Political Strategy Notes — The Democratic Strategist
As we commemorate Memorial Day, Samantha Layne’s “9 Ways Republicans Could Have Helped Veterans…But Decided Not To” at reverbpress.com provides good talking points. A couple of her examples: “H.R. 466, which was the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act was a bill designed to provide job security for vets receiving medical treatment for injuries sustained while serving our country. Employers would be forbidden from firing veteran employees who miss work due to treatment related to a service-related disability. The bill had 24 co-sponsors, 23 of which were Democrats. Sounds great, right? Blocked by the GOP…Then there was H.R. 1168, theVeterans Retraining Act. This bill was designed to provide financial assistance to unemployed vets while they retrain for the current job market. But, unfortunately, Republicans decided to not pass it. Sorry, vets, but be sure to stop by for a photo op where they can shake your hand and thank you for your service!”
At The Nation, John Nichols reports “Christine Pellegrino did not just declare victory after a remarkable special-election win that saw her flip a historically Republican New York State Assembly seat to the Democratic column on Tuesday. The elementary-school teacher turned candidate announced that Long Island was sending a message that will resonate far beyond a legislative district that backed Donald Trump last fall but that has now will be represented by a bold progressive activist…New York’s 9th Assembly District is one of 710 state legislative districts nationwide that have been identified by the Ballotpedia website as including all or part of so-called”Pivot Counties,” which “voted for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and then voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2016.” As of April 2017, the website explains, “477 state house districts and 233 state senate districts intersected with these Pivot Counties. This includes districts that intersected with only small portions of a county as well as districts that overlapped with multiple counties. These 710 state legislative districts account for approximately 10 percent of all state legislative districts in the country.”
How Mr. “Art of the Deal” got played…again :
For Further evidence that the GOP brand is tanking precipitously, check out Philip Bump’s “The more a poll mentions Republicans, the less popular the party’s health-care bill” at the Washington Post. Bump notes that the mere mention of the word “Republican” in recent polls evokes dramatically lower levels of support from respondents for their health care bill. “For Republicans worried about the political effects of the American Health Care Act,” writes Bump, “it’s a big old warning flag. People who hear repeatedly that the bill is a Republican one are much less likely to support it.”
From Paul Kane’s article, “The lesson of Montana for Democrats: They need serious candidates — and a policy agenda,” at PowerPost: “…After receiving just 44 percent of the vote, Quist may demonstrate the limitations of quirky, first-time candidates…What Montana showed was the need to field candidates with backgrounds that appeal to voters who have tended to back Republicans in congressional races. It’s not necessarily an ideological requirement to be a centrist — serious candidates, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), can reside at the edge of the ideological spectrum. But they nearly always need more gravitas than Quist brought from a decades-long career as a guitar player in a popular bluegrass band in the Mountain West…Democrats might pull off the win in Price’s seat, but if they are going to ride a wave all the way to the majority, they probably need more experienced candidates than Ossoff and Quist — and with a sharper message than Ossoff’s introductory ada few months ago.” That said, it should be noted that Quist’s opponent, Gianforte was not exactly Mr. Gravitas.
Kyle Kondik notes in his post “What to Make of Montana” at Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “PredictWise conducted a snap poll Thursday afternoon and found that Gianforte’s lead had dipped to five points from 12 points in polling it had done a week ago (see more here from PredictWise’s David Rothschild). So perhaps this did shave a few points off Gianforte’s margin of victory, but it’s impossible to know with much certainty without robust exit polling, which was not conducted in Montana.” Regarding 2018, Kondik writes, “…Gianforte still has a misdemeanor assault charge hanging over his head, and perhaps an opportunistic Democrat may smell blood in the water looking ahead to next year. Then again, Gianforte’s body slam may eventually blow over and not do him any lasting harm, and Democrats may very well be looking at many other districts next year.”
The Plum Line’s Paul Waldman makes a salient point about the power of “a new clarity” on policy benefitting Democrats: “For instance, The Affordable Care Act is an uncharismatic policy that is meant to solve an intricate, interlocking series of problems in the American health-care system. But you know what is a charismatic policy? Single-payer health care. It’s easy to understand, and it promises terrific benefits. And right now, there’s an argument brewing between leftists who want the party to stand firmly for single-payer, and liberals who support it in principle but worry about the political and practical difficulties of getting there. To those liberals, the leftists respond:”We need to aim high, speak in broad strokes and not get bogged down by self-imposed constraints about the possible…What we can say is that there will almost certainly be other issues on which Democrats will discard their previous “It’s complicated” position for ones that take a firm, clear stance and leave the compromises and complications until after the election.”
Alice Ollstein reports at Talking Points Memo that “Florida GOPer Helped Russian Hacker Disseminate Dems’ Voter Turnout Data.” As Ollstein writes, “A Republican political operative in Florida asked the alleged Russian hacker who broke into Democratic Party organizations’ servers at the height of the 2016 campaign to pass him stolen documents, according to a report Thursday by the Wall Street Journal…In return, that operative received valuable Democratic voter-turnout analyses, which the newspaper found at least one GOP campaign consultant took advantage of the information. The hacker went on to flag that same data to Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of Donald Trump’s who briefly advised his presidential campaign, and who is currently under federal investigation for potential collusion with Russia…The Wall Street Journal’s report presents the clearest allegations to date of collusion between people connected to Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.” Seems like this should be more of a BFD.