washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

From  ‘The Converstion,’ via Fast Company: “Republicans in Congress use taxpayer-funded email messages to contact constituents more often, and perhaps more effectively, than their Democratic counterparts….That’s what I’ve found over 15 years of compiling and analyzing the archive that I call DCinbox, a free and open real-time archive of every official e-newsletter sent by sitting members of Congress to their constituents….The messages reveal fundamental differences in how each party seeks to connect with and inform their constituents: Republicans prefer visual elements and strategic timing, and Democrats prefer more text-heavy missives….Over the past 15 years, Republicans have won only slightly more seats in the House and Senate than Democrats. But once in office, Republicans use this email perk far more than Democrats….In every month I’ve been tracking these messages—except briefly in the middle of 2010, when Democrats held 59% of all the seats in Congress, and for 9 of the 11 months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and early 2021—Republicans have sent many more official e-newsletters to constituents than Democrats have….Republicans also tend to be more attuned to the leisure reading habits of people. They send a greater number of their emails on weekendswhen people are likely to have weekend time to take them in. Democrats are more likely to send their messages during the workweek….Republicans in Congress are more consistent in using key terms and phrases than Democrats….By contrast, Democrats are far less likely to have overlapping term usage or phrasing. That suggests they are not as focused on coordinating constituent communications as Republicans….GOP legislators tend to adopt phrases that originate with policy oriented journalists, academics, and protesters on the left into a convenient, and dismissive, shorthand. Terms like Green New Deal, critical race theory, defund the police, and Bidenomics are all used commonly in official Republican e-newsletters railing against Democratic policy proposals….Democrats in Congress didn’t have a similar sort of concerted effort to use a Republican-originated word or phrase until 2022, when they began to use the term MAGA as a way to tell constituents about parts of the Republican agenda they disagree with. And even then, only 292 e-newsletters from Democrats have used MAGA, while Republicans have sent 1,531 messages deriding the Green New Deal, 496 about critical race theory, 824 with defund the police, and 330 saying Bidenomics….Republicans use more images than Democrats and tend to refer constituents to more media outlets, including those that support right-wing views.”

“Young progressive voters, the backbone and the future of the Democratic Party, are at an increasing risk of turning against the party wholescale each day the war in Gaza continues,” Yint Hmu writes in “Biden’s progressive voter strategy must include a Gaza cease-fire” at The Hill, “Foreign policy rarely tops the issues people rank when casting their votes unless something has gone horribly wrong. But this is one of those times when U.S. involvement in multiple wars abroad, especially in Gaza, is shifting more people to prioritize foreign policy in their 2024 issues of importance….Over the last few years, despite an onslaught of obstructionism by MAGA-supporting Republicans, the Biden administration and the Democrats have delivered or made concrete progress on a wide swath of issues that are important to young progressives: from climate actions to gun regulationsreproductive rights protectionsstudent loan cancellations and more….While the degree to whether what has been done has gone far enough or fast enough is debatable, the direction is undeniable. It is a complete turnaround from the years when Donald Trump and the Republicans were in charge….Despite the accomplishments of this administration, visceral opposition to the U.S. government’s support of the war in Gaza risks turning young progressives into single-issue voters. To be clear, young progressives are not likely to cross over to vote for Trump, they will simply opt out of the election or vote third-party even with the knowledge that Trump will be worse….The 18-34 age group has spent their lives living through the global war on terror, the Iraq War, the Great Recession, a global pandemic, routine mass shootings and massive wealth inequality. To see the party they support and elect to office pursue a policy of months-long unconditional support for the Israeli government’s invasion of Gaza is having devastating effects on voter enthusiasm…. And Democrats don’t just need young progressives to vote, they need them to knock on doors, phone bank and mobilize their friends and families offline and online. Social media platforms have fundamentally shifted how voters receive information and perceive politics. Young progressives, especially young progressive activists, serve as important leaders, messengers and validators in their respective social networks.'”

In “Democrats say they’re opening 30 campaign offices, tout ‘ground game‘,” Craig Mauger reports at The Detroit News.” Democrats plan to have 30 campaign offices open in Michigan by mid-April, a strategy they say shows the strength of their ground game in a battleground state that could be key to President Joe Biden’s reelection bid….The offices will serve as organizing hubs for volunteers, according to a Friday morning announcement from the Michigan Democratic Party and Biden’s campaign….There will be three offices in Detroit, Michigan’s largest city, and others spread throughout the rest of the state, including places such as Gladwin, Grand Rapids, Marquette and Benton Harbor….In an interview, Lavora Barnes, chairwoman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said Democrats learned from Hillary Clinton’s loss to Republican Donald Trump in 2016. Getting campaign operations going early and refusing to sit back and wait are the right things to do, Barnes said….”When a race is as close as we had it in 2016 and 2020, the ground game is the difference,” Barnes said.”But in announcing the Democrats’ plans for 30 offices in Michigan, Mike Frosolone, Biden’s Michigan campaign manager, said Trump has “no visible strategy in Michigan. Democrats also said in their Friday announcement that Republicans “have yet to open a single campaign office” in the state.”

At Vox, Nicole Narea provides an update assessment of RFK, Jr.’s presidential candidacy, and she shares these observations:  “Kennedy is currently averaging about 12 percent in the polls, according to RealClearPolling. Celinda Lake, a pollster for President Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign who continues to work with the Democratic National Committee, said that’s a worrying signal for Biden, based on polling and focus groups her firm has been conducting that suggest Kennedy will pull voters from Biden. Clifford Young, who leads Ipsos’s global election and political polling risk practice, said it’s too early to be certain whether Biden or Trump stands to lose the most from Kennedy’s rise, but if he actually received such a large share of the vote, he has real potential to be a spoiler….Kennedy’s supporters span the race, age, and income spectrums, according to Ipsos’s polling. They are slightly more likely to be women and to identify as independents, leaning a bit more right than left and embracing more conservative economic policies but centrist stances on social issues, Young said….Lake said that in her polling and focus groups, about half of Kennedy’s supporters back him because they associate him with his father. Other Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents, particularly young voters, embrace his credentials as an activist environmental lawyer….Young said it’s difficult to tell at this point whether that suggests that Biden or Trump is more likely to benefit from his presence in the race….“It’s going to confuse things. Things are going to get cloudy. I don’t think it’s so easy to say that he’s gonna hurt one or the other,” he said, citing Ipsos polling showing how his supporters aren’t strong partisans and how their views on particular issues are scattered….But Lake said that “it would take a real jiujitsu of people’s thinking” for Kennedy to hurt Trump….Accordingly, Democrats have sought to hamper Kennedy’s independent bid. The party recently established a team of lawyers dedicated to ensuring that he won’t make it on more state ballots if he violates complicated ballot access rules….But Democrats may also have to work to better define him as a candidate. Democratic primary voters’ initially net-positive impression of him became net-negative once they learned more about his positions through the primary process, and that could serve as a model, Lake said.”

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