washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Regarding the new Biden-Harris campaign ad on reproductive rights, Edward Helmore writes at The Guardian: “The campaign ad, titled Forced, is designed to tie Donald Trump directly to the abortion issue almost 18 months after his nominees to the supreme court helped to overturn a constitutional right to abortion enshrined in Roe v Wade, which would have turned 51 this week….Dr Austin Dennard, a Texas OB-GYN and mother of three tells the camera her story about traveling out of her state to terminate her pregnancy after learning her fetus had a fatal condition, calling her situation “every woman’s worst nightmare”….In Texas, she said, her choice “was completely taken away and that’s because of Donald Trump overturning Roe v Wade”….“Donald Trump is the reason that more than 1 in 3 American women of reproductive age don’t have the freedom to make their own health care decisions. Now, he and MAGA Republicans are running to go even further if they retake the White House,” Julie Chavez Rodriguez, Biden-Harris 2024 campaign manager, said in a statement to The Hill.” Here’s the ad:

“Trump’s victory in the Iowa caucuses created the feel of a party falling in behind him, E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in his Washington Post column, “Trump is not a colossus. And his party is a mess.”….But even if the punditry proves right, the GOP is in no way cohesive or coherent. Just look at the Republican majority in the House, which can’t govern without Democratic help. Meanwhile, Senate and House Republicans are at odds on the most important foreign policy question of the moment: whether the United States will continue to stand up against Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine….Even Trump’s big victory in Iowa belied the idea that Trump’s army would walk through fire for him. Many were plainly unwilling to ignore the bitter cold and icy roads on caucus night. Only about 110,000 of the roughly 750,000 registered Republicans in the state participated, down more than 40 percent from the 187,000 who joined the last competitive caucuses in 2016….The divisions among those hardy voters were deep, pointing to President Biden’s opportunities to drive wedges into the GOP electorate. The entrance poll found that Trump drew just 37 percent among college graduates, compared with 67 percent among non-graduates. Caucus-goers split down the middle as to whether they considered themselves part of the MAGA movement (46 percent) or not (50 percent.). Three-quarters of the non-MAGA voters opposed Trump….And 31 percent said they would not consider Trump fit to be president if he were convicted of a crime — a significant number, considering the loyalty to the GOP of the small minority willing to brave the elements….Sure, Democrats have their divisions, too. Party loyalists range from the center to the left, and some of their loud fights doomed parts of Biden’s program in the last Congress. But what’s remarkable is how much they did pass with narrow House and Senate margins — and, in the case of the infrastructure and technology investments, with bipartisan support….Failing to see the GOP as a party torn asunder allows Trump to seem stronger than he is. He uses this perceived supremacy to cow Republicans who hold the quaint view that governing in a reasonable and (small-d) democratic way is the point of getting elected. Is it just wish-casting to think New Hampshire might seize the opportunity to send them the message that it’s their duty to fight back?”

Jason Linkins makes the case that “It’s Time for Democrats to Make Some Enemies: With the presidential primary all but over, a yawning void in the news hole just opened up. Biden and his allies should pick some fights—and give the media some fresh material” at The New Republic. As Linkins observes: “President Joe Biden opened this particular book by going long on the threat that Trump poses to democracy. There’s nothing wrong with restating these terms, especially as it was a winning message in the midterms two years ago. But not every voter that Biden needs to reach is going to be fully convinced that such an existential threat is in the offing. So it pays to locate some less esoteric enemies, to whom everyone can relate. Here, a slew of corporate enemies abound: junk-fee crooks; private equity goons; the gangsters of the pharmaceutical industry; banks plucking high overdraft fees out of the pockets of people living paycheck to paycheck; a small universe of price gougers, wage thieves, and consumer predators….Democrats should be using their bully pulpit to actually bully these miscreants, drawing down on anyone who’s preventing ordinary Americans from claiming their fair share of a robust economy….Democrats have to earn these stripes through political combat—and they need to force Republicans to pick a side, as well. More often than not, the GOP can be put on the defensive. Trump’s plan to team up with the privateers of the health care industry to dismantle protections for patients with preexisting conditions is already giving his fellow Republicans headaches….Republicans can be counted on to speak with one voice, picking topics on a daily basis on which to do a Two Minutes Hate, keeping the right-wing media Wurlitzer filled with fresh sheet music to call the next dance. Democrats can’t match the GOP in terms of propaganda infrastructure, but they can marshal far more relevant and substantive topics of conflict than the Republican Party’s typical culture-war fare.”

Call this one “anatomy of an R to D flip, Florida style.” Here’s a report from Andrew Polino at wtsp.com: “ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida Democrats flipped a Republican-held seat by winning Tuesday night’s special election in Central Florida’s 35th State House District….Democrat Tom Keen, a Navy flight officer, defeated Republican candidate and Osceola School Board member Erika Booth with unofficial counts totaling Keen with 11,390 votes and Booth with 10,800….Keen’s narrow victory came despite Republicans significantly outspending Democrats on the campaign, with Booth raising just over $300,000 compared to Keen’s $115,000….The special election for District 35, which covers parts of eastern Orange and Osceola counties, was launched when former GOP state Rep. Fred Hawkins resigned in 2023 to become president of South Florida State College in Highlands County….Keen’s campaign ran largely on the issues of protecting abortion rights and lowering the cost of property insurance. Booth’s campaign embraced former President Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric with slogans that included “stop the woke mob,” “cancel the woke agenda” and “stop the brainwashing.” Looks like another indication that reproductive freedom for women still has messaging power for Dems. And perhaps it’s a sign that woke-bashing is now being greeted more with eye rolls more than cheers among moderate voters. “We are engaging with voters through targeted messaging about non-partisan issues like the economy, education, and healthcare,” Keen said. “We’re also using data-driven approaches to identify and connect with voters who may be open to our message, regardless of their usual political leanings.”….That targeted approach may have paid off, as Democratic elections analyst Matt Isabel told the Orlando Sentinel….”What actually clinched the win for Democrats was this massive margin with [nonpartisan] and perhaps some Republican moderates as well,” Isbell said. “If anything, this should be concerning for the GOP because it indicates a voter anger that maybe they have not understood.”

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.