Political Strategy Notes
For a striking visual representation of how geographically broad-based was the victory over union-bashing in Ohio, take a gander at the map in Dante Atkins's Daily Kos post "That's not 'overreach.' That's just the Republican Party."
Also at Kos, Chris Bowers reports on the Walker recall campaign, along with the effort to recall GOP Wisconsin state senators, as well as dirty tricks being used to obstruct the recall.
With just a few more states to go in the redistricting process, Stuart Rothenberg's Roll Call post "House Overview: What's In Play? Democrats Look to Take Back the Chamber in 2012" has an iffy prognosis for Dems. "At this point, with redistricting still up in the air in key states, Democrats appear positioned to gain House seats, but not all that close to the 25 seats they would need to regain a majority in the House...Democrats need some breaks in the final redistricting states, some additional recruits and almost certainly a shift in the national political environment to improve their chances of winning back the House."
Elizabeth Warren's first TV ad is out with a simple, direct populist message that ought to win some Bay State swing voters. ActBlue has raised over $2.5 million for her campaign from almost 60 thousand supporters.
Again at Kos, via Alternet, in his article, "10 Stories of People Moving Their Money, Despite Banks" Efforts to Stop Them," Markos Moulitsas succinctly debunks the myth that banks really welcome the withdrawal campaigns because it relieves them of the administrative costs associated with smaller depositors. Says Kos, "...Not only do they relentlessly advertise for new business on billboards, TV, direct mail and other places, but they fight tooth and nail to prevent people from closing their accounts." Kos could have also mentioned that megabanks have bent over backward to persuade migrant workers to become depositors, despite their very modest average balances.
Did you know that a third of 18 year-olds have no driver's license? Further, "18 percent of Americans over the age of 65, one- quarter of African-Americans, and 15 percent of low-income voters do not have a photo ID." These and other facts bearing on voter suppression can be found in "Protecting The Right To Vote: Testimony for the Committee on the Judiciary" submitted by Demos.
Voter suppression is critical for Republican success in the southern states, where the African American and Latino populations are growing fastest. The Economist doesn't take voter suppression into consideration in "The politics of the South: Hunting for votes," but the overview of Democratic prospects in the region in light of recent elections is discouraging, with some exceptions. Still, as The Economist warns, President Obama "will struggle to keep his job next year unless he can win at least one of the three southern states he carried in 2008: Florida, North Carolina and Virginia." Without addressing the topic directly, the article lends support to the argument that the Obama campaign may now have better prospects in the Rust Belt.
Speaking of Democratic ineptitude in the south, Ashton Pittman, progressive columnist for "The Student Printz," serving southern Mississippi, has a revealing column explaining why "Democrats Can Only Blame Themselves" in the magnolia State. Pittman explains: "For the first time since Reconstruction, Republicans are likely to hold the majority in the Mississippi House of Representatives. In an election that saw progressive victories all across the country, including a major one right here in Mississippi, the Democratic party in Mississippi has only itself to blame..Things were so bad for the Democratic party that it wasn't even able to field candidates for lieutenant governor, secretary of state, or auditor." But it's the whys of it that makes Pittman's column a good read for Dems who want to do better in the deep south, where highly favorable demographic trends are in motion.
Danielle Kurtzleben of U.S. News Politics has a fun featurette, "The 10 Most Unionized U.S. Cities." Hint: If you guessed Frisco and Vegas like I did, you would be wrong. Interesting, though, that all but two of the top ten are in CA or NY.
Ezra Klein has a stinging critique of "The Democrats' Peculiar Negotiating Strategy" up at his WaPo wonkblog. After citing a depressing litany of right turns and cave-ins in the negotiating process, Klein concludes, "So far, Republicans have not said yes to any of the deals the Democrats have offered. They continue to assume a better deal is just around the corner, and thus far, they have been right."
Also at The Post, Eugene Robinson makes a persuasive case that "Republicans aren't closing the deal with voters." Says Robinson: "The Republican field has utterly failed to develop a convincing narrative about the economy. The candidates act as if widespread disappointment with the performance of Obama and the Democrats will be enough to win the election. But voters are being given every reason to suspect that GOP policies will make things worse."