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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

in “Barriers to voting for people with disabilities: An explainer and research roundup” at Journalists’s Resource, Naseem S. Miller reports on an issue that affects millions of voters and their families, but doesn’t get much attention: “A growing body of research shows that voting and health are intertwined. People affected by poor health or disabilities are less likely to cast a ballot than the general population….When previously disenfranchised people, including people with disabilities, vote, policies that benefit everyone and better health outcomes follow, according to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a program of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute….About 42.5 million Americans have disabilities, according to 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. ….In the November 2020 election, individuals with disabilities voted at a 7% lower rate than people without disabilities, according to the Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2020 Elections survey by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and Rutgers University. More than 11% — nearly 2 million people with disabilities — said they faced difficulties voting….Voters with disabilities face a range of barriers, including inaccessible voting places, lack of accessible voting machines, and state laws that restrict voting by mail or criminalize assisting a person in voting, according to the American Civil Liberties Union….When the Government Accountability Office officials visited 167 polling places during the 2016 general election, only 17% were fully accessible for people with disabilities who wanted to vote in person. The most common barriers were steep ramps, lack of signs for accessible paths to the building, gravel parking lots or lack of parking options….In 2023, at least 14 states enacted 17 restrictive voting laws, which will take effect for the 2024 general election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan law and policy institute at New York University. Most of the laws limit mail-in voting, shorten the window of requesting a mail ballot or ban drop boxes. Even though these laws don’t target people with disabilities, they create additional barriers for them….People who live in institutions like nursing homes, those who are under legal guardianship and people with mental illness are also less likely to vote than the general population, research has shown. In some cases, these people are prohibited from voting by state law.” While there is no convincing data indicating Democrats would get moe votes than Republicans by expanded access for these voters, Democrats might benefit by being more visible champions of reforms to make voting more convenient for them.

Some revealing statistics from “What America’s Relocation Boom Means for Election 2024” by Shawn Donnan at Bloomberg Business: “The population shifts are more pronounced in some battleground states than others, and they don’t uniformly favor Biden. But in aggregate, they offer a reason for optimism for the president’s campaign, even as polls showhim trailing his likely opponent, Donald Trump: A Bloomberg analysis of state population forecasts found swing-state counties that Biden won in 2020 will have on net gained almost twice as many people by election day as those that voted for Trump….Counting people is hard, and state demographers’ population forecasts don’t always agree with Census Bureau estimates, which for some states point to smaller gains….Still, by November’s presidential election, around 30 million Americans — the equivalent of the population of Texas — will have moved to a different state since 2020, even if migration recedes to a pre-pandemic pace…..In Georgia, where Biden beat Trump by fewer than 12,000 votes in 2020, the population will have grown by almost 395,000, according to state forecasts. Most of that growth is in metro Atlanta counties that Biden won handily in 2020. Likewise, in Nevada, Las Vegas home Clark County will have added almost 125,000 people by the time the election is held…..State forecasts show Maricopa County, Arizona, which Biden won narrowly and where 2 million ballots were cast in 2020, will have 337,000 more residents on election day 2024. Biden’s razor-thin 2020 margin there suggests that capitalizing on that growth may not be as easy as in Wisconsin, Georgia or Nevada….The relocation boom is not a tailwind for Biden everywhere. In North Carolina, the growth in red counties appears to have more than offset the rapid growth in the Raleigh-Durham metro area’s blue suburbs, according to state forecasts….Rapidly growing states like Georgia and North Carolina are seeing major changes in the composition of their electorates, while others like Pennsylvania are becoming more urban as they fight to maintain population.”

Bill Scher explains why “It’s Time for Biden to Learn from Reagan and Go All “Morning in America”: The president has a better economic record than Reagan. He should take a page from the Gipper’s extremely optimistic 1984 reelection ad campaign” at The Washington Monthly: “The Biden economy is by nearly every significant measure better than the 1984 Reagan economy: the unemployment rate is lower, earnings are higher, the poverty rate is lower, inflation is lower, and interest rates are lower. Yet public sentiment towards Biden hasn’t caught up to the economic data, the media continues to harp on his age, and Donald Trump is furiously retconning the economic narrative of the last seven years….The public may come to credit Biden with the improved economy, so long as the improvement continues, in time for Election Day. But with counterwinds, Biden can’t assume credit will organically materialize. Because his challenge is steeper than Reagan’s, he should not wait until September to marshal his best arguments….Granted, an inherent risk with bragging about economic data is that it can go south….But a review of the original Morning in America spot reminds us that emotion, not data, made it resonate….A Biden version of Morning in America could sound like this: It’s morning in America. Today, more Americans will go to work than ever in our country’s history….Why not lift directly from the original’s first line? It’s technically accurate as a matter of raw numbers: in every month of 2023, for the first time, over 160 million Americans were employed. But the unemployment rate has been at 4 percent or below for the last two years, which hasn’t happened in over 50 years. Even if the unemployment rate ticks up some, the line will almost surely remain technically true…And we’re building things in America again…As of January 2024, we have 13 million manufacturing workers (about 8 percent of the workforce), the most in 15 years….We’re enjoying the fruits of our labor, living in safer neighborhoods, and taking more vacations….The 2023 murder rate is down 12 percent from the prior year, according to crime data analyst Jeff Asher, and all violent crime (through the third quarter of 2023) is down 8 percent. ….Then, to close the ad, why change a word?….It’s morning again in America, and under the leadership of President Biden, our country is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return to where we were less than four short years ago?….Ideally, the Biden campaign would tap people from all walks of life—small business owners, PTA presidents, first responders, community bankers, blue-collar workers, stay-at-home parents, community college students, and retirees—from every state or even every county, to echo similar messages in local media about how the economy has turned around. Such a communications effort would till the soil for a national Morning in America campaign, which would not have to consist of just one ad but several versions tailored to different demographics.”

Democrats have often faulted  evangelical Republican members of congresss for violating the separation of church and state. But Washington Post syndicated columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. reports on a unique challenge Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CONN) has posed to House Speaker Mikie Johnson (R-LA), connecting New Testament teachings to GOP policies. As Dionne, writes, “Because Johnson’s brand of Christianity is decidedly right-wing, he has since faced much criticism and reproof — which is entirely fair for a politician who has chosen to make his religious convictions so central to his public life. But Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), whose progressivism on issues related to economic justice is rooted in her Catholic tradition’s social teaching, has another way of approaching the question….I was not surprised when she recently called me to report that she had been thinking a lot about Johnson’s comment on the Bible explaining his outlook. Her purpose, she said, was not to question Johnson’s commitment to Christianity. On the contrary, DeLauro went out of her way to be respectful to Johnson’s spiritual life….“He is a man of faith, I start from there,” DeLauro said. “And he says his beliefs are rooted in the Bible, and many of us believe that. … The Bible is replete with guidance, of attention to act as a community, to focus in on the poor,” she said. “And the Bible lays out a faith-based policy agenda. It espouses social justice.”….And off she went, citing Exodus’s command not to oppress the poor or the stranger whose cry God will hear; Leviticus on setting aside of a share of the harvest for the poor; the Gospel of Matthew on the need for a living wage; the letter of James on the obligation not to show favoritism for the rich over the needy…..DeLauro wanted to be clear that however much she disagrees with Johnson on a slew of questions, she was not accusing him of anything. Instead, she wants to invite him to a dialogue on what taking the Bible seriously means.”

One comment on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Martin Lawford on

    It would be a fatal mistake for Biden to plagiarize Reagan. I am surprised that Bill Scher does not know why. Biden’s 1988 Presidential campaign was ruined when Biden was caught plagiarizing Neil Kinnock, an Labour MP, and when Biden’s plagiarism in law school drew attention. Imagine the ridicule Biden would attract by plagiarizing Reagan.


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