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Political Strategy Notes

There's a new wrinkle in Virginia Senate Republicans' redistricting plan, which is designed to gerrymander a significant number of new congressional districts to favor Republican candidates. Some Republicans now fear the Governor's transportation bill might now be torpedoed by Democrats angered by the Republican sneak attack that caught VA Dems unprepared. Errin Haines and Laura Vozzella report on the story at the Washington Post.

Dems do have a plan for actual party-building in Texas, as Alexander Burns reports at Politico: "National Democrats are taking steps to create a large-scale independent group aimed at turning traditionally conservative Texas into a prime electoral battleground, crafting a new initiative to identify and mobilize progressive voters in the rapidly-changing state...The organization, dubbed "Battleground Texas," plans to engage the state's rapidly growing Latino population, as well as African-American voters and other Democratic-leaning constituencies that have been underrepresented at the ballot box in recent cycles. Two sources said the contemplated budget would run into the tens of millions of dollars over several years - a project Democrats hope has enough heft to help turn what has long been an electoral pipe dream into reality."

This report on Wisconsin Dems implementing a "72-county strategy" is encouraging.

At WaPo's Wonkblog, Evan Soltas has a round-up of recent reporets on filibuster reform, including this nugget from Slate's Dave Weigel, explaining the "flip' proposal: "Democratic aides tell me that the party is not likely to accept a Reid-McConnell reform deal unless it includes a change that "flips" the filibuster. Instead of the majority requiring 60 votes to block a bill, the minority would need to muster 41 votes to block a bill."

Steven Greenhouse reports in the New York Times that labor union membership is down nation-wide -- about 400,000 workers in one year, according to the Bureau of labor Statistics. But he cites A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s chief economist William Spriggs noting an uptick in union membership in California, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas and among Latinos and Asian Americans. Greenhouse adds "According to the report, North Carolina has the lowest unionization rate, 2.9 percent, followed by Arkansas, at 3.2 percent. New York had the highest unionization rate, 23.2 percent, with Alaska second, at 22.4 percent." All this despite a wage differential in median weekly earnings of $201 favoring unionized workers nationwide over non-union employees.

New York Times Opinionator Thomas B. Edsall asks "Can Republicans Change Their Spots?" Edsall explores possible answers and comments on two states that have been gerrymandered to favor Republicans: "In North Carolina, Bloomberg news found that Democrats won 2.22 million votes to 2.14 million cast for Republican candidates, but Republicans won 9 of the state's 13 House seats. Similarly, in Pennsylvania, Democrats won 2.7 million votes to the Republicans' 2.6 million, but Democrats ended up with only 5 of the state's 18 districts."

At CNN Politics' Mark Preston writes in "GOP chief plans major overhaul to party" about Reince Priubus's plans to revamp Republican party structure and operations. The predictable reforms on his agenda -- shorten primary season, fewer presidential debates, better data-driven research and stronger messaging -- won't cause Democratic leaders to lose any sleep.

Brian Bennett of The Los Angeles Times addresses whether the "GOP can woo Latino voters with shift on immigration." Bennett writes, "An estimated 31% of Latino registered voters would be more likely to vote for a Republican if the party took the lead on pushing for immigration reform, according to poll results." He notes that "Fifty thousand Latino citizens turn 18 and become eligible to vote every month," according to Professor Gary Segura of Latino Decisions polling firm.

At The Daily Beast however, Micheal Tomasky explains why Republican leaders are going to have a tough time winning many African American and Latino voters. Tomasky notes, for example, "Conservatives always say, "Latinos are conservative; they are our natural allies!" It's not really true. Exit polls last year found Latinos supporting abortion rights in quite large numbers, and ditto same-sex marriage (to a lesser degree, but still a healthy majority). The conservative misunderstanding, of course, is in assuming that personal conservatism equates with political conservatism. Sometimes it does, but a lot of the time it does not."

As if.