washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. explains why “The GOP’s speaker chaos is a blessing in disguise,” and writes: “The chaotic Republican-led House of Representatives has a rather poor sense of timing. The United States is in the midst of two international emergencies and faces the threat of a government shutdown next month. President Biden’s prime-time speech on Thursday pressing for aid to Ukraine and Israel underscored the exorbitant costs of the GOP meltdown….But the embarrassing exercise could prove to be a blessing because it’s exposing a crisis in our politics that must be confronted. The endless battle for the speakership is already encouraging new thinking and might yet lead to institutional arrangements to allow bipartisan majorities to work their will….The House impasse was precipitated by both radicalization and division within the Republican Party. Narrow majorities in the House have enabled right-wing radicals to disable the governing system. Normal progressives and normal conservatives, in alliance with politicians closer to the center, are discovering a shared interest in keeping the nihilist right far from the levers of power….The GOP doesn’t want to recognize that McCarthy gave Democrats no reason to save him — he flatly refused to negotiate with them in his hour of need — and many reasons to believe he’d continue to kowtow to party extremists….The last straw came after Democrats gave more votes than Republicans did to pass McCarthy’s bill to avoid a government shutdown last month. The next day, McCarthy turned around and bizarrely claimed that Democrats “did not want the bill” and “were willing to let government shut down.” That dishonest nonsense sealed his fate.”

“Democrats are going out of their way,” Dionne adds, “to say they are ready to deal. “We are willing to find a bipartisan path forward so we can reopen the House,” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said at a news conference on Friday, after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) went down in his third and decisive defeat in the speakership vote. Republicans, Jeffries said, had a choice: to “embrace bipartisanship and abandon extremism.”….The Democratic rank and file has quietly been working in this direction. Rep. Annie Kuster (N.H.), chair of the New Democrat Coalition, told me that moderate Democrats “were talking to any reasonable Republican we had a relationship with” in an effort to empower Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.) to bring up bills that have broad support in both parties….She noted that the Democrats’ conditions were minimal and hardly left-wing: to agree to avoid a government shutdown; to pass spending bills along the lines of the fiscal accord McCarthy and McHenry themselves made with Biden in May to avert a debt default; and to provide military aid to Ukraine and Israel and humanitarian aid for Palestinians….All friends of democratic rule should be grateful. With a regiment of nine lesser-known Republicans pondering a now wide-open speaker’s race, a new version of the McHenry option might gain appeal….Bipartisanship is no magic elixir, but bipartisanship in pursuit of majority rule is a worthy cause. Pushing Republicans to confront extremism in their ranks is both good politics and essential for governing. The Democrats’ offer to help Republicans through their intraparty struggle will either hasten the day of reckoning or expose the GOP’s refusal to stand up to its nihilists.”

“Former President Obama issued a new statement Monday on the ongoing violence taking place in Israel and Gaza as the death toll continues to tick up,” Lauren Sforza writes in “Obama issues new statement on Israel and Gaza” at The Hill. “In a lengthy statement, Obama again condemned the deadly attacks launched by the militant group Hamas on Oct. 7 in what he called an “unspeakable brutality.” While he maintained Israel had a right to defend itself against the attacks, he reiterated the need to abide by “international law.”….“But even as we support Israel, we should also be clear that how Israel prosecutes this fight against Hamas matters. In particular, it matters — as President Biden has repeatedly emphasized — that Israel’s military strategy abides by international law, including those laws that seek to avoid, to every extent possible, the death or suffering of civilian populations,” Obama wrote….He said upholding international law is “vital for building alliances and shaping international opinion.”….The attacks on Israel have resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians across the region. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, mostly in the initial attack launched by Hamas on Oct. 7. The U.S. and other countries have designated Hamas as a terrorist organization….More than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed so far in the conflict in Gaza, including an estimated 2,055 children and 1,119 women, with more than 15,000 injured, the Gaza Health Ministry reported Monday….“The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region,” he wrote….He also recognized Israel has “every right to exist,” but Palestinians have “also lived in disputed territories for generations.”….“But if we care about keeping open the possibility of peace, security and dignity for future generations of Israeli and Palestinian children — as well as for our own children — then it falls upon all of us to at least make the effort to model, in our own words and actions, the kind of world we want them to inherit,” he concluded.”

You may not be shocked to learn that “Voters under 30 are trending left of the general electorate,” as Monica Potts and Holly Fuong report at FiveThirtyEight, via ABC News. “Voters under the age of 30 have largely been part of the Democratic camp since former President Barack Obama won two-thirds of them in 2008. That same age group may have helped put President Joe Biden over the top in 2020, and assisted Democrats in broadly overperforming expectations in the 2022 midterms. And there’s some evidence that these young voters are staying liberal even as they age, defying the trend of previous generations. That’s especially true of millennials, the now-27 to 42 year-olds who were so taken with Obama’s first campaign. (Throughout this analysis, we use the Pew Research Center’s definitions of millennials and Generation Z.)….Young voters are consistently more liberal than the general electorate is on a range of issues, according to a 538 analysis. We took a look at data from the Cooperative Election Study, a Harvard University survey of at least 60,000 Americans taken before the 2020 elections and the 2022 midterms, and found notable differences between younger voters and the general electorate on key issues like the environment, abortion and immigration. That could make a big difference in the general election — that is, if young voters actually show up to vote….In 2020 and 2022, voters under 30 made up 21 percent of the electorate, according to our analysis of the CES data. In both of those elections, the cohort of 18 to 29 year-olds was composed of a mix of millennials and Gen Z, those born after 1996. More of Gen Z will be eligible to vote next year than ever before, and so far, they seem to be voting like the millennials that came before them. If history holds, they are likely to become more politically active as they age, and if they keep the political preferences they exhibit now, then like millennials, they’ll have a bigger and bigger impact on elections to come. That impact may begin as soon as 2024….Turnout among millennials and Gen Z, many of whom will be voting in their first presidential election, will be key in 2024. The youngest voters in any given election year have historically been the least likely to vote, with around 46 percent in that age group voting in 2016, more than 15 percentage points lower than the general electorate. Turnout rose in 2020, as it did for all groups, when an estimated 50 percent of young voters and 66 percent of the general electorate voted, but declined some in 2022 compared to the previous midterm in 2018.”

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