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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Democrats may be able to flip the prevailing media narrative regarding immigration policy to “The GOP is now the open borders party” For those who are following the progress of current immigration policy proposals, the flip merits consideration. As Ted Barrett, Manu Raju & Melanie Zanona explain in their article “GOP senators seethe as Trump blows up delicate immigration compromise” at CNN Politics: “Senior Senate Republicans are furious that Donald Trump may have killed an emerging bipartisan deal over the southern border, depriving them of a key legislative achievement on a pressing national priority and offering a preview of what’s to come with Trump as their likely presidential nominee….In recent weeks, Trump has been lobbying Republicans both in private conversations and in public statements on social media to oppose the border compromise being delicately hashed out in the Senate, according to GOP sources familiar with the conversations – in part because he wants to campaign on the issue this November and doesn’t want President Joe Biden to score a victory in an area where he is politically vulnerable….“I think the border is a very important issue for Donald Trump. And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is … really appalling,” said GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump….GOP Sen. Todd Young of Indiana called any efforts to disrupt the ongoing negotiations “tragic” and said: “I hope no one is trying to take this away for campaign purposes.”….Underscoring just how damaging Trump’s comments and campaign to kill the border deal have been in the Senate, one GOP senator on condition of background told CNN that without Trump, this deal would have had overwhelming support within the conference….“This proposal would have had almost unanimous Republican support if it weren’t for Donald Trump,” the Republican senator said.” If Trump’s Republicans succeed in killing a bipartisan immigration bill, Democrats should make sure they – and Trump – own the kill.

Is the Good Economic News Good for Biden?,” Robert Kuttner asks at The American Prospect, and writes: “Thursday’s report from the Commerce Department displayed an exceptionally good economy. The economy grew at an annual rate of 3.3 percent in the last quarter of 2023, while core inflation, at just 1.7 percent, was actually below the Fed’s 2 percent target. The economy added nearly half a million jobs in the quarter, wage growth remains positive, and consumer spending is up….The index of consumer confidence soared 29 percent in the past two months, the largest such increase since December 1991. All of this means that the Federal Reserve, which meets next week to decide its next steps, is likely to stick to its plan to cut rates three times this year. It just doesn’t get much better….But can President Biden reap the political credit he deserves, come November? As pollster Stan Greenberg has pointed out, it’s a mistake to keep harping on how great the economy is, since it’s only marginally better for most working families. What Biden needs to do is make the election future-oriented—talk about how much more needs to be done, could be done in a second Biden term….“Soft landing” is one of the most dismal metaphors ever devised by economists. They, and their media mimics, use it to mean that we managed to get rid of inflation without resorting to unemployment. That’s to Biden’s credit….But the economy doesn’t need a soft landing, in the manner of, say, Alaska Airlines, that merely averts disaster. It needs a strong takeoff—even better jobs, wage growth, and more help for working families. Biden needs to emphasize that….This week’s endorsement of Biden by the UAW suggests the kind of help he will get from a resurgent labor movement. The best Biden “surrogates” in the campaign are working-class people and leaders.” In the NH GOP primary, “Fully 77 percent of Haley voters said they’d vote for Biden if Trump were the nominee. In about half the remaining primaries, independents can choose to vote in the GOP primary.” Haley’s cluelessness about American history and the role of trade unions notwithstanding, “The longer Haley stays in,” Kuttner adds, “the more she will remind voters of Trump’s deepening dementia, and the more she and Trump will argue about policy divisions that play to Democratic strengths (cutting Social Security, banning most abortion).”

Nikki Haley may not have much of a chance to unhorse Trump’s ride to the GOP nomination. But no Democrats should entertain the delusion that she is a political moderate just because her behavior appears less deranged than that of her GOP  competition. By any sensible standard, for example, Haley is one of the most virulent anti-labor extremists in the history of presidential candidates. As Noah Lanard writes in “Nikki Haley and Tim Scott Are Here to Remind You Republicans Hate Unions” at Mother Jones, “This weekend, Neil Cavuto of Fox News asked former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley what should have been an easy question about the ongoing UAW strike. Donald Trump had already made it clear how to respond from the right: Say something vaguely supportive about autoworkers, then pivot to claiming the Biden administration will send all their jobs to China by pushing electric vehicles. Instead, Haley portrayed workers in the largest industry in Michigan—a key battleground state that Trump won in 2016—as greedy and ungrateful….“It tells you that when you have the most pro-union president and he touts that he is emboldening the unions, this is what you get,” Haley replied. “The union is asking for a 40 percent raise; the companies have come back with a 20 percent raise. I think any of the taxpayers would love to have a 20 percent raise and think that’s great.” Land adds that “Haley, who as governor in 2014 said she didn’t want unions in South Carolina because “we don’t want to taint the water,” didn’t stop there. “I was a union buster,” she told Cavuto. “I didn’t want to bring in companies that were unionized simply because I didn’t want to have that change the environment in our state.” In “Nikki Haley’s Anti-Union Fanaticism Is Wild Even for a Republican,” John Nichols reports at The Nation, “She despises organized labor with a fury that is unrivaled in American politics….During her time as governor of South Carolina, she waged open war against labor—even going so far as to suggest she would sacrifice jobs for her state in order to keep unions out….“I will continue to be a union-buster, because every time you see me on national TV busting the unions, another CEO calls,” she said while serving as governor. “It just works.” All good Democrats hope that haley will continue to give Trump a hard time. On the outside chance that Trump tanks in the next few weeks and Haley somehow wins the nomination,  however, she would have a hard time convincing working-class voters that she would help them get better wages.

California Governor Gavin Newsom makes the case for President Biden on ABC News:

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