Adam Edelman reports that “Democrats are already running on abortion rights in battleground states” at nbcnews.com: “In swing states with vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election in 2024, the party is already hammering likely opponents over abortion rights — even though most of those Republicans haven’t yet decided if they’re running….The early attacks by Democrats on the issue signal that the party is ready to carry on with what, in the year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, has been a clear winner for the party. And even at this early stage of the cycle, it’s kept a spotlight on the struggles Republicans have endured in determining how to talk to voters about the divisive issue….The strategy could lend a hand to Senate Democrats who face a brutal map in 2024: They must defend 23 seats, compared with 10 for Republicans….The issue will be particularly hard for Republicans to run from in the perennial battleground of Wisconsin, where a deeply unpopularabortion ban will be working its way through through the state court system. The law — enacted in 1849 (only months after Wisconsin was admitted into the union) — bans abortions in almost all cases….“What we see in Wisconsin is also playing out nationally, which is that the GOP has built a machine around stoking up anger about Roe v. Wade but has never been able to do anything about it,” Ben Wikler, the chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, said in an interview. “But now that the dog has caught the car, they have no message and no answers to tens of millions of Americans who don’t think politicians should be jumping between them and their doctor in the moments when they’re making their most intimate and personal decisions.”….polling released last week found that 66% of registered voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases.”….Democrats in the state haven’t wasted any time bringing the issue to the foreground. Incumbent Sen. Tammy Baldwin has already begun talking up her support for abortion rights. Last month, the Democratic National Committee, as part of a campaign across multiple battlegrounds, put up a huge billboard in Milwaukee and began running digital ads in the state, all focused on Democrats’ support for reproductive rights.”
What’s wrong with Mississippi? It its routinely dismissed in major media as a hopeless cause for Democrats. Yet the state has the highest proportion of African Americans of any state (37.6 percent in the 2020 Census), which leaves casual political observers scratching their heads. Really? Democrats can’t pick up a piddly 15-20 percent from Mississippi white, Hispanic, Asian and Native American voters to win statewide races? Yes, there is deeply-embedded suppression of Black votes. In one study, Mississippi ranks as the 4th hardest state in which to vote (behind TX, GA and MO). For example, “In Mississippi, just under 16% of voting age Black people are disenfranchised because of a felony conviction,” April Simpson reports at The Center for Public Integrity. But isn’t it time for a full-court Democratic Party/legal press to address this issue? With less than 3 million people statewide, Mississippi has the same number of U.S. Senators (2) as California’s 39 million people. The Mississippi Democratic party has had its difficulties recently. But there is some buzz that Dems might be competitive in at least one statewide race this year. As Adam Ganucheau writes at Mississippi Today, “Every statewide office, legislative seat and district attorney positions is on the ballot in November. And at the top of the ticket, Democrat Brandon Presley [2nd cousin of Elvis] is challenging incumbent Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in a race many political observers have opined will be close.” There is no substitute for the political grunt work of organizing community by community, which would be a good investment for the national Democratic Party and for well-healed Democrats generally. Democrats wring their hands about the U.S. Supreme Court and how hard it is to reform it. But wouldn’t picking up a couple of U.S. Senate seats be a big help in securing any kind of Supreme Court reform?
“There’s more to this fight, though, than a localized political battle,” Pat Garafalo writes in “The Secret to the Democrats’ Future Lies in Western Pennsylvania” at The New Republic’s ‘Soapbox.’ “Philadelphia usually earns the lion’s share of the Keystone State’s national media and political pundit attention—the recent Philly mayoral primary was treated as a proxy battle for the left’s various factions, for example, with progressive favorite Helen Gym’s uninspiring finish treated as proof positive that that wing has overreached. But Pittsburgh and its environs are actually worth paying attention to if you want to understand a viable path for Democrats to build the sort of coalitions they need not just to maintain what they currently have, but to build toward a model that can persuade more than the traditional liberal base. The strategy Democrats employed there, which focuses on centering corporate power while not forgoing what makes Democrats, well, Democrats, has allowed them to challenge political machines, best incumbents and Beltway darlings alike, build new models for local political organizing, and maybe, just maybe, set a standard for other Democrats across the country.” Garafalo spotlights a number of interesting local political races in western PA, including “In the same vein, Representative Sara Innamorato—another Western Pennsylvania official who recently won the Democratic nomination to be Allegheny County Executive—is working to rein in so-called TRAPS, abusive employee debt agreements which force workers to repay often hefty training costs before leaving for a new job. Her legislative work has also focused on reining in corporate power, whether through repealing tax subsidies, reforming antitrust and merger law, or ensuring people can access the resources fix their own homes, instead of selling them off to developers. That theme carried through to her county-level race, where she proved a whole lot of naysayers wrong and shook off a late barrage of attack ads to win, convincingly.” Garafalo concludes, “Marrying local worker solidarity, an unchecked corporate villain, strong local organizing, and an affirmative policy agenda for dealing with it may not sound revelatory, but in a world of endless political noise, super-short news cycles, and an election season that never seems to come to a close, it’s working in Western Pennsylvania—and that might just be good enough for everywhere else too.”
Some notes on voter turnout in 2022, from Madison Fernandez, writing at Politico: “More than 203 million people were active registered voters in 2022. That’s around 85 percent of eligible voters in the country, and a slight uptick from the 2018 midterms. The majority of states reported having a higher active registration rate in 2022 compared to 2018, as well….But getting more people registered doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all voting. Turnout among all Americans eligible to vote dropped around 5 percentage points compared to 2018. Last year, more than 112 million ballots were cast and counted in the 2022 general election, representing a turnout of around 47 percent….California, Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Dakota and Tennessee had the largest drop offs, with double-digit dips in turnout between the 2018 and 2022 elections….Only nine states saw increased turnouts compared to 2018: Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, South Dakota and Vermont. That’s a notable change from the 2018 report, when most states saw higher levels of turnout that year compared to the previous midterm election….In-person voting on Election Day rebounded after a pandemic-induced drop in 2020. But a majority of voters are still using other methods of voting, showing that there is significant staying power to the pandemic-era shift….Just under half of voters — 49 percent — cast their ballots on Election Day, up from around 30 percent in the 2020 election. Voting by mail was the second most popular option, with close to one-third of voters doing so. Around 20 percent voted early in-person….In-person voting on Election Day still didn’t hit 2018 rates, when 58 percent of voters cast their ballots that way. Votes by mail saw a 6 percentage point increase from 2018, and early in-person voting remained about the same.”