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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

David Dayen targets a glaring GOP vulnerability in his article, “Republicans Are Objectively Pro–Junk Fee: A new congressional resolution aligns Republicans with the financial industry’s fight to preserve sky-high credit card late fees” at The American Prospect. As Dayen writes: “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s $8 cap on credit card late fees has had a wild ride on the road to implementation. After being finalized last month, the rule drew a lawsuit from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which sought an injunction in Fort Worth. No credit card companies are located in Fort Worth; the venue choice was made purely to ensure that the case would be heard by a right-wing federal judge….The first district court judge assigned to the case owned a bunch of credit card company stocks and recused himself; the second judge, a Trump appointee, showed remarkable candor in saying the case had no business being in Fort Worth and should be heard in Washington. Then the far-right Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with the Trump judge and tried to pull the case back to Texas. Then one of the authors of that opinion, it turned out, also owned a bunch of credit card company stocks. He has asked for briefings on whether he should recuse himself, basically seeking outside opinions on his own personal corruption….That’s not the only attack on the late fee rule. Now congressional Republicans are coming after it, in the process finally setting up a partisan fight over the popular issue of junk fees, which the Biden administration has been pushing for the past few years. Republicans, it turns out, are objectively in favor of junk fees. And by next week, they’ll be on the record for them.” Dayen adds that “Republicans in the House and Senate have filed resolutions of disapproval of the late fee rule….Not only that, but Tim Scott, the South Carolina senator who is on the short list to be Donald Trump’s vice-presidential running mate, has taken on the role of the leading champion of junk fees. Scott, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, proudly announced this week that he’s introduced the resolution to kill the late fee rule….Every Republican, including those in swing districts, will now have to decide whether they support higher costs on Americans, which will be redistributed to the banks and the card companies….Even on the off chance that this gets through the Senate, President Biden has championed eliminating junk fees and would surely veto the bill. There’s no chance Republicans have enough votes to override him…..So not only does this vote put Republicans on the spot over junk fees, it’s a doomed vote, completely initiated by their own possible VP nominee….Few causes poll better than eliminating junk fees. One poll from Data for Progress found junk fee prevention to be at nearly 80 percent support, including 72 percent of self-identified Republicans.”

So how are American attitudes toward helping Ukraine resist Putin’s attacks playing out? According to Megan Brenan’s report on the latest Gallup poll on the subject, “As military aid for Ukraine remains stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives, Americans themselves are equally split, at 36% each, between those who believe the United States is doing too much to help Ukraine and those saying it’s not doing enough. However, this is a more favorable balance of opinion for Ukraine than last fall, when more thought the U.S. was doing too much (41%) than not enough (25%)….This comes as Americans’ perceptions of who is winning the war have also shifted, with more now saying Russia rather than Ukraine has the upper hand, although a majority of U.S. adults still see neither side as winning….Partisans remain sharply divided in their opinions of the war, with Democrats more supportive than Republicans of helping Ukraine. However, the gap is now at a record high, given the surge in Democrats’ belief since last fall that the U.S. is not doing enough. Republicans’ minimal agreement with this position hasn’t changed, and political independents’ views are closer to Republicans’ than Democrats’….The latest data are from a Gallup poll conducted March 1-17, several weeks after the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan aid package that included $60 billion in funding for Ukraine. The bill has been stuck in the U.S. House as Speaker Mike Johnson has been working to get support from his Republican caucus, which currently holds a slim two-vote majority….Democrats — and, to a lesser extent, independents — are driving the increase since October in views that the U.S. is not doing enough in the conflict. Sixty percent of Democrats (up by 22 percentage points) say U.S. support for Ukraine is insufficient, while 34% of independents (up by nine points) agree. At the same time, Republicans’ view is essentially unchanged, with 15% saying the U.S. is not doing enough….In addition, between 25% and 28% of all three party groups think the current level of help for Ukraine is about right, while 57% of Republicans, 39% of independents and 13% of Democrats think the U.S. is doing too much….Fifty-five percent of Americans think the U.S. should continue to support Ukraine in reclaiming its territory, even if that requires prolonged involvement, rather than ending the conflict as quickly as possible, even if that means ceding territory to Russia (43%). These findings are unchanged from the previous readings in October. However, the percentage of Americans who now favor continuing the fight to win back Ukraine’s territory is lower than the 62% to 66% who preferred that approach between August 2022 and June 2023.”

Elise Gould has some welcome talking points for Democratic candidates in her article, “A record-breaking recovery for Black and Hispanic workers: Prime-age employment rates have hit an all-time high alongside tremendous wage growth” at the Economic Policy Institute web pages. Among her insights: “Unemployment has been at or below 4.0% for 27 months running, the longest such stretch since the late 1960s. Low-wage workers experienced an unprecedented surge in wage growth over the last four years, as shown in our new report….These historically robust outcomes extended to Black and Hispanic workers. In 2023, the share of Black and Hispanic people ages 25-54 with a job hit an all-time high. Further, real wage growth among Black and Hispanic workers experienced a significant turnaround from the stagnant wage growth they suffered in much of the prior four decades….Black and Hispanic workers hit all-time high employment rates in 2023: The Black PA EPOP hit 77.7% in 2023, better than its previous high in 1999 (77.3%). The Hispanic PA EPOP reached 77.9%, better than its pre-pandemic high of 77.4% in 2019….Due largely to the more robust policy response, it took only four years for Black and Hispanic workers to hit pre-pandemic employment peaks in this business cycle compared with the prolonged recovery from the Great Recession—when Black and Hispanic employment only hit pre-recession levels after 11 and 12 years, respectively….Black workers in particular experienced wage growth far above their historical norm: 1.4% annually over the last four years.”

Julia Mueller explains why “Suburban women are more complicated than ‘soccer moms’” and explores the political ramifications. at The Hill: “President Biden and former President Trump are both fighting for the suburban woman voter, but she’s no longer the “soccer mom” caricature that gained traction in the ’90s….The label connotes a stereotypical picture of a white, college-educated woman, married with a couple of kids….The country’s suburbs have grown more racially and ethnically diverse, and looking at a single archetype of the suburban woman voter for 2024 risks missing key differences across the demographic….“If you want to talk about suburban women, you want to get away from the caricature. It’s much different than it was … because there are many more people of color moving into the suburbs than there were before,” said Bill Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution….In 1990, a few years before the “soccer mom” moniker caught on in the 1996 election cycle and early aughts, roughly two in 10 suburbanites living around major metro areas were people of color – but by 2020, that number was approaching five in 10, according to research Frey conducted using Census data….the diversity of women in the suburbs – and even the attitudes of the suburbs’ white women with college degrees — appear to have shifted in recent years amid new pressures and social norms, experts said….“They’re becoming more diverse, and also, the motherhood component maybe isn’t as strong as it once was,” Betsy Fischer Martin, executive director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University, said of the suburbs….Women broadly lean toward Democrats, and Biden won 56 percent of suburban women in 2020, while 54 percent of suburban men went for Trump, according to Edison Research exit polling. A new NPR/NewsHour/Marist poll released earlier this month found Biden up 28 points over Trump among college-educated white women….But white women overall went to Trump in 2020, while 90 percent of Black women and 69 percent of Hispanic women backed Biden, according to the exit polls.” However, “NBC News data analyzed this month by the firm Public Opinion Strategies found Democrats’ advantage among suburban women overall has shrunk from a 10-point margin in 2016 to a five-point edge in 2023….“It’s kind of like a double-whammy of higher mobilization in the suburbs and then greater mobilization among women, and then mobilization on issues specific around abortion,” [University of Delaware political scientist Erin] Cassese said, and even a small shift among white women could be “significant enough” to swing things in key battleground states.”

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