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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Rural Voter

The new book White Rural Rage employs a deeply misleading sensationalism to gain media attention. You should read The Rural Voter by Nicholas Jacobs and Daniel Shea instead.

Read the memo.

There is a sector of working class voters who can be persuaded to vote for Democrats in 2024 – but only if candidates understand how to win their support.

Read the memo.

The recently published book, Rust Belt Union Blues, by Lainey Newman and Theda Skocpol represents a profoundly important contribution to the debate over Democratic strategy.

Read the Memo.

Democrats should stop calling themselves a “coalition.”

They don’t think like a coalition, they don’t act like a coalition and they sure as hell don’t try to assemble a majority like a coalition.

Read the memo.

The American Establishment’s Betrayal of Democracy

The American Establishment’s Betrayal of Democracy The Fundamental but Generally Unacknowledged Cause of the Current Threat to America’s Democratic Institutions.

Read the Memo.

Democrats ignore the central fact about modern immigration – and it’s led them to political disaster.

Democrats ignore the central fact about modern immigration – and it’s led them to political disaster.

Read the memo.

 

The Daily Strategist

July 14, 2024

Dem-Controlled State Legs Lead in Health Care

Business Week‘s Catherine Arnst reports on a new Commonwealth Fund survey comparing and rating health care services in the 50 states. Her overall conclusions are less than encouraging as evidenced by her article’s subtitle “A state-by-state study shows who has the best and worst grades on 32 health indicators, and even the best are none too good.”
However, a look at the state legislatures of the top ten rated states should offer a measure of encouragement for Democrats hoping to benefit by the public clamor for better health care. In the ten highest-ranking states, HA; IA; NH; VT; ME; RI; CT; MA; WI; and SD, Democrats have majority control of 17 of 20 state legislatures. Of the top 8 ranking states, Republicans have majority control in none of the 16 state houses. (Data on party control of state legs here)
Bragging rights are limited by the fact that the Dems also have majorities of a healthy share of the state houses of the bottom ten ranking states. But the fact that Dems have majorities in 85 percent of the state houses of top-performing states is nonetheless impressive — and should be of interest to voters who care about health care reform.


How the GOP Leverages the Net

Political bloggers of all stripes, and Dem oppo researchers in particular, have an interesting post to read over at the Politico. The post, “Excerpts from the NRSC Campaign Internet Guide” includes a wealth of tips for campaigns interested in leveraging the internet, both strategic and technical. For example:

Shadow TV/TVEyes/Critical Mention. These services can be purchased by campaigns to monitor television programs 24 hours a day. If you subscribe to this service your campaign can request a specific clip as well as a transcript via email. Some of these clips can be used in web ads or nposted directly to your site through YouTube (See Copyrightsection below for more deatil) However these clips must be purchased and can be expensive.

and

Rapid Response to Attacks: If candidates are more or less continuously monitored via blog search engines, with the use of websites, such as technorati.com, blogs can often be used as “am early warning system to help discern if an opponent’s attacks are gaining traction….”

or

To achieve successful blog outreach, we recommend the following: Develop a national and local blog outreach plan. The primary focus of the campaign’s national efforts should be the top five conservative political blogs: Instapundit, Michelle Malkin, Captain’s Quarters, Powerline and Hugh Hewitt.

There’s quite a bit more of interest to Dem bloggers and campaigns. This one may not be up too long. Might be a good idea to print it out.


Political Strategy Links Illuminate, Amuse

Are conservatives or progressives a majority in America? You won’t find a stronger case for the progressive majority, on the internet at least, than Media Matters‘ footnote and link rich “The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America is a Myth.”
Ezra Klein, usually skeptical about advice books for Dems, has a plug for Drew Westen’s forthcoming book, The Political Brain, an excerpt of which is posted at The American Prospect. Klein likes the way Westen’s book focuses on “how voters experience politics, and how Democrats all too often speak on another plane entirely.”
The “amuse” part of this article’s headline comes from Michael Falcone’s “A Gamer’s Guide to Redstricting” at The New York Times. Falcone links to a way cool new interactive game which “simulates many of the challenges involved in the redistricting process, from drawing district maps to winning the support of state and party leadership.” You can play “The Redistricting Game” right here.


Poll Report on Congressional Approval Distorts Reality

Charles at Political Arithmetik shows how poll reporting can distort political reality in his post on the latest LA Times/Bloomberg poll on approval/disapproval of congress. He explains that the LA Times headline “Approval of Congress Lowest in a Decade” overstates the case by tracking only one pollster, a fairly common practice in MSM poll reporting. To get a full picture, he points out, all polls should be tracked.
In this case the headline gives the false impression that congressional Democrats, as the majority, are in trouble. And some writers have even anchored their reporting on this and other misconceptions based on “trends” reflected by just one pollster. Charles explains:

My problem with this story is a common one. What it says is exactly true, but it ignores all polling not conducted by the LATimes and Bloomberg. This IS the lowest LA Times Poll reading of Congressional approval in a decade.
But what is not reported is that since January 2006, 42 of 146 national polls have found approval below 27%. That is 29% of the recent polls, so a congressional approval rating of 27% is by no means unique in the last decade. (If we include 27% approval then 56 of the last 146 have been this low or lower– 38% of polls in the last year and a half.)

Charles does his own analysis of a much broader selection of polls and finds that the current congress is about 4 points higher in net approval than the low points of the 2006 (GOP majority) congress. This is not to say that congressional Dems don’t have to worry about the public’s view of their performance — there has been a decline in approval since January, as the author notes. But Dems should keep in mind that trend reporting that ignores all but one pollster provides a muddled reflection of political reality.


Rural Voters Give Dems Edge

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner’s e-alert brings this good news about Dem inroads into one of the GOP’s more supportive constituencies:

Rural voters deliver a narrow plurality to a generic Democratic candidate for President: 46 – 43 percent. In contrast, President Bush won the rural vote in 2004 by 19 points. At the Congressional level, voters prefer Democrats in named trial heats 46 – 44 percent.

For more details, see this just-released bipartisan poll of LVs.


Are Theocons Pushing Voters to Dems?

Ross Douthat’s article, “Crisis of Faith” in The Atlantic Monthly discusses the phenomenon of rising secularism in the U.S., while Europe is becoming increasingly enmeshed in religious controversy. In one graph Douthat notes:

Liberals have spent much of the past six years straining to cut into the GOP’s advantage among religious voters. But when the Democrats finally shattered the Republican majority in the 2006 midterms, it was their consolidation of the secular vote that helped put them over the top. Despite all their efforts to close the God gap, the Democrats managed barely any gains among frequent churchgoers last November—but their share of the vote among Americans who never attend church at all leaped to 67 percent, from 55 percent in 2002.

Douthat reports on a general secularization trend in the U.S., that fewer Americans are attending church every week. He notes a recent Pew Research Center survey indicating that 20 percent of young people say they have no religious affiliation — nearly double the percentage of the 1980’s (Summary Here). It makes sense that many of them would be turned off by the growing influence of theocons in the GOP.


New Study of American Muslims Merits Dem Review

The Pew Research Center has released what is likely the most thorough study ever of an often-overlooked constituency, “Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream” (108-page pdf here). While Muslims are a relatively small religious minority in the U.S. (.06 of U.S. adults), they are disproportionately concentrated in a few key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio and are therefore positioned as a potentially influential constituency.
The survey of 60,000 interviewees, conducted from January though March, found that 63 percent of U.S. Muslims “lean Democratic,” with 11 percent leaning Republican and 26 percent leaning independent. Additionally, 63 percent of U.S. Muslim citizens said they were registered to vote, compared with 76 percent of the general public.
The survey found that 73 percent believe government “should do more to help the needy,” compared with 63 percent of the general public. But the survey confirmed that American Muslims as a whole are far more conservative on some social issues, such as their view of homosexuality.
The study includes a large quantity of interesting demographic and attitudinal detail about U.S. Muslims, and is highly recommended for Dems who want to better understand this constituency.


Minority Surge in South Promises Change

Chris Kromm gives both political strategists and policy wonks something to chew on in his Facing South post “Changing South: Half of K-12 students are ‘minority.’” Kromm reports on the explosive growth of African Americans and Hispanics in the south, noting that 47 percent of the south’s K-12 public school students are now people of color. The implications for immigration, education and tax policy should be huge in upcomming election cycles.