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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

On July 5, New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall shared some insights about the electorate going into the 2024 national elections: “Among the additional conditions working to the advantage of Democrats are the increase in Democratic Party loyalty and ideological consistency, the political mobilization of liberal constituencies by adverse Supreme Court rulings, an initial edge in the fight for an Electoral College majority and the increase in nonreligious voters along with a decline in churchgoing believers….These and other factors have prompted two Democratic strategists, Celinda Lake and Mike Lux, to declare, “All the elements are in place for a big Democratic victory in 2024.” In “Democrats Could Win a Trifecta in 2024,” a May 9 memo released to the public, the two even voiced optimism over the biggest hurdle facing Democrats, retaining control of the Senate in 2024, when as many as eight Democratic-held seats are competitive while the Republican seats are in solidly red states:

While these challenges are real, they can be overcome, and the problems are overstated. Remember that this same tough Senate map produced a net of five Democratic pickups in the 2000 election, which Gore narrowly lost to Bush; six Democratic pickups in 2006, allowing Democrats to retake the Senate; and two more in 2012. If we have a good election year overall, we have a very good chance at Democrats holding the Senate.

However, Edsall added, “The RealClearPolitics average of the eight most recent Trump versus Biden polls has Trump up by a statistically insignificant 0.6 percent. From August 2021 to the present, RealClear has tracked a total of 101 polls pitting these two against each other. Trump led in 56, Biden 38, and the remainder were ties.

Edsall notes further, “Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory, documents growing Democratic unity in two 2023 papers, “Both White and Nonwhite Democrats Are Moving Left” and “The Transformation of the American Electorate.”….From 2012 to 2020, Abramowitz wrote in the “Transformation” paper, “there was a dramatic increase in liberalism among Democratic voters.” As a result of these shifts, he continued, “Democratic voters are now as consistent in their liberalism as Republican voters are in their conservatism.”….Edsall believes “The education trends favoring Democrats are reinforced by Americans’ changing religious beliefs. From 2006 to 2022, the Public Religion Research Institute found, the white evangelical Protestant share of the population fell from 23 percent to 13.9 percent. Over the same period, the nonreligious share of the population rose from 16 to 26.8 percent.”….While acknowledging the gains Trump and fellow Republicans have made among Latino voters, a June 2023 analysis of the 2022 elections, “Latino Voters & The Case of the Missing Red Wave,” by Equis, a network of three allied, nonpartisan research groups, found that with the exception of Florida, “at the end of the day, there turned out to be basic stability in support levels among Latinos in highly contested races.” In short, the report’s authors continued, “the G.O.P. held gains they had made since 2016/2018 but weren’t able to build on them.”

Looking toward Electoral College votes in 2024, Edsall writes, “Kyle D. Kondik, the managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ballat the University of Virginia Center for Politics, wrote in “Electoral College Ratings: Expect Another Highly Competitive Election” …..“We are starting 260 electoral votes’ worth of states as at least leaning Democratic,” Kondik wrote, “and 235 as at least leaning Republican,” with “just 43 tossup electoral votes at the outset.”….In other words, if this prediction holds true until November 2024, the Democratic candidate would need 10 more Electoral College votes to win and the Republican nominee would need 35…..The competitive states, Kondik continues, “are Arizona (11 votes), Georgia (16) and Wisconsin (10) — the three closest states in 2020 — along with Nevada (6), which has voted Democratic in each of the last four presidential elections but by closer margins each time.” So thus far, Georgia, followed by Arizona and Wisconsin, is currently the biggest swing state in terms of Electoral College votes. But that’s not a guarantee that it will still be the top prize 15 months from now. But it may be more useful for Democrats to focus on demographic outreach in particular states.

Edsall continues, “Kyle Kondik’s analysis showed that Nevada (17 percent of the vote was Hispanic in 2020) and Arizona (19 percent was Hispanic) are two of the four tossup states in 2024. This suggests that the Latino vote will be crucial. In “15 Facts About Latino Well-Being in Florida” at The UCLA Latino Policy & Politics Institute, Taemin Ann, Hector DeLeon, Misael Goldamez, Rocio Perez, Denise Ramos-Vega, Lupe Rengteria Salome and Jie Song write: “Florida Latinos are diverse, especially when compared to U.S. Latinos…Latinos of Cuban descent represent the single largest Latino ancestry group (28%), while Puerto Ricans (21%), South Americans (18%), Mexicans (14%), and Dominicans (4%) round out the top 5 groups by origin. In contrast, U.S. Latinos are majority Mexican (62%), while Puerto Ricans, South Americans, Cubans, and Dominicans respectively represent 10% or less of the Latino population….Florida Latinos are less likely to live below the poverty line than U.S. Latinos (19% vs 21.5%), but are just as likely to live in low-income conditions (25% vs 25.8%)….Over half of Latino children are covered by Medicaid—well above the rate for kids statewide (52% vs. 43% respectively)—while only 39% of Latino children are covered by private insurance (vs. 49% for all children statewide).”

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