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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

In “A Liberalism That Builds Power,” David Dayne writes at The American Prospect: “Three major laws—the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)—aim to subsidize domestic manufacturing and the supports underlying it. In the first few months, the public outlays have been matched by a surge of private investment, faster than any analyst expected….Unlike with other economic interventions, the Biden administration has strived to hit multiple policy goals in implementing these laws. Grants from the Department of Energy to support battery minerals projects require a community benefits plan, with labor and stakeholder engagement, diversity goals, and support for marginalized groups. Department of Commerce subsidies for domestic semiconductor facilities under the CHIPS Act had applicants lay out plans for access to child care. And Biden’s team is wielding other tools, like incentive bonuses, Buy and Build America mandates, prevailing-wage requirements, and even profit-sharing schemes, to make sure this industrial revolution benefits workers and communities, not just executives and financiers….This has spurred a backlash from corners of the center-left punditocracy. Combining domestic manufacturing, decarbonization, union jobs, and economic justice muddles the picture, say opinion leaders (and Prospect alumni) Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias. They believe that initiating “a liberalism that builds” demands precisely the opposite approach: loosening cumbersome bureaucracy, diminishing public input, and tearing down any barrier to the national abundance we need. These traditionally libertarian preoccupations are finding purchase among self-described “supply-side progressives.”….For decades, America delivered economic development subsidies without strings attached. Wall Street–fueled private corporations were first in line for those gifts, and they hoarded them. Whatever cheap goods or McJobs we got out of that transaction meant little without the shared prosperity and sustainability that America needs….A better option involves the government actively supporting the very groups that have been left out of past economic transitions, building the necessary coalition for long-term transformation. Success is not guaranteed—democracy is difficult—but the laissez-faire approach guarantees failure. In order to actually remove the barriers that have hollowed out our industrial base, the answer is not a liberalism that builds, but a liberalism that builds power.”

Geoffrey Skelley explains why “No Labels Is Chasing A Fantasy” at FiveThirtyEight: “It’s too early to evaluate whether No Labels’s candidate could be a spoiler for the Democratic nominee, but the group’s belief that it could mount a victorious campaign rests on several misconceptions about contemporary politics. First and foremost, the share of the electorate made up by independent moderates isn’t large enough to win a presidential election. Secondly, despite distaste for Biden and Trump, each remains well-liked by his party, reducing the potential draw of a No Labels candidate. Meanwhile, the group’s aim of markedly increasing turnout over 2020’s record-high mark will require the difficult task of getting even more low-propensity voters to turn out. Lastly, finding a candidate who could maximize No Labels’s appeal won’t be easy because there’s nobody named “moderate independent” who embodies the varied preferences held by voters disenchanted by the idea of another Biden-Trump matchup….No Labels can point to polling that ostensibly suggests a third-party bid could be competitive in November 2024. For example, a June survey by Suffolk University/USA Today found that 23 percent of registered voters said they’d support a “third party candidate” over Biden (34 percent) or Trump (32 percent). Similarly, No Labels’s own polling in December found 20 percent would back a “moderate independent,” not far behind Trump (33 percent) or Biden (28 percent)….But these numbers form more of a very hypothetical ceiling than a solid foundation for a new campaign. Frankly, an individual who embodies most of the values held by the politically mixed group of voters who said they’d support a third party or moderate independent probably doesn’t exist. As CNN’s polling analyst Ariel Edwards-Levy recently put it, “the nebulous idea of an alternative to the actual candidates” isn’t going to be on the ballot next year….From a public relations standpoint, No Labels understandably needs to maintain a veneer of competitiveness as it seeks to raise money and gain support. It could also have a long-term goal of backing candidates for president and down-ballot races in years to come, too. But the overwhelming likelihood is that a Democrat or Republican will take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2025, and that a No Labels-backed candidacy will not have carried a single state in the 2024 election.”

From “Young voters are getting less likely to identify as Dems. It spells trouble for Biden” by Myah ward at Politico: “Joe Biden’s Gen Z whisperer has a warning for the president: Get going on addressing youth enthusiasm now, or it may be too late….John Della Volpe, one of the Biden 2020 campaign pollsters, has issued these admonitions in briefings with the president’s reelection team and in conversations with top White House aides….Having analyzed youth voter data for more than two decades, he told West Wing Playbook that voters under 30 today are less likely to identify as Democrats compared to spring 2019. More consider themselves independents, and fewer see politics as a “meaningful way to create change.”….The last three cycles saw historic levels of youth participation — and the cohort is as progressive as ever — but if these voters stay home in 2024 as a result of these shifts in attitudes, Della Volpe said, it could doom the incumbent president and Democrats….“I feel like it’s a responsibility to ring this alarm now, when there’s time to do something about it,” said Della Volpe, the director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. “These voters gotta buy into the values of the party and the candidates … and to appreciate the fact that politics can make a difference. You can’t do that in a full-week ad buy after Labor Day.” Meanwhile, Hannah Hartig, Andrews Daniller, Scott Keeter and Ted Van Green report at the Pew Research Center that, in the 2022 midterm elections “Voters under 30 continued to strongly support the Democratic Party, voting 68% to 31% for Democratic candidates. But this margin was somewhat narrower than in 2018. Republicans benefitted more from significant drop off in voter turnout among younger age groups between 2018 and 2022, since young voters tend to support Democrats. Voters under 30 accounted for 10% of the electorate in 2022 – similar to their share of all voters in 2018 (11%), but down from 2020 (14%).”

An update on the participation of women in the U.S. Congress as a result of the 2022 midterm elections from the  Center for American women and Politics; “As a result of the 2022 election, the number of women serving in the U.S. Congress marks a new high of 149 (106D, 42R, 1Ind), with women holding 27.9% of all seats; 124 (91D, 33R) women serve in the U.S. House, marking a new record in that chamber, while the 25 (15D, 9R, 1Ind) women serving in the U.S. Senate falls one short of the record. In addition, 4 (2D, 2R) women serve as non-voting delegates to the U.S. House….The number of women in the U.S. Congress increased by two (from 147 to 149) from Election Day 2022 to the January 2023, with net gains of one woman in both the U.S. House (from 123 to 124) and Senate (from 24 to 25). The number of Democratic congresswomen decreased by one overall (from 107 to 106) and in the Senate (from 16 to 15), and stayed the same in the House (91) from Election Day 2022 to the beginning of the 118th Congress (2023-2025).1 The number of Republican women increased by two overall (from 40 to 42) and by one in both the House (from 32 to 33) and Senate (from 8 to 9)….The small gains for Republican women in Congress as a result of the 2022 election have not yielded a significant increase in their representation within their caucus. As of January 3, 2023, women are 15.5% of the Republican members of the 118th Congress, nearly equal to their representation (15.2%) among congressional Republicans as of Election Day 2022. Likewise, Democratic women’s representation among Democratic members is almost equal between Election Day 2022 (39.9%) to the beginning of the 118th Congress (40.8%). Women continue to be significantly better represented among Democrats than Republicans in Congress, especially in the U.S. House.” Among the “multiple factors that likely contributed to this outcome”: “While the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the federal protections of abortion rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in late June 2022 mobilized women voters and activists,it came after most candidate filing deadlines had passed. The continued efforts to both preserve and restrict abortion rights at the state and federal levels could have more notable influence in women’s candidacy calculations in future cycles.’

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