washington, dc

The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

J.P. Green

Political Strategy Notes

Democrats should be cautiously optimistic about the results of the Pennsylvania primary. But columnist Paul Muschick, writing in Allentown’s The Morning Call, observes, “Gov. Doug Mastriano….If that has you rummaging for your Tums, you have plenty of company. Save some for me….The Republican establishment did all it could to prevent Mastriano, a 2020 election conspiracy champion and friend of the QAnon crowd, from winning Tuesday. It doesn’t think he has a prayer of beating well-financed Democrat Josh Shapiro in November….Right-leaning Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs refused to endorse Mastriano, saying in a statement that he “would not be able to win the swing voters necessary to win in November.”….It seems as if Shapiro wanted Mastriano to be his opponent, too. He was running attack ads against him before the primary. But don’t count Mastriano out….It would be easy to predict the November gubernatorial election will be a repeat of 2018, when even-keeled, borderline boring Democrat Tom Wolf trounced Scott Wagner, a brash-talking Trump clone….I wouldn’t make that bet. The Mastriano-Shapiro race will be tight.” At Sabagto’s Crystal Ball, J. Miles Coleman writes, “Republicans are concerned about their chances in the open Pennsylvania gubernatorial race after far-right state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R) won the party’s nomination. We’re moving that race from Toss-up to Leans Democratic.”

Those following center vs. left trendlines in the Democratic miderm campaigns should read “‘Success begets success’: Progressives look for big boost from key primary wins” by Elena Schneider and Ally Mutnick at Politico. Some excerpts: “Progressives had a big night in their drive to remake the Democratic Party — when their candidates weren’t getting washed away in a flood of super PAC money….There was more outside spending in Tuesday’s Democratic House primaries than in all of their 2020 primaries combined, much of it used to boost moderate Democrats or bash progressive ones. But progressive candidates in several key races showed they could survive the deluge….Summer Lee, who rallied with Sen. Bernie Sanders last week, is hanging on to a narrow Democratic primary lead for a deep-blue seat based in Pittsburgh, where she faced $2 million in negative spending against her. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), one of only two incumbents endorsed so far in 2022 by President Joe Biden, is trailing badly in his redrawn district to Jamie McLeod-Skinner, an Elizabeth Warren-backed challenger who was outspent on TV 11-to-1 by Schrader and his allies, according to AdImpact, a media tracking firm….And this week’s marquee Senate contest was a crowning achievement for the left: John Fetterman, a Sanders supporter who shuns intra-party labels altogether, beat out moderate Rep. Conor Lamb for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania….There were notable losses for the progressive wing, as well, in North Carolina and Kentucky, where a trio of more moderate Democratic House candidates won primaries — with significant super PAC support. But overall, the results represented a step forward in progressives’ bid to reshape the Democratic congressional caucuses with new faces and more left-leaning policy views….“Success begets success, so moderates were emboldened by Shontel Brown’s victory [in Ohio earlier this month], and Summer Lee will embolden Jessica Cisneros and Kina Collins,” Shahid continued, citing a pair of progressive challengers running against incumbents in the upcoming Texas and Illinois primaries.” Looking ahead, however, Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, said that Tuesday’s primaries were “an indication that our strategy is working … but we can also do math, and we understand what it means when people are making seven-digit buys” against progressive candidates….Even more of that type of race is on the horizon, including member-versus-member primaries and open-seat battles in Illinois, California, New York and Florida.”

In “The Battle for State Legislatures” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Louis Jaobson explains “Given the longstanding polarization and gridlock in Washington, D.C., state lawmakers will decide many key policies state-by-state — particularly on reproductive health issues if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade this year. Legislatures could also try to meddle in presidential elections, as then-President Donald Trump asked some to do after the 2020 election….When all the ballots were counted [in 2020], Democrats failed to flip a single GOP-held chamber; the GOP flipped 2, both in New Hampshire. Today, the playing field looks likely to be considerably smaller….This is my first handicapping of state legislative control for the 2022 election cycle….Our analysis is based on interviews with dozens of state and national political sources….At this point, we see 4 chambers as Toss-ups. Of these, 3 of 4 are held by Democrats and are considered prime GOP targets of opportunity: the Maine Senate and House, and the Minnesota House. Meanwhile, the fourth Toss-up is the Democrats’ best target: the Republican-held Michigan Senate….Meanwhile, 3 chambers rate as Lean Republican. One is Democratic-held, and thus leans toward a flip: the Alaska House….The other 2 Lean Republican chambers are the Michigan House and the Minnesota Senate. Both are currently held by the GOP. (Not counting Alaska, Minnesota is the only state that has elections scheduled this year that has its 2 chambers under divergent partisan control — Virginia is another, but it holds legislative elections in odd-numbered years.)…Finally, we rate 3 chambers Lean Democratic: the Colorado Senate, Nevada Senate, and Oregon Senate….All told, that’s 10 chambers that rate as competitive — a relatively small number for recent cycles. Most of them are held by Democrats, putting the party on defense.”

Jacobson shares this map showing current party control of the state legislatures:


Political Strategy Notes

Some perspective from “Go Local, Young Democrat: How nationalization of everything is widening the urban-rural divide, and what Democrats can do about it” by Robert Saldin and Kal Munis at Democracy: A Journal of Ideas: “The results of the 2020 election solidified the urban-rural divide as the defining heuristic of contemporary American electoral politics. But just when it seemed that things couldn’t get any worse for rural Democrats, the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election demonstrated that it was still somehow possible for Democrats to perform worse in rural areas than they had done during the previous five years, both in the commonwealth and beyond. Nationally, the Democrats’ density woes have hamstrung their ability to pursue their legislative agenda, as their now routine majorities in terms of raw vote totals are rarely distributed in such a way as to produce a governing majority. Democrats must find a way to disrupt the nationalized political narrative both for their own sake as well as that of American democracy more broadly….Many Democrats would prefer to ignore their rural problem since making a play for rural voters might require compromises in the pursuit of their progressive agenda….it’s not only dubious as a matter of civics to write off the nation’s rural voters—it’s a serious strategic error that imperils Democrats’ ability to hold the Senate, let alone dominate it. Democrats should also keep in mind that states are not uniformly “rural” or “urban”: Competitiveness in rural areas would enhance the party’s prospects in more populous states, too. If Democrats could avoid handing over so much of the rural vote to Republicans in key battlegrounds like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, they would have a near-lock on the Electoral College….There are two core approaches that they must take simultaneously to mitigate the nationalization that has rendered them noncompetitive in rural areas, one defensive and one offensive. First, Democrats running in these areas need to play a little defense in obvious ways, like actively rebranding themselves on mainstay political issues like the Second Amendment and abortion….The second and more important key is to go on the offensive to creatively localize their races by adopting popular positions on issues that don’t cleanly map onto national partisan cleavages. This offensive strategy allows candidates to offer tangible help to rural communities while also carrying the pleasant upside of facing far less intraparty pushback since focusing on these issues would not conflict with national Democratic priorities.” Read the article for more details.

Also at Democracy, Sarah Miller and Faiz Shakir write in “Politics: The Democrats Progress” that “The problem is that Democrats’ approach to politics has yet to adjust to its evolving embrace of populist policies. Our politics is largely stuck in a cautious, corporate-friendly frame that too often projects weakness and deference to bureaucracy instead of muscularity and confident leadership….On paper, Democrats offer much-needed policy prescriptions to tackle soaring drug prices, remediate the existential threats of climate change, and demand greater taxation of the wealthy and enforcement against tax cheats. In rhetoric and political action, though, Democrats have not animated those policies with corresponding fights against the corporate lobbyists and special interests who stand in their way. Whereas FDR proclaimed of his opponents, “I welcome their hatred,” the modern Democratic Party seems to intone, “Can’t we all just get along?”….It’s becoming clearer that, for some traditional Democrats, embracing the progressive populist direction—and the requisite political battles it entails—is like wearing an ill-fitting suit….There is an ongoing battle for the soul of the party. The good news is that it’s still possible for Democrats to revive their populist core and put up a fight. The bad news is that Donald Trump’s brand of faux populism has a head start. Democrats need to come to terms with the fact that the question voters in the coming years will resolve is not whether they will embrace populism—the question is whose version of populism will triumph?….Both the political and policy weaknesses of the party can be ameliorated by focusing on the economic interests of the working peoples’ votes we most need. Three critical course corrections are needed: 1) stand proudly and visibly on the side of a broad diversity of working people; 2) demonstrate that Democrats are boldly taking on political and economic concentrations of corporate power that abuse and control both workers and smaller businesses; 3) wield government power with a fervent desire for both competence and disruption.”

Nathan Robinson explains why “The Left Must Be Ruthlessly Strategic” at Current Affairs: “We are trying to achieve things that have never been done before, and there’s no playbook for how a leftist movement in this country can win….Nevertheless: we need to be aware of the dangers of symbolic or performative politics—that is, taking political actions because of what they mean or say rather than because of what they achieve. We have to adopt a strategic mindset, to think of political activity as an effort to secure particular outcomes, rather than an arena for the mere expression of our desires.” Robinson notes, further “it’s quite common to see people simply not asking basic questions like: “What are the predicted consequences of this action? How will the other side react? Will it have the ultimate effect of advancing or inhibiting our cause?”….We need to always check to make sure we’re asking the “consequences” questions. Why are we doing this? What will it cause others to do in response? How does it get us closer to or further away from the goal? Union organizers already think this way, because they have to: they’ll never win an election unless they take actions that change workers’ minds, so the effect of any action on the relevant desired outcome has to be considered. But elsewhere, the organizing mentality is often lacking….“What do we want?” and “When do we want it?” are questions that we have never struggled with the answers to. “How do we get it?” is a much tricker question, but the first step to finding the answer is to make sure we’re actually asking it.”

So, “Are We Overestimating Roe’s Impact on Politics?” At The Cook Political Report, Charlie Cook answers, “Everyone has their own take on what impact a reversal of Roe v. Wade will have on November’s midterm elections. Here’s mine: To the extent that overturning the 49-year old decision benefits Democrats at all, it won’t be nearly enough to make up for the substantial headwinds they were already facing. In short, it will help out less than they hope and far less than they need.” Cook cites data from polls by CNN, The Washington Post/ABC News and Fox News and writes, “As CNN polling director Jennifer Agiesta and polling and analytics editor Ariel Edwards-Levy wrote, “comparing the results of the new poll to one conducted immediately before the revelation of the draft opinion, the impact on the political landscape heading into the 2022 midterms appears fairly muted.”….They noted: “The share of registered voters who say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this fall rose 6 points between the first survey and the second, but that increase is about even across party lines. Among Democrats, 43% now say they are extremely or very enthusiastic, up 7 points. Among Republicans, it’s 56%, up 9 points. And voters who say overturning Roe would make them ‘happy’ are nearly twice as enthusiastic about voting this fall as those who say such a ruling would leave them ‘angry’ (38% extremely enthusiastic among those happy, 20% among those angry).”….Another consideration is timing….When dramatic events occur in politics, it is human nature to assume that their significance will endure through the election. In reality, such events tend to dwindle in importance….Finally, this election will not be held in a vacuum. Other issues—the direction of the economy, the situation along the U.S.-Mexico border, the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and climate change—will compete for voters’ attentions and concerns, to say nothing of any October surprises that may roll down the pike….Bottom line: The political system will have plenty of time to process the developments surrounding Roe, leaving its impact falling short of expectations.”


Political Strategy Notes

New York Times columnist Thomas B. Edsall quotes Harvard political scientist Ryan Enos on the political fallout of the anticipated overturning of Roe v. Wade: “At first blush, the overturning of Roe certainly seems like it could be a mobilizing event: it involves a medical procedure that is extremely common and has been experienced by a large portion of women in the United States and could materially affect the lives of millions of people. In some states, it will be the rare instance of the state taking away a right that people have previously enjoyed. To my knowledge, this has not happened since Southern states moved to strip voting rights after the end of Reconstruction….Your typical voter has only a vague notion of the ideological composition of the court, let alone how it got that way. While the Republican hijacking of the court to push an ideological agenda seems like a grave injustice to many of us, understanding why this is an injustice takes a level of engagement with politics that most voters simply don’t have….A more likely way for Roe to matter is that the most active Democrats, those who donate money and volunteer, will be animated for the midterm. Democrats were so animated by Donald Trump that they brought an energy to the election in 2020 that was impossible for them to sustain. While this might return in 2024 if Trump is on the ballot, it was not going to be there in 2022 without a catalyzing force — overturning Roe might be that force.”

At The Daily Beast, Sam Brodey notes, “In the absence of tangible results, Democrats are attempting to turn the conversation to the hardline actions Republicans would take on abortion if they control Congress….Republican leaders and campaign organizations have largely been reluctant to amplify their anti-abortion views in the last week, Democrats believe they have more than enough material to work with in persuading voters that the GOP would embrace extreme measures….One Democratic aide said that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s remark that a national abortion ban would be “possible” under a GOP majority was “a gift for us.”…The party’s nominee for Senate in Ohio, Rep. Tim Ryan, ran Facebook ads saying that his “extremist opponent”—J.D. Vance—“supports the end of Roe.” Vance has gone so far as to state he does not believe there should be abortion access even in cases of rape or incest….A Roe rollback “gives us the opportunity to show the stakes of holding the House in a way we’ve struggled to do so far this cycle,” said one swing-district campaign aide….Regardless of how Democratic voters and donors respond to that pitch, the biggest fundraising shift brought about by the Roe news could be an unprecedented level of focus, and dollars, to often overlooked state-level races.”

“To suggest that the collapse of Roe could effectively inspire the sort of movement-building for the broader left that it has for the right is to misunderstand at once the class politics of abortion and the role it’s played within both parties, Natalie Shure writes in “The End of Roe v. Wade Won’t Motivate Democrats” in The New Republic. “As much as we might wish otherwise, the most plausible impact the end of Roe v. Wade will have on electoral politics is little to none at all….In short, the anti-abortion movement is class war disguised as culture war, and reproductive justice must entail not just the right to abortion but resource redistribution and funding of the sorts of universal programs that the far right has used issues like abortion to block. (Compare a comprehensive reproductive justice demand to the pro-choice movement’s political strategy, which in no small part amounts to giving money to corporate Democrats.)….Once you reframe abortion as a top-down class war, it’s easy to see why the fall of Roe won’t amp people up the way some expect it to. While higher-class women understandably see Roe as a powerful guarantor of their personhood and equal status with men, poorer women have already lacked Roe’s protections for a long time—and it’s unclear whether an oppressed population already long under political siege and less likely to vote will be thrust toward an epiphany by a SCOTUS ruling. In polls, the people who report caring most about abortion relative to other issues are young, progressive, educated, concentrated in cities, and of higher income—already one of the Democratic Party’s strongest bases. The moderate suburban voters some analysis predicted could be brought into the Democratic fold have largely already entered, in 2018 and 2020—and even if they disapprove of overturning Roe, polls suggest they may not care quite enough to prioritize it over other issues.”

From “The Truth About Inflation: Saudi Arabia and Russia fueled inflation, but Biden’s relief plan probably didn’t, and there are hopeful signs even with high prices likely to continue into 2023” by Robert Shapiro at The Washington Monthly: “While consumer prices rose 8.2 percent from April 2021 to April 2022, prices for energy commodities (mainly oil, natural gas, and coal) jumped 45 percent, fuel oil prices soared 81 percent, and gasoline prices increased 44 percent. Unsurprisingly, inflation is much higher for goods that need lots of energy to produce and transport, so prices have jumped 17.3 percent for cars and trucks, 9.4 percent for food, and 12.1 percent for large appliances. But services need much less energy, and over the past year, prices increased only 1.2 percent for doctors’ services, 1.7 percent for prescription drugs, and 2.1 percent for college tuition….The current inflation is not only about energy. Many economists emphasize the strong demand from the 2021 boom colliding with global supply chain problems in China and at American ports. The pandemic shook up the economy, and those effects have contributed to inflation….The bad news is that energy markets expect Russia and the Saudis to keep oil prices high well into 2023. Those oil prices will keep inflation relatively high in the energy-dependent goods that everyone uses every day, here and in much of the world—including European countries that provided much less pandemic-related relief. And fortunately, the recent jump in oil prices is likely a one-time event that may dog us for another year or so.” If Shapiro is right, Democrats shouldn’t waste too much time trying to fix inflation or justify Biden’s economic policies. Time is short anyway. Better to instensify Democratic attacks on their Republican opponents, who have coddled Russia and Saudi Arabia, as well as price gouging corporations. A good mantra for Democratic midterm candidates going forward: “Don’t defend, attack fiercely and frequently.”


Political Strategy Notes

At Slow Boring, Matthew Yglesias reviews the history of factional disputes in the Democratic party over the last couple of decades and offers some tips for rectifying current internal conflicts, including: “…there’s no cheat code that lets you do politics in a way that is detached from the contours of public opinion, including the reality that self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals by a large margin, so to win, Democrats need to secure large margins among self-identified moderates….The implications of that for positioning on specific issues vary, but it makes a big difference in terms of the overall approach. Running around and promising “sweeping,” “bold,” “structural” change is probably a bad idea compared to “common-sense reforms.”….reflecting how Martin Luther King, Bayard Rustin, and other Civil Rights Movement leaders thought about the questions facing America after the successes of the early 1960s….involves exhorting people to find unity in common economic uplift rather than emphasizing elite-level diversity or the need to center the racial angle in every controversy.”….Americans in Iowa and Ohio and Florida were ready to vote twice for Barack Obama based on a message of unity. And while I think his administration had serious failings, I think these were mostly failures of technical policy analysis (especially about the deficit/stimulus balance) rather than basic political judgment.”

To get and share some simple clarity to the debate about the threat to Roe v. Wade, read “Do Republicans want to throw doctors who break abortion laws in jail? Their plans say yes” by Jon Greenberg at Politifact. As Greenberg writes, “Over a dozen Republican-controlled states have passed abortion laws that permit jail sentences for doctors….45 Republicans in the U.S. Senate sponsored or co-sponsered the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, that would impose a prison sentence of up to five years.” Greenberg notes further, “The day after the leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion reversing Roe v. Wade, the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent lawmakers and candidates suggested talking points on abortion….The May 3 guidance advised Republicans to show compassion for pregnant women, criticize Democratic positions, and emphasize “the facts” about Republican policies….One of those facts was: “Republicans DO NOT want to throw doctors and women in jail. Mothers should be held harmless under the law.” Say it plain, Dems. This is pure horeshite. “In Florida,” Greenberg notes, “Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on April 14 that, with some exceptions, bans abortions after 15 weeks. Doctors that violate the law are guilty of a third degree felony. That carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.” In OK, a physician can get 10 years. In TX, it’s 5 to life, 10 to 99 in AL. The NRSC memo shows Republicans fear these facts, and Dems would be guilty of malpractice not to share them loudly and often.

Kyle Kondik, Larry Schack and Mick McWilliams explain “How Abortion Might Motivate or Persuade Voters in the Midterms” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “In a forthcoming analysis of voters based on their 2022 voting intentions, we found that “Preventing women from losing access to safe and legal abortion services” emerges as one of the stronger issues for motivating Democratic base and swing voters to get to the polls in 2022 and potentially persuading Republican-leaning voters near the Democratic vs. Republican dividing line to shift their voting intentions to the other side from their present leanings. However, the data also suggest that abortion is more powerful in motivating Democrats than persuading Republican swing voters. Still, these voters present as open to maintaining a woman’s right to choose on abortion and the idea that America should be doing more to ensure this, not less. There are also other salient issues/messages for these voters besides abortion, which we’ll explore more in-depth in that forthcoming piece….Looking forward, it’s very much unclear what will happen with abortion in the 2022 election. For starters, we do not even know if the U.S. Supreme Court’s eventual opinion in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will be the same as the one that Politico reported on earlier this week. We also know that, abortion aside, this looks like a Republican-leaning political environment, both based on history and the president’s weak approval ratings….But our analysis does suggest that 1. The public, broadly speaking, is more supportive of abortion rights and more concerned about women’s access to abortion services than not and 2. There are voters who may be animated by Roe vs. Wade being overturned, which could give Democrats a desperately-needed shot in the arm this November given their many other political problems this year. Whether abortion would trump the concerns that persuadable voters have on other issues — such as inflation and broader economic concerns, where the Democrats appear very vulnerable — remains to be seen, but we may find out if and when the Supreme Court releases their potentially explosive actual opinion on abortion.”

At FivThirtyEight, Geoffrey Skelley takres a look at “The 10 Governorships Most Likely To Flip Parties In 2022,” and writes: “As it turns out, the two most likely seats to flip may be Maryland and Massachusetts, where popular Republican governors are leaving office, and the GOP could end up nominating candidates who struggle to appeal in those deep-blue states. Meanwhile, primary battles in Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could also hurt GOP efforts to capture Democratic-held governorships. After all, while gubernatorial races have become more nationalized, voters still show a greater tendency to break from their baseline partisan preferences in these races than in contests for Congress, meaning a poor nominee can still cause the seemingly favored party to stumble….That said, even though Republicans have two of the toughest seats to defend this cycle, they also have their own juicy target in Kansas, the reddest state Democrats control. Moreover, Democrats hold more highly competitive seats, which could easily flip. Based on early race ratings data from Inside Elections, Sabato’s Crystal Ball and The Cook Political Report, we’ve identified 10 states that are especially competitive, six of which Democrats currently control. This list could certainly change, but at this point, the GOP is playing on friendlier turf….”


Brownstein: ‘New American Majority’ Report Presents Tough Calls for Dems

In “The voter turnout gap may be even bigger than we think” at CNN Politics, Ronald Brownstein writes that, according to a new study, “while people of color will continue their steady growth to become nearly 2 in every 5 eligible voters by 2030, the gap in voter turnout between minorities and Whites, as well as between younger and older generations, is even wider than commonly understood.” In addition,

“The data say we have a big problem, bigger than we thought,” says Tom Lopach, president and CEO of the Voter Participation Center and the Center for Voter Information, the two liberal-leaning non-profit groups that released the report last week. The groups focus on increasing participation among what they call the “New American Majority” – unmarried women, voters younger than 35 and people of color, all constituencies that mostly vote Democratic (even though Republicans have made recent gains among some of them).

The study’s conclusions could inflame the already smoldering debate among Democrats over where the party should place its greatest electoral emphasis. While the study’s sponsors say it shows the need for greater efforts to energize younger and non-White adults now voting at lower rates, it could also encourage the rising chorus of centrist party voices who say Democrats must emphasize positions more popular with moderate and even right-leaning adults who are more reliable voters. That pool of potential supporters includes some Hispanics but is centered on the non-college-educated White voters whose generation-long shift toward the GOP became a stampede in the Donald Trump era.

The study also points to a more civic, less partisan, challenge: a widening gap between an increasingly diverse population, especially among younger generations, and electoral results disproportionately shaped by the preferences of White voters, particularly older White voters. That could be a formula for growing social tension, political polarization and doubts about the legitimacy of governmental decisions.

Brownstein adds that “The study places turnout among Black and Latino voters at a much lower level not only than the official Census Bureau numbers, which many experts think are inflated, but also than the estimates by Catalist, a leading Democratic voter-targeting firm.” Further,

The report projects that people of color will grow from 28% of eligible voters in 2010 and 34% in 2020 to just over 38% by 2030. Adding in all the groups the organization defines as the “New American Majority” – all people of color, White unmarried women and White voters under 35 – raises the total from 57% of eligible voters in 2010 to 63% in 2030….By 2030, it estimates, these groups will compose at least two-thirds or more of the eligible population in three Sun Belt states that now lean at least slightly toward Republicans: Florida, Georgia and Texas. The report ranks Florida and Texas, as well as Arizona, another Sun Belt battleground that still leans slightly Republican, among the states where the three groups will increase their share of the population fastest.

Looking at turnout rates, Brownstein continues, “The Census Bureau, for instance, estimated that the share of Whites who turned out in 2020 (just over 70%) was about 9 percentage points higher than the share of African Americans (61%) and about 18 points higher than the share of Latinos (52%). Catalist, the Democratic targeting firm, put the gaps somewhat wider, at 11 points between Whites and Blacks and 24 points between Whites and Latinos.” Worse, for Dems,

But the new study found a much more forbidding chasm. For 2020 it placed the White turnout gap at 25 points with Blacks and at nearly 35 points with Latinos. (The report concludes that only a little over half of eligible Blacks and two-fifths of Latinos voted.) What’s more, the study concluded that the turnout gap between Whites and all voters of color was at least 14 points in every state and even higher in many states where Democrats and progressive groups have spent heavily on grassroots organizing and/or voter turnout efforts – including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania – than in states where neither side invests much money, including Alabama and South Carolina. In the 2016 election, the new study likewise concludes, turnout among Blacks and Hispanics was much lower than either the Census Bureau or Catalist had found, while White turnout was slightly higher than either had estimated.

Looking back over the past three presidential elections, the report concluded the turnout gap between Whites and all non-Whites has actually expanded – more than doubling, in fact, over that period. The reason is that even though the share of all minorities casting ballots slightly increased from 2012 to 2020, White turnout has increased much more, according to the study’s estimates.

Brownstein notes, “many of the Sun Belt states where the demographic change is advancing most quickly are also among those where the Republicans now holding statewide power are erecting the most obstacles to voting, including Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas.”

“For all these reasons,” Brownstein explains, “while the groups sponsoring the study believe its findings argue for increased efforts to turn out younger and non-White voters, the results could also encourage the Democratic operatives and analysts who are arguing the party can’t rely on such mobilization. Since 2020 that loose circle – which includes Democratic voices such as David Shor, Ruy Teixeira, Bill Galston and Elaine Kamarck – has argued that the party must instead focus on winning back more working-class voters, especially Whites but also increasingly Latinos, by moving toward the center, particularly on cultural issues such as crime and immigration.”

All of the available data indicate that Democrats can’t afford much more leakage by any constituency in our evenly polarized electorate. There are trade-offs to be navigated with every policy choice, and the challenge for Dems is to hold on as much as possible to their supporters while targeting swing sub-groups with precision campaigning. Check out Andrew Levison’s recent strategy report on how Dems can win “culturally traditional but non-extremist working class voters” for one such approach.


Political Strategy Notes

If you were wondering “What Would Striking Down Roe v. Wade Mean For The Midterms?,” FiveThirtyEight has an excellent panel discussion for that. Some insights from the panelists: “nrakich (Nathaniel Rakich, senior elections analyst): Yeah, this is example No. 48,329 of why state-level politics are important — maybe more important than federal politics.”….”geoffrey.skelley (Geoffrey Skelley, elections analyst): Republicans are also in a better position to push laws that ban abortions — if they haven’t already. Currently, Republicans have full control of the government in 22 states, while Democrats only have “trifectas” in 14 states. The other 13 states have divided governments (including Alaska), but some of those states are pretty Republican and could fall under full GOP control in 2022 or 2023, such as Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana.”….”alex (Alex Samuels, politics reporter): Exactly. Scrapping the filibuster will definitely become a pressing topic once again. While Congress does technically have the ability to codify the legal principles outlined in Roe, doing so would require Democrats in the Senate to get rid of the 60-vote threshold needed to pass legislation….as we’ve written time and time again, certain senators have long been opposed to doing that….But even if nuking the filibuster were realistically on the table and Democrats could codify Roe into law, there’s really nothing precluding Republicans from then reversing that if they take back control of the House and Senate later this year, right? As we already know, the midterm environment is likely to favor Republicans this year, too.”….”ameliatd: Well, and there’s always the possibility that the Supreme Court would overrule a federal law that protects abortion rights. Dare I say it, I ultimately think this isn’t going to be something that Democratic politicians feel a lot of pressure around until abortion rights are actually gone in half the country and people start to see what that means.”….”nrakich: I don’t know. The only scenario where I could see Democrats passing a pro-abortion bill is if, in 2023, they somehow hold the House and pick up seats in the Senate. If they win, say, 52 seats, the votes could be there to abolish the filibuster. But Democrats holding the House and picking up seats in the Senate is a pretty unlikely scenario….On the flip side, I think the soonest Republicans could enact a national abortion ban would be 2025: They’d have to flip not only the Senate and House but also the presidency.”

The panel discussion coninues: “geoffrey.skelley:…If the GOP ends up with a large Senate majority after the 2024 election, they might be more inclined to get rid of the filibuster than a narrow Democratic majority currently is — especially if Democrats are blocking some major Republican goals in 2025.”….sarah: Americans have a complicated relationship to abortion in that they support a number of different restrictions, some of which are out of step with Roe. But at the same time, most Americans do not want Roe overturned….This poll from NBC News was conducted earlier this year, but it found that voters, including independents, not only supported Roe but also weren’t in favor of candidates who wanted to overturn Roe….If the court were to overturn Roe this term, then doesn’t this have the potential to shake up the midterms in ways that we can’t really anticipate now?”….ameliatd: There’s a myth that Americans are personally conflicted about abortion. But that’s not really true. The vast majority of Americans think abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances — we’re talking 85-90 percent. So completely banning abortion would be highly unpopular. Public opinion on abortion sometimes looks muddy because people don’t like talking and thinking about abortion, and because they especially don’t like to deal with it as a political issue. But I suspect that when confronted with the reality of a post-Roe country, that could change. Will it happen in time for the midterms, though? I’m not sure.”….sarah: That’s a good point, Amelia. This ABC News/Washington Post pollwas conducted before Alito’s draft opinion was leaked, but I think it’s striking how unaware many people were when it came to the abortion landscape in their state. It found that in the 22 states that have passed abortion restrictions since 2020, only 30 percent of residents were aware of the restrictions. Forty-four percent said they weren’t aware, and 26 percent said they were unsure.”

Also: “alex: I’m torn on the effects this will have on the midterms. On the one hand, some polling suggests that protecting abortion rights is a priority for Democrats in particular….According to a December poll from the Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 13 percent of Democrats named abortion or reproductive rights as one of the issues they wanted Congress to address in 2022. And that’s a marked increase from two other times the poll asked the question: Less than 1 percent of Democrats called it a priority in 2021, and only 3 percent did in 2020….That said, it’s not immediately clear to me whether gutting Roe would hurt Republicans in the midterms. Gallup found in March, for instance, that Americans do not consider abortion to be a critical problem facing the nation.”….”geoffrey.skelley: What’s tricky about this is that the people who are most in favor of abortion rights are college-educated, and while those people have backed Democrats in recent elections, they are far from a majority of the electorate. For abortion to make a big difference in the election, you’d need to see other groups of voters shifting back toward Democrats on this issue. And I’m skeptical abortion is going to supplant the economy and inflationas the top issues Americans are worried about — not when Biden’s approval rating will likely still be in the low 40s and there’s little sign that inflation is going to fully stabilize before the election.”….nrakich: Yeah, Geoffrey, I’m not sure it will change many people’s actual votes; if you support abortion rights, you’re probably already voting Democratic. It could, however, increase Democratic enthusiasm to turn out in a year when Republicans might otherwise have an enthusiasm advantage….According to a CNN/SSRS poll from January, 35 percent of Americans said they would be “angry” if the Supreme Court overturned Roe. And that group was disproportionately Democratic: 51 percent of Democrats said they would be angry (significantly more than the 29 percent of Republicans who said they would be “happy”). And, to put it simply, angry people vote.”….”alex: This is somewhat speculative, but it is possible that overturning Roe could energize younger progressives and women. I know both groups already lean Democratic, but maybe Democrats could use this to motivate groups that have soured somewhat on Biden since he became president?”

Democrats should be forgiven if they are a bit unnerved by Tuesday’s primary results in Ohio. Not on the Democratic side – Tim Ryan’s convincing win means that Dems will have a strong contender for a pick-up of retiring Republican Rob Portman’s seat in the U.S. Senate. But on the Republican side, J.D. Vance’s victory demonstrated the power of Trump’s endorsement and an infusion of big donor cash. As Jacob Rubashkin notes at FiveThirtyEight, “Vance didn’t lead in a single poll until Trump endorsed him. He was struggling to raise money or defend against attacks about his past anti-Trump comments, and the super PAC giving him air cover was running low on funds and sounding the alarm in a major way….One guy who has to be pretty happy tonight is Peter Thiel, the billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur who bankrolled Vance’s run in Ohio to the tune of $13.5 million….Thiel is making some big plays in politics lately, and he has another candidate, Blake Masters, in the Arizona Senate primary. Trump hasn’t endorsed in that primary yet, but he recently made a virtual appearance at a Masters event. Tonight’s big win by Vance could work in Masters’s favor, but that primary isn’t until August.” However, Rubashkin adds, “The Tim Ryan campaign was ready for J.D. Vance’s win tonight. They just dropped a pre-produced video in which Ryan, seated in a diner, goes after Vance as a “celebrity, CNN analyst, and a big hit at Washington cocktail parties.” I wonder how many other potential opponents they cut ads about.” However, Trump’s influence could be a bit overstated, as Geoffrey Skelley notes: “It’s not that his endorsement can move mountains, but in a crowded race with voters uncertain of where to go, Trump’s backing can make a significant difference….It was a crowded race with a handful of tenable Republican candidates, and the former president picked one, and that was enough to get him over the line.”


Political Strategy Notes

Can Democrats knock Republicans off their two-faced midterm strategy?,” E. J. Dionne, Jr. asks in his Washington Post column. Dionne’s take: “Polls for congressional contests are closer than the conventional wisdom suggests about impending Democratic catastrophe. Some even give Democrats a slight lead in generic surveys for House races. A Washington Post/ABC News poll released Sunday found Democrats with 46 percent among registered voters, Republicans with 45. But the Republicans’ two-step, and enthusiasm in their base, give the GOP confidence about the fall….Democrats, being Democrats, are wringing their hands with apprehension. They often blame each other for the party’s troubles — the left goes after the center, the center assails the left, and the congressional and White House wings sometimes seem to be speaking different languages….But there are signs that Democrats, collectively, have begun to identify the first task in front of them: to call out the stark contradiction inherent in the GOP’s strategy and to force the Republican Party as a whole to own the meanness of its loudest voices….Even if they salvage some of the president’s climate and social spending this spring, Democrats realize they can’t prevail on accomplishments alone. They need to force voters to confront what a vote for Republicans could lead to….“I think we make a mistake if we don’t go straight at Republicans on their obsession with these very narrowcast, broadly unpopular cultural fights,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told me during an interview. “It’s just not true that it’s popular to pick on gay kids. That riles up a subsection of the Republican base.”….Murphy has been at the forefront in pushing Democrats toward a more aggressive strategy. His approach was on display in a widely shared tweet last weekend: “Republicans fight Disney to force them to discriminate against gay kids. Democrats fight drug companies to force them to lower insulin prices for sick kids. Run on that.”….The point, he told me, is to “call out their bigotry and their obsession with these wedge social issues and contrast it … with our decision to spend our time working on issues that matter to a much broader cross-section of Americans.”….Yes, 2022 will be a challenging year for Democrats. But playing offense is a better political bet than playing defense. And wagering that the basic decency of moderate voters will inspire a recoil from intolerance and culture-war obsessions is a fine place to start.”

Charlie Cook addresses the question, “Could Roe Change the Subject This November?” at The Cook Political Report, then responds:”Democrats need the subject of this election to change, to shift away from them and toward Republicans—a tall order indeed when the GOP is out of power and not held responsible for much that does or does not happen. Keeping in mind that election years are notoriously unproductive in terms of legislation, if something happens to shift the focus of this election, it is more likely to come from the opposite side of First Street than where the Senate and House chambers are situated: that is, the Supreme Court….A reversal of Roe would basically punt the entire abortion issue to the states to fight over, just as they did on partisan (though not racial) gerrymandering. But given how many states are already safely ensconced in the back pockets of one party or the other, a substantial share of the electorate lives in states where little change in state abortion law is likely. States that preponderantly favor abortion rights are unlikely to enact antiabortion legislation, and vice versa. Potential change is more likely in states on the bubble, where the partisan and state legislative balance is either evenly balanced or in transition….The states worth watching are pretty much the swing states that we see on the presidential, senatorial, and gubernatorial levels. One could do a lot worse than focus on the six states that political sage Doug Sosnik identifies as critical for 2022 and, arguably, 2024 as well: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada….In terms of individual minds being changed, it is unlikely that a reversal or near reversal of Roe would have much more than a ripple. Those most likely to be outraged by a reversal are mostly either already in the Democratic camp or find themselves cross-pressured on many issues, thus hardly likely to be single-issue voters. Those who would greet such a decision in a jubilant fashion are already on the GOP side, making motivation the only game in town, not persuasion….If any issue or event on the radar screen could shift the focus of this election, it would be Roe, but the prospect of it changing which way the river is flowing is pretty unlikely.”

From Harry Enten’s “The 3 things that need to happen for Democrats to keep the Senate” at CNN Politics: “For Senate Democrats to have a good election night in November, some combination of at least three things needs to happen….1. Republicans nominate weak candidates. The 2022 Senate map is not that great for the GOP, with all Democrats up for reelection running in states Biden won in 2020 and Republicans defending two seats in Biden states. Most neutral observers have noted that the leading Republican candidates in high-profile Senate races in Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire are not the strongest candidates. That accounts for 21% of all GOP Senate challengers this year. (While three weak challengers in the 435-member House is unlikely to make a difference to the final outcome, it can make a huge difference in the 100-member Senate.)….2. The economy improves. Inflation is sky-high, disposable income has dropped and even the nation’s GDP has declined. When the economy is the top concern, it’s hard to win as the incumbent party.The good news for Democrats is that the election is still six months away. Although none of these metrics are likely to improve dramatically, all are forecast to get at least a little better by November…..3. Everyone who approves of Biden votes Democratic. Biden’s job approval rating is going to be key this fall, at a time when straight-ticket voting is very high….Historically, the magic mark for a president in midterm elections has been 60% approval. But that may not be the case anymore with more Americans voting for the party in the White House when they approve of the president and voting against it when they disapprove….So Biden’s approval rating may only need to be around 50% — if not a little lower should Democrats have an advantage in candidate quality.”

Monica Potts and Jean Yi explain why “Why Twitter Is Unlikely To Become The ‘Digital Town Square’ Elon Musk Envisions” at FiveThirtyEight: “Overall, though, Twitter might be more accurately described as a scrolling newspaper than a public square. Other social media sites, like Facebook, stretch farther into the information ecosystem and are likelier to reveal what most Americans are currently reading, sharing and saying….The Pew Research Center conducts regular surveys on social media use in the United States, and the most popular networks across demographics and political affiliation remain, by far, YouTube and Facebook. As of early 2021, 81 percent and 69 percent of American adults, respectively, reported using these two sites, and the majority of each site’s users visited frequently. This is particularly true of Facebook: 71 percent of users said they visited the site daily, and nearly half of all users visited multiple times a day….By comparison, just under a quarter of American adults reported being on Twitter. And according to a Pew study released in April 2019, only a tiny portion (10 percent) of its adult users in America made up 80 percent of all tweets from that same group. And according to another Pew survey from 2021, only a very small share of tweets from American adults (14 percent) were original content. In other words, these users are mostly retweeting, quote-tweeting or replying….Overall, though, 66 percent of Americans said that social media does more to hurt than help free speech and democracy. That reasoning, however, broke starkly along partisan lines: Republicans were likelier to say speaking freely online was important, while Democrats were likelier to think it was more important that people felt safe and welcome online.”


Political Strategy Notes

At Politico, Burgess Everett spotlights Senator Elizabeth Warren’s ideas for Democratic midterm election strategy in the next few months: ““We’ve got nearly 200 days. If we don’t deliver, if we don’t get up off our rear ends and make it happen, we’re in real trouble,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview in her office on Tuesday. “But if we do deliver, if we can get some tangible results that touch people’s lives, then we can go to the polls in November with our heads held high.”….She wrote a New York Times op-ed last week claiming Democrats are “headed toward big losses in the midterms” without delivering on their goals, sat for a lengthy Crooked Media podcast interview to push the party to make deals on issues it ran on in 2020, then did a rare three-network sweep on the Sunday shows….Warren is offering a prescription that’s in keeping with her policy-wonk identity during the 2020 primary. She wants anti-price gouging legislation and a ban on lawmaker stock trades on the Senate floor ASAP and quick work on a drug pricing and tax reform bill to wash away the bad taste of Build Back Better’s failure….she also wants President Joe Biden to cancel student loan debt, raise overtime pay and use executive actions to bring down drug prices. With the evenly divided Senate struggling to pass even a $10 billion coronavirus bill, it’s a tall order; still, Warren is pitching her revitalized agenda as a vital antidote to conservative framing of the election….She wants Democrats to put a bill allowing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate price gouging responsible for costly consumer goods and “dare the Republicans to vote against it. A clean, simple bill….Let’s put it to the Republicans. Do they care about price gouging from the perspective of helping the consumers?”

“As we assess the Senate map right now, we do currently see the Republicans as favorites to take the majority,” Kyle Kondik and J. Miles Coleman write at Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “This is because, of the most competitive seats — the ones we call Toss-ups — Republicans are defending just 1 (Pennsylvania) and Democrats are defending 3 (Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada). And while we’re holding at a Toss-up rating in all of these races, there are some indications that the Republicans are better-positioned in several if not all of them.” Kondik and Coleman provide a map reflecting the latest trends in public opinion:

Map 1: Crystal Ball Senate race ratings

Robert Kuttner takes a more optimistic view of Democratic midterm prospects for the Senate at The American Prospect: “Conversely, several Democratic pickups seem possible, notably the open seat in Pennsylvania, which Biden carried in 2020, as well as in Wisconsin, another Biden state, and where far-right incumbent Ron Johnson is a lightning rod for Democratic turnout. Elsewhere, Republicans face a divisive primary in Ohio, where Democrats have a strong candidate in Tim Ryan. In the open seat in North Carolina, a competitive state with a Democratic governor, Democratic chances depend on the degree of voter suppression. In Missouri, Republican incumbent Roy Blunt barely won the seat in 2016. Blunt is retiring, and the leading contender for the Republican nomination is Eric Greitens, who resigned as governor after accusations of abuse by a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair….The most serious at-risk incumbent is Raphael Warnock of Georgia, because of the degree of that state’s voter suppression. In New Hampshire, however, Sen. Maggie Hassan got lucky when her strongest potential opponent, Gov. Chris Sununu, decided not to make the race. In Arizona and Nevada, both blue-trending states, vulnerable incumbents Mark Kelly and Catherine Cortez Masto could well hold their seats given decent mobilization.”

From “Our commitment to Ukraine will be tested. Americans must stay strong” by Washington Post columnist Dionne, Jr.: “While the widespread solidarity with a people under siege is a refreshing break from cynicism and division, it’s easy to fly a flag and swoon over a fluent and courageous leader. It’s harder to stick with a commitment that will entail spending billions of dollars on behalf of a faraway people….Inevitably, some share of Americans will express sentiments that always arise about engagements abroad, even when no U.S. troops are involved: Why are we sending money to Kyiv and Odessa instead of Kansas City and Omaha?….The question should be taken seriously, and leaders of both parties will have to join in answering it convincingly. Remember how bipartisan support for the Marshall Plan after World War II was critical to its success. We and our allies must keep faith with Ukraine, even if the cost is high. The price of Russian success in subjugating Ukraine would be even higher, not only to Ukrainians but also to democratic countries everywhere. Aggression cannot be rewarded….Progressives are wary of throwing money at the Pentagon. They rightly argue that advocates of high levels of military spending typically turn around and insist on stringency when it comes to domestic needs, especially those of the least advantaged. Conservatives are often wary of foreign aid. And when they back big defense budgets, they never seem willing to increase taxes to pay for what they say we need….But in this moment of emergency for democracy, we must put aside our disharmony….The truth is that the United States is wealthy enough to do right by both Kyiv and Kansas City — and standing up for Ukraine now is an investment in a more secure future. The cost of bolstering Ukraine today pales in comparison to the price of allowing Putin’s treacherous adventure to succeed.”


Cook: Dems Stuck in Concrete, Inflation and Overpromising

A trio of nuggets mined from Charlie Cook’s “The Concrete Theory of Politics” at The Cook Political Report:

Cook writes that “like freshly poured concrete, the perceptions, impressions, and convictions of voters in a given election cycle are soft and somewhat malleable at first but gradually get harder and harder over time. With seven months until the general elections, Democrats will soon need a chisel to chip away at them.”

Put another way, Democratic campaigns should never count on voters being forgetful or forgiving. Positive accomplishments often have a short shelf-life in politics. But negative attitudes harden over time. I used to sometimes think, “Don’t worry about this or that particular screw-up – It’s along way until November.” Wrong. Voters do sometimes forgive and move on. But counting on it is a losing strategy.

Cook also writes, “This column has repeatedly argued that the political impact of inflation is far greater than of unemployment, or for that matter, interest rates or any other economic indicator. Since 1948, U.S. unemployment has averaged just under 6 percent, so let’s define a low unemployment rate as under 4 percent and a high rate as over 8 percent—a difference of about 4 percentage points. Yet when it comes to inflation, basically 100 percent of Americans are affected. One could say that inflation is 25 times more powerful than unemployment. While high interest rates hurt a lot of people—anyone with a credit card or who is borrowing money to buy a house or car—inflation still affects more people, and by a greater amount. That is why politicians ignore the threat of inflation at their own peril, particularly if they are perceived as having ignored, denied, or exacerbated it.”

Don’t even fantasize that the low unemployment rate or Biden’s adept handling of the Ukraine crisis is going to win any new votes in November. Voters are being hammered every day at the gas pump, supermarket and loan office. They need to blame someone. The party that occupies the white house and holds the House speakership and Senate majority leader’s office provides an awfully-convenient scapegoat.

In his third nugget, Cook notes, “Voters tell pollsters that they are mad at Democrats for not delivering on their promises. The reality was that the promises were never realistic and were never deliverable.

To paraphrase a Cook nugget from another column, “You don’t bet the ranch on a pair of threes,” as Biden and Shumer did with their multi-tentacled social infrastructure delusions of grandeur. Pelosi actually had the votes. But 48 dependable Democratic Senators is not a working majority. True, this is a lot easier to say with hindsight. But Dems need to learn the lesson to avoid this booby trap in the future.

Instead, Dems would do well to emulate the post-it note a consultant friend used to put on her computer: “Underpromise, overdeliver.”

A frequently-heard Democratic lament goes something like “Jeez, how come Democrats get blamed for everything, while Republicans get away with murder?” Perhaps it’s because Republicans have a very limited vision – tax cuts and deregulation for the rich, deliverable promises made in closed-door meetings with lobbyists. They throw in a paltry tax cut for workers sometimes. But that’s the essence of their agenda, coupled with a disciplined echo chamber that effectively slimes Democrats as inflation-prone socialist spendthrifts who diss white working-class voters.

There is just not enough time between now and November for Dems to correct this toxic branding. That’s a multi-year project. But it’s not like a majority of voters are in love with Republicans. Dems may be able to reduce the damage in November with concerted, unrelenting attacks on specific Republicans for their financial ‘improprieties.’ Corruption is their genetic malady – it’s always there. And not just individual candidates. A fierce ad campaign should expressly target their party as well. It would have the virtue of being truthful.


Political Strategy Notes

In his New York Times column, “With or Without Trump, the MAGA Movement Is the Future of the Republican Party,” Thomas B. Edsall writes that “The fissures in the Democratic Party are on display for all to see, since it is the party in power, but the divisions in the Republican Party and the conservative movement are deeper, wider and far more threatening.” Democrats hope the the fissures are threatening to the GOP’s future success. Edsall points out that Trump won the Republican presidential nomination in part because of an unusually large GOP field in 2016. Trump skillfully rallied immigrant-fearing and liberal-hating voters. He awakened this dormant, but large bloc, created for them a sense of community and threaded the Electoral College needle to win a victory with a popular vote loss. Edsall sees the primary fissure in the GOP as the gap between Trump’s ardent supporters, who fear immigrants and despise ‘wokeness’ and the more genteel corporate elites, who indulge woke policies and who have been bringing low-wage immigrants into the U.S. for decades. Edsall is surely right that the MAGA ‘movement’ is going to be around for the forseeable future, even though Trump’s personal future is much in question. But it’s doubtful that Trump supporters actually blame corporate Republicans more than they blame Democratic liberals for immigration problems. Maybe Democrats could benefit by more energetically publicizing the fact that Republicans (corporate leaders) have done more to increase immigration for decades, in order to drive wages down and profits up.

E. J. Dionne, Jr. argues at The Washington Post that it is “Attorney General Merrick Garland’s obligation to decide sooner rather than later whether the Justice Department’s own investigation and the Jan. 6 committee’s work justify an indictment of Donald Trump. If the evidence is there (and public comments from committee members suggest that the panel has it), Garland’s department must prosecute him….Worry about what might or might not look “political” is itself a political consideration that should not impede equal justice under the law. If a president is not above the law, a defeated former president isn’t, either.” Further, Dionne, writes, “The committee deserves praise for its painstaking thoroughness. But its decision not to hold a major public hearing this year until it finished investigative work has allowed people’s attention to drift away from the ongoing threat to our democracy….With the Jan. 6 committee expected to hold hearings soon — in May or early June — it is urgent that its members deliver a clear and compelling account of what Trump did and why it matters….Garland cannot allow an understandable uneasiness over prosecuting the incumbent president’s leading political opponent to compromise his obligation to enforce the law and protect U.S. institutions from violent coup efforts….It was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who said, in reference to Trump, that “former presidents are not immune from being held accountable.” The Jan. 6 committee should make Trump’s law-breaking clear. Garland should act. And McConnell should stand by his words.”

At Sabato’s Crystal Ball, Kyle Kondik reports on  “House Ratings Changes: 11 Moves All in Favor of Repubicans,” and writes that “The bulk of these changes either move marginally competitive Republican-held seats to the Safe Republican category or move Democratic districts from Likely Democratic to the more competitive Leans Democratic column….Republicans remain strong favorites to win the House majority….If we had to guess, today, what Republicans would net in the House, we’d probably pick a number in the 20s. So that means our ratings are probably at least a little bit friendlier to Democrats than perhaps they should be. However, we do have several more seats rated Leans Democratic (15) compared to Leans Republican (8), which is one way of indicating how the playing field could grow. On the other hand, our ratings also reflect the possibility of a Democratic comeback in which they limit Republican advances.Still, don’t be surprised to see more House updates from us later this year in which all or nearly all of the changes are in favor of Republicans. It’s just that kind of cycle, at least for the time being….Our full House ratings are available here.”

Christian Paz makes the case that “Crime will affect the midterms, but not in the way you think” at Vox: “As political issues, crime and public safety carry a heavier cost in local elections, where policy is made and the voters most affected by and worried about crime are concentrated. The progressive-moderate tension within the Democratic Party is also more pronounced on this issue because many debates on policing and public safety are happening in municipalities dominated by Democrats. With growing discontent with Democratic governance in general, crime might just be one of a laundry list of Republican attacks, and not the decisive issue for control of Congress that many doomsayers are claiming it will be….As inflation, gas prices, rising interest rates, and housing affordability all sour the national mood, “it makes me believe it’s even less likely now that crime is going to be featured centrally in a lot of campaigns, because of how effectively Republicans are going to be able to use the inflation issue against Biden and Democratic members of Congress,” Dan Cox, the director of the Survey Center on American Life and a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told me….crime tends to be more of a motivator for conservative base voters. Swing voters don’t tend to live in cities and inner-ring suburbs where crime is a bigger problem. That geographic sorting leaves Democrats to fight among themselves — and face backlash from Democratic voters.”