washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

President Biden might not seem like a revolutionary,’ E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in his Washington Post column,  “but he is presiding over a fundamental change in the nation’s approach to economics. Not only is he proposing a major break from the “trickle-down” policies of Ronald Reagan, as Biden highlighted in a speech in Chicago on Wednesday. He is also departing from many orthodoxies that shaped the presidencies of Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama….The shift also has to do with who Biden is, his long-standing alarm over the Democratic Party’s alienation from working- and middle-class voters and an unease with the Reagan-era economic consensus that hovered over Democratic administrations….As a political matter, Biden wants to show that his signature policies on technology, climate action and infrastructure are working. On Wednesday, he stressed they are producing well-paying jobs for those who have been on the short end of economic growth: Americans without college degrees and those living in places with “hollowed out” economies…. A recent Treasury Department report touted “a striking surge in construction spending for manufacturing facilities,” which has doubled since the end of 2021….Government is no longer shying away from pushing investment toward specific goals and industries. Spending on public works is back in fashion. New free-trade treaties are no longer at the heart of the nation’s international strategy. Challenging monopolies and providing support for unionization efforts are higher priorities…..Can Bidenomics become an international template for the center-left as Reaganomics was for the center-right in the 1980s?….But Biden is selling his program hard because he knows its first test will be political. The standing of Reaganomics was secured only after Reagan’s reelection. The same will be true of the word Biden first resisted and now holds high.”

At FiveThirtyEight, Monica Potts sheds some light on public opinion about ‘affirmative action’ in the wake of the U. S. Supreme Court ruling, which “just ended affirmative action in higher education as we know it.” Was Pitts explains, “A poll designed to capture public opinion on major Supreme Court decisions this term found that strong majorities of Americans agree that public (74 percent) and private (69 percent) colleges and universities should not be able to use race as a factor in college admissions. Questions that remind respondents of the goal of affirmative action — to increase the numbers of Black, Hispanic and other underrepresented students on elite campuses — tend to generate more support. But people also don’t think minority groups should be given “special preferences.”….Individual programs have been struck down over the years, by voter referendum in Michigan in 2006….as we’ve written before, how Americans view affirmative action depends a lot on how they’re asked about it. By one measure, affirmative action is more popular among white Americans than it used to be: According to Gallup, only 44 percent of white Americans favored affirmative action (broadly speaking, not specific to college admissions), for members of racial minority groups in 2001. Twenty years later, 57 percent of white Americans in the Gallup survey said they favored it. Hispanic adults saw a slightly greater increase, from 64 to 79 percent. Yet for Black Americans, the number began at 69 percent, increased over the years, and then settled back at 69 percent in 2021….But a Pew Research Center Survey conducted in the spring found that affirmative action is not popular today, particularly among white respondents, people without college degrees and Republicans. Overall, half of Americans disapproved of colleges and universities using race and ethnicity as factors to increase racial and ethnic diversity, while one-third approved. (The remaining 16 percent said they were not sure.) But three-quarters (74 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents disapproved, while a little over half (54 percent) of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents approved. Almost half of Black respondents supported it, the highest of any racial or ethnic group. College graduates are virtually evenly split on whether they approve or disapprove, while those without college degrees disapprove by a nearly two-to-one ratio.”

Potts continues, “Two recent polls found that majorities of Americans want affirmative action programs to continue. But one of those polls, conducted by YouGov/CBS, also asked whether respondents thought race should be considered as part of college admissions, and got a resoundingly different answer: only 30 percent said yes, and 70 percent said no….Some people may oppose affirmative action because they prefer a color-blind reading of the constitution, and think any consideration of race makes the process inherently problematic. A New Public Agenda/USA Today/Ipsos Hidden Common Ground poll, fielded in February and March 2023, found that majorities of Americans prefer institutions to equally distribute resources to all communities rather than make additional investments in Black, Latino, Asian and Native American communities to close gaps. Sixty-three percent of respondents said racism makes it more difficult for people of color to succeed in the U.S., but more Americans said individuals should play a role in overcoming racism than said institutions like the government and schools should. The study found that Americans are split on whether efforts to combat racism would affect white people, with 44 percent saying those efforts make life more difficult and 45 percent saying they do not, with the remainder saying they did not know….Some Americans also don’t believe that systemic racism is a problem in American life. In another Pew survey from 2021, 77 percent of Republicans thought that little or nothing needed to be done to ensure equal rights for all Americans. Other surveys have found Republicans skeptical of systemic racism, which suggests some do not believe the justification for affirmative action is a problem in need of addressing. Some Americans also believe affirmative action programs are harmful to white people….But there are also a sizable number of Americans who don’t hold firm views on affirmative action, as evidenced by the policy’s struggles at the ballot. A 2020 referendum that would have restored race-conscious affirmative action in public universities in California, one of the most liberal and diverse states in the nation, failed when 57 percent of statewide voters opposed it. According to a New York Times analysis, the vote passed 51 to 49 in Los Angeles County, among the state’s more Democratic areas, suggesting that it’s not a voting issue for many voters and that support is slim.”

In “Electoral College Ratings: Expect Another Highly Competitive Election: Small edge to Democrats but neither side over 270 to start” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Kyle Kondik writes “Democrats start closer to the magic number of 270 electoral votes in our initial Electoral College ratings than Republicans. But with few truly competitive states and a relatively high floor for both parties, our best guess is yet another close and competitive presidential election next year….We are starting 260 electoral votes worth of states as at least leaning Democratic, and 235 as at least leaning Republican. The four Toss-ups are Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin — the three closest states in 2020 — along with Nevada, which has voted Democratic in each of the last four presidential elections but by closer margins each time (it is one of the few states where Joe Biden did worse than Hillary Clinton, albeit by less than a tenth of a percentage point). That is just 43 Toss-up electoral votes at the outset. Remember that because of a likely GOP advantage in the way an Electoral College tie would be broken in the U.S. House, a 269-269 tie or another scenario where no candidate won 270 electoral votes would very likely lead to a Republican president. So Democrats must get to 270 electoral votes while 269 would likely suffice for Republicans, and there are plausible tie scenarios in the Electoral College….We have previously noted that only seven states were decided by less than three points in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. This represents the real battlefield: Particularly if the race is a Biden vs. Trump redux, we would be surprised if any other state flipped from 2020 outside of this group….Even then, we’re not even sure that all of these seven states are truly in doubt. After all, we’re starting three of the seven in the Leans category (Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania)….This all underscores the reality that despite the nation being locked in a highly competitive era of presidential elections, the lion’s share of the individual states are not competitive at all.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Victor on

    Good riddance to the distraction of the race based affirmative action debate.

    Class and geography based admissions could achieve much better results.

    Affirmative action based on race is an inter elites controversy, part of the (mostly useless) cultural wars.

    Blacks, Hispanics and Asians don’t support race based affirmative action and those that do don’t obsess about it.

    The left still has a general mess with many of the not so progressive views of working class “people of color”.


    If Democrats wanted to get rid of legacy admissions they could have done so one of the many times they have controlled Congress or Department of Education regulations.

    Trying to ban legacy admissions via the courts is dangerous.

    Legacy admissions are about class. If they result in fewer minority admissions it is only due to an indirect effect.

    But it would be rich for Democrats to achieve the precedent of banning class based affirmative action via jurisprudence that would set the stage for also banning class based affirmative action in favour of poorer students.

    Ban legacy admissions and next the right will ban privileges for Pell Grant and scholarship admissions.
    Color blindness is required by the Constitution and entirely consistent with traditional left wing values, as explained by MLK and other civil rights era leaders.

    Legacy admissions should be banned, but they are not the correct tit for tat neither in political discourse nor in judicial caselaw.

    Class blindness has not traditionally been seen as required by the Constitution and civil rights law.
    It is moronic that Democrats would make the analogy. The fact that they do just shows just how overtaken by elites the party is.


    “White Democrats (75%) are also significantly more likely than nonwhite Democrats (40%) to support broadening how gender is taught.

    Clear majorities of both whites (68%) and people of color (57%) say transgender and sexual identity issues should be given less attention.

    Similarly, both groups support limiting how gender identity is taught in schools (59% white and 52% people of color).

    As may be expected, white Republicans (93%) are much more likely than white Democrats (20%) to want to limit how gender identity is taught in schools.”


    “A majority of Hispanic voters (58%), young voters ages 18 to 34 (57%), Democrats who backed progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic primary (55%) and Black voters (52%) say they’re open to considering a third-party or independent presidential candidate in a Biden-Trump rematch.”


    “Our findings suggest that work stress generally increased from 1995 to 2015, and that the increase was mostly driven by psychological demands.

    People working in lower-skilled occupations had generally higher levels of job strain and effort-reward imbalance, as well as they tend to have a steeper increase in job strain than people working in higher-skilled occupations.

    Most of the change occurred from 1995 to 2005.”



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.