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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

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Will GOP Meltdown Give Dems Senate Majority?

What seemed unlikely a couple of weeks ago is now a very strong possibility — a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate. As a result of the Foley cover-up, it is not hard to imagine droves of disgusted evangelicals staying home on November 7, and a healthy chunk of those who don’t stay at home now deciding to vote Democratic. Indeed, the GOP leadership’s internal rot is so redolent that many non-evangelical conservatives may do likewise.
You can read about it just about anywhere. But MyDD’s Chris Bowers does a particularly good job of rolling out the GOP debacle in his recent posts “Democratic breeze Blowing in the Senate” and “Total Republican Collapse Imminent.”
Dems can expect a desperate GOP counter-attack to deflect media attention any time now. Should be a wild ride.


Foley Scandal/Cover-up and House Races

It’s too early to gauge the political ramifications of the still-unfolding Foley scandal/cover-up and it’s clear more revelations are forthcoming. Thus far, the blogs are a step ahead of the newspapers-of-record in sharing the inside skinny on the political fallout. A good place to start is “Fight the Foley Five” at Daily Kos, which reports on five GOP-held seats that may be endangered by the scandal and their Democratic opponents. Also check out The Left Coaster Steve Soto’s “Will The Foley Cover-Up Take Down The GOP House Leadership?” In his MyDD post, “Time For Hastert To Resign,” Chris Bowers says “there is simply no way that we lose FL-16 now.” The New Republic‘s Michael Crowley reports in “The Plank” that NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds may be especially vulnerable:

Although the New York Republican chairs the National Republican Campaign Committee, a post usually held by a safe incumbent (thus allowing him to focus on other races) Reynolds has always faced an inconveniently dicey re-election fight. Indeed, as reader CS notes, a September 28 SurveyUSA poll showed Reynolds with a mere 45-43 lead over his Democratic opponent, Jack Davis…In all likelihood, then, Reynolds is effectively down by a few points. And now newspapers in his own district are running headlines like “Reynolds accused of inaction on Foley.”

And Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo covers the political fallout from more than a dozen different angles here.


Foley Scandal/Cover-up and House Races

It’s too early to gauge the political ramifications of the still-unfolding Foley scandal/cover-up and it’s clear more revelations are forthcoming. Thus far, the blogs are a step ahead of the newspapers-of-record in sharing the inside skinny on the political fallout. A good place to start is “Fight the Foley Five” at Daily Kos, which reports on five GOP-held seats that may be endangered by the scandal and their Democratic opponents. Also check out The Left Coaster Steve Soto’s “Will The Foley Cover-Up Take Down The GOP House Leadership?” In his MyDD post, “Time For Hastert To Resign,” Chris Bowers says “there is simply no way that we lose FL-16 now.” The New Republic‘s Michael Crowley reports in “The Plank” that NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds may be especially vulnerable:

Although the New York Republican chairs the National Republican Campaign Committee, a post usually held by a safe incumbent (thus allowing him to focus on other races) Reynolds has always faced an inconveniently dicey re-election fight. Indeed, as reader CS notes, a September 28 SurveyUSA poll showed Reynolds with a mere 45-43 lead over his Democratic opponent, Jack Davis…In all likelihood, then, Reynolds is effectively down by a few points. And now newspapers in his own district are running headlines like “Reynolds accused of inaction on Foley.”

And Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo covers the political fallout from more than a dozen different angles here.


Assessing Dean’s Long-Term Strategy

Matt Bai has a lengthy portrait of DNC Chair Howard Dean in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Bai sheds favorable light on Dean’s leadership as a champion of long-term (50 state) strategy and greater participation of Democratic “outsiders,” who have been overshadowed by “insider” consutlants. But Bai also gives fair vent to Dean’s critics, who believe his strategy will hurt Democratic chances on November 7.
And speaking of long-term strategy, WaPo’s Zachary A. Goldfarb has a short, but encouraging update on an important topic that doesn’t get enough attention from political journalists (or the DNC web pages) — the battle for control of the state legislatures, where congressional districts are defined and future candidates for congress are prepared for leadership. Goldfarb’s article, “Democrats Hope to Swing State Legislatures Their Way,” says Dems have a solid shot at winning majorities of state legislatures in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa (both houses), Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.


Assessing Dean’s Long-Term Strategy

Matt Bai has a lengthy portrait of DNC Chair Howard Dean in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Bai sheds favorable light on Dean’s leadership as a champion of long-term (50 state) strategy and greater participation of Democratic “outsiders,” who have been overshadowed by “insider” consutlants. But Bai also gives fair vent to Dean’s critics, who believe his strategy will hurt Democratic chances on November 7.
And speaking of long-term strategy, WaPo’s Zachary A. Goldfarb has a short, but encouraging update on an important topic that doesn’t get enough attention from political journalists (or the DNC web pages) — the battle for control of the state legislatures, where congressional districts are defined and future candidates for congress are prepared for leadership. Goldfarb’s article, “Democrats Hope to Swing State Legislatures Their Way,” says Dems have a solid shot at winning majorities of state legislatures in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa (both houses), Maine, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.


For the Long Haul: Invest In Democratic Youth

It’s hard to get focused on long-range political goals so close to elections. But there is a good article noted in the ‘hump day’ wrap-up below that political strategists should grab and save. Search far and wide — you won’t find a better analysis of the need for a greater investment in Democratic youth leadership development than Iara Peng’s Alternet article “How Progressives Can Win in the Long Run.” Peng’s challenge:

For nearly 30 years, ultraconservatives have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in young people and built an infrastructure that initiates young people into the radical right movement through campus activism, leadership training and career development. Their investments have paid off. The radical right wing now controls the executive and legislative branches of government, and it’s only one seat away from complete dominance of the Supreme Court.
If progressives want to achieve the same sort of political success that the radical right has enjoyed for the past two decades, we’re going to have to do more than focus on the next round of elections and pay lip service to engaging young people. We must make a serious, long-term investment in our next generation of progressive leaders.

Yes, Dems have their own youth leadership training programs. But can they match this?

For decades, right-wing organizations including the Leadership Institute, Federalist Society, Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation have spearheaded a massive effort to bring young people into their movement. Last year alone, the Right invested $48 million in 11 youth-focused organizations aimed at increasing the number of ideologically friendly campus papers, fostering networks of students on campuses, shifting the way that students self-identify in terms of political ideology, providing skills and strategies training, and promoting right-wing values.
Students are cultivated by the right-wing campaign against college courses that conflict with their agenda. For example, they have accused more than 100 professors of making “anti-American” statements. They attend courses with titles like “How to Stop Liberals in Their Tracks.” They have internships, fellowships and jobs waiting for them when they graduate. They learn how to run campaigns and how to run for office.
…Right-wing groups spend more than ten times as much on long-term political leadership development than we do, and financial trends over the past four years show that progressive leadership development organizations are actually, on average, experiencing a decline in revenue.

And the pay-off has been impressive. As a result,

A powerful network of young ultraconservatives fills state capitols, the halls of Congress, the executive branch and the courts. It is supported by community leaders, skilled organizers, academics and media personalities that help dominate the debate. The leaders in whom the right has invested in are familiar names. In 1970, a man named Karl Rove was head of the National College Republicans. In 1981, Grover Norquist took the reins. And in 1983, it was Ralph Reed.

Peng offers some credible corrective measures, and there are some good comments responding to her challenge. Clip her article, read it and consider making a contribution for the long haul.


For the Long Haul: Invest in Dem Youth

It’s hard to get focused on long-range political goals so close to elections. But there is a good article noted in the ‘hump day’ wrap-up below that political strategists should grab and save. Search far and wide — you won’t find a better analysis of the need for a greater investment in Democratic youth leadership development than Iara Peng’s Alternet article “How Progressives Can Win in the Long Run.” Peng’s challenge:

For nearly 30 years, ultraconservatives have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in young people and built an infrastructure that initiates young people into the radical right movement through campus activism, leadership training and career development. Their investments have paid off. The radical right wing now controls the executive and legislative branches of government, and it’s only one seat away from complete dominance of the Supreme Court.
If progressives want to achieve the same sort of political success that the radical right has enjoyed for the past two decades, we’re going to have to do more than focus on the next round of elections and pay lip service to engaging young people. We must make a serious, long-term investment in our next generation of progressive leaders.

Yes, Dems have their own youth leadership training programs. But can they match this?

For decades, right-wing organizations including the Leadership Institute, Federalist Society, Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation have spearheaded a massive effort to bring young people into their movement. Last year alone, the Right invested $48 million in 11 youth-focused organizations aimed at increasing the number of ideologically friendly campus papers, fostering networks of students on campuses, shifting the way that students self-identify in terms of political ideology, providing skills and strategies training, and promoting right-wing values.
Students are cultivated by the right-wing campaign against college courses that conflict with their agenda. For example, they have accused more than 100 professors of making “anti-American” statements. They attend courses with titles like “How to Stop Liberals in Their Tracks.” They have internships, fellowships and jobs waiting for them when they graduate. They learn how to run campaigns and how to run for office.
…Right-wing groups spend more than ten times as much on long-term political leadership development than we do, and financial trends over the past four years show that progressive leadership development organizations are actually, on average, experiencing a decline in revenue.

And the pay-off has been impressive. As a result,

A powerful network of young ultraconservatives fills state capitols, the halls of Congress, the executive branch and the courts. It is supported by community leaders, skilled organizers, academics and media personalities that help dominate the debate. The leaders in whom the right has invested in are familiar names. In 1970, a man named Karl Rove was head of the National College Republicans. In 1981, Grover Norquist took the reins. And in 1983, it was Ralph Reed.

Peng offers some credible corrective measures, and there are some good comments responding to her challenge. Clip her article, read it and consider making a contribution for the long haul.


Polling of Key Districts

by Scott Winship
Check out this very cool interactive website summarizing key House races, courtesy of Constituent Dynamics and RT Strategies. Good polling of House races are hard to find. I’m hoping to find out how many more rounds of polling they plan to do.


Hump Day Recommended Reading

Six weeks before election day political strategy articles are multiplying like guppies. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner addresses an important and frequently overlooked topic of interest to Dems — increasing the turnout of unmarried women voters (Executive Summary here and PDF Memo here)…Alternet has a pair of political strategy must-reads: George Lakoff’s “12 Traps That Keep Progressives from Winning” and Iara Peng’s “How Progressives Can Win in the Long Run,” a precription for correcting the left’s comparatively weak efforts for youth leadership development…Chris Bowers has a very encouraging wrap-up of House races at MyDD showing 40 seats “in serious play”…NYT’s Adam Nagourney reports on the escalating use of nasty attack ads in congressional campaigns, while Janet Hook focuses on GOP attack ads in the L.A. TimesWaPo‘s Amit R. Paley reports on two polls — one by the U.S. State Department — that show a large majority of Iraqis want U.S. forces to leave pronto…Harold Meyerson’s WaPo op-ed shreds the “moderate Republican” myth…In These Times contributing editor Hans Johnson reports on the rapidly rising tide of GOP politicos switching to the Democratic party…As the focus sharpens on congressional races, don’t forget that there are many important ballot initiatives across the nation. Swing State Project references 194 ballot propositions in 32 states (Summary here) and R. Neal takes a look at some of them in his Facing South article “Ballot Initiatives around the South.”…Arthur I. Blaustein’s Mother Jones call-to-arms “Campaign 2006: The Issues, the Stakes, the Prospects” provides a shot of political adrenalin for progressives.


Hump Day Recommended Reading

Six weeks before election day political strategy articles are multiplying like guppies. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner addresses an important and frequently overlooked topic of interest to Dems — increasing the turnout of unmarried women voters (Executive Summary here and PDF Memo here)…Alternet has a pair of political strategy must-reads: George Lakoff’s “12 Traps That Keep Progressives from Winning” and Iara Peng’s “How Progressives Can Win in the Long Run,” a precription for correcting the left’s comparatively weak efforts for youth leadership development…Chris Bowers has a very encouraging wrap-up of House races at MyDD showing 40 seats “in serious play”…NYT’s Adam Nagourney reports on the escalating use of nasty attack ads in congressional campaigns, while Janet Hook focuses on GOP attack ads in the L.A. TimesWaPo‘s Amit R. Paley reports on two polls — one by the U.S. State Department — that show a large majority of Iraqis want U.S. forces to leave pronto…Harold Meyerson’s WaPo op-ed shreds the “moderate Republican” myth…In These Times contributing editor Hans Johnson reports on the rapidly rising tide of GOP politicos switching to the Democratic party…As the focus sharpens on congressional races, don’t forget that there are many important ballot initiatives across the nation. Swing State Project references 194 ballot propositions in 32 states (Summary here) and R. Neal takes a look at some of them in his Facing South article “Ballot Initiatives around the South.”…Arthur I. Blaustein’s Mother Jones call-to-arms “Campaign 2006: The Issues, the Stakes, the Prospects” provides a shot of political adrenalin for progressives.