florida is potentially back in play,” Amandi said.”

Statewide elections for Attorney General and Secretary of State have often been underreported in major media because they are frequently overshadowed by Senate and Governor races. But they are important because of the recent explosion of voters suppression legislation and “attorneys general can file lawsuits with far-reaching policy impact and because secretaries of state oversee the election process (in most states, anyway),” says Louis Jacobson in his article, “The 2023 and 2024 Attorney General and Secretary of State Races: Amidst several safe-state races with key primaries, competitive contests in North Carolina and Pennsylvania loom” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Jacobson writes further, “The current campaign cycle doesn’t promise quite as much drama as there was in 2022, when several key presidential battleground states played host to tight contests between Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump and more mainstream Democrats….For the current 2023-2024 cycle, we are starting our handicapping by assigning 18 of the 23 races to either the Safe Republican or the Safe Democratic category. Still, a number of these states will undergo wide-open primaries with different ideological flavors of candidates. And in the general election, we see three races as highly competitive: the attorney general and secretary of state races in North Carolina and the AG race in Pennsylvania….In the 2023-2024 election cycle, at least 6 of the 13 AG races and at least 4 of the 10 secretary of state races will be open seats, often because the incumbent is running for governor — a sign of how these lower-profile offices can serve as important political stepping stones….Meanwhile, the key matchups for the 2024 general election promise to be the AG and secretary of state races in North Carolina and the AG contest in Pennsylvania. (Pennsylvania’s secretary of state is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate rather than elected.) Both states will simultaneously be serving as presidential battlegrounds.” Read the article for Jacobson’s run-down on each of the races.

David Masciotra explains why “Latinos Are Not Flocking to the Far Right: The media are misreading the data and ignoring the majority of Latinos who continue to lean left” at the Washington Monthly: “It’s true that in 2016 and 2020, Trump did make striking gains with Latino voters after Mitt Romney’s terrible performance in 2012. According to the Pew Research Center, the hapless former Massachusetts governor garnered only 27 percent of the Latino vote. Trump posted 28 percent in 2016 than 38 percent in 2020. This is not insignificant. Democratic analysts and operatives would be committing malpractice if they didn’t pay careful attention when a key constituency’s support declines….But what those obsessing about the Latino “drift to the right” never mention is that Romney’s performance among Latinos was one of the worst in the past 40 years. Only Bob Dole in 1996 (21 percent) and George H. W. Bush in 1992 (25 percent) dipped lower, and independent Ross Perot took a piece of the Latino vote in both of those races, 14 and 6 percent, respectively….Moreover, presidential performance is not the only metric we should measure. The Latino vote for Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate in 2020 was even stronger than for Biden. The Latino Policy and Politics Institute at UCLA took a magnifying glass to the Senate results in Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas. It reached the following conclusion: “Latino voters supported the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate by wide margins across the five states analyzed. There is no evidence of a ‘drop-off’ in Democratic support for the U.S. Senate.”…Furthermore, the institute found that “Latino voters supported the Democratic Senate candidate over the Republican candidate by at least a 3-1 margin in Arizona, Colorado, and Georgia” and that the margin was 2-1 in New Mexico and Texas. …The numbers for the 2022 midterms were the same. Exit polls gauging support for House candidates revealed that one reason why the Republicans did not enjoy a “red wave” was due to a relatively high turnout from voters under the age of 30. Among Latinos under 30, 68 percent voted for Democratic candidates….When examining voting patterns, journalists could just as easily run lengthy expositions and record television segments on Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania. Seventy percent of them voted for Biden (only 24 percent voted for Trump), proving crucial to his thin margin of victory in the swing state. The story is similar in the battleground state of Arizona. As the Latino Policy and Politics Institute summarizes: “In Arizona, where Latinos represent 25.2% of all registered voters, the size and turnout of the Latino electorate helped Biden become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1996.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    The article about Latinos is incredibly superficial.

    The best example is its discussion about Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania and Cubans in Florida.

    Looking at trends based on populations that have historically been mainstream Democrats in deep blue cities is basically irrelevant.

    The problem with Latinos is the trend in purple and red states.

    So yeah, you may win a slightly higher proportion of populations like Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania due to higher turnout overall or higher turnout for Democrats, but the population of Puerto Ricans in Pennsylvania is not significantly increasing, unlike the population of Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in places like Florida and Texas.

    The discussion about Cubans was negligent. They are more right wing, but they recently swinged against Democrats and in favor of Trump for specific reasons.

    In any case neither Cubans nor Puerto Ricans are key to the growing Latino vote. Mexicans and Central Americans are much larger populations.

    So are Venezuelans, who will probably have a much easier path to citizenship and become an important voting block that will probably align Republican if Democrats don’t take a clear stand against failed socialism in Latin America. (Colombians too for a similar reason.)


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