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Political Strategy Notes

Taegan Goddard explains why "Why Democrats think they can retake the House in 2014," based on this cheery assessment by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.): "Redistricting has empowered the worst elements of the Republican Party, amplifying the extremist echo chamber and making the tea party Republican congress toxic to voters. Republicans redrew already-safe members into even more Republican districts, driving control of their party more to their base, forcing more primaries, and making it less likely that they can put forward a party agenda that appeals to Independents."

Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik and Geoffrey Skelley preview "2014 Senate Ratings: Red Alert" at Crystal Ball, with a state-by-state rundown of raises as they stand now, noting "The seven most imperiled seats in the whole country are all currently held by Democrats."

CNN Politics's Ted Barrett and Tom Cohen mull over Democratic strategy for addressing the sequester cuts in light of Republican opposition to any revenue-raising.

In his column, "The G.O.P.'s Nasty Newcomer," the NYT's Frank Bruni has a pretty good capsule summation of why Sen. Ted Cruz is not going to be the GOP's Great Latino Hope : "He's an ornery, swaggering piece of work. Just six weeks since his arrival on Capitol Hill, he's already known for his naysaying, his nit-picking and his itch to upbraid lawmakers who are vastly senior to him...Republicans who look to him and see any kind of savior overlook much of what drags the party down, which isn't merely or even principally the genealogy of their candidates. It's the intransigent social conservatism, the whiff of meanness and the showy eruptions."

Also at The Times, Trip Gabriel has an update on Ashley Judd's prospects for running and whipping Mitch McConnell in the KY Senate race.

Ronald Brownstein discusses President Obama's strategy for "Courting the Twenty-Somethings." Among Brownstein's observations: "The most striking aspect of Obama's remarks was how unreservedly he articulated the views of the coalition that reelected him, and how little need he felt to qualify those views for fear of alienating voters beyond it. There was a confidence bordering on swagger in his call for action on immigration reform, climate change, and gun control--issues that he almost entirely sublimated through his first term--and his unwavering defense of collective action through government...That edge reflects the Obama team's assessment of the political landscape after he survived the headwind of 7.8 percent unemployment to become only the third Democrat ever to win a majority of the popular vote twice. Obama crossed that threshold despite historically weak numbers among the older and blue-collar whites who traditionally anchored the conservative end of the Democratic coalition. He did so with strong support from the growing groups at the center of the Democrats' new national coalition: minorities; socially liberal, college-educated whites (especially women); and the millennials."

The National Journal's Beth Reinhard reports on "The Democrat's War to Win Women Voters"

For those who were wondering which major corporations are providing political dark money for Republican causes through the State Government Leadership Foundation, Justin Elliot of ProPublica has some answers: "Exxon, Pfizer, Time Warner, and other corporations put up at least 85 percent of the $1.3 million the foundation raised in the first year and a half of its existence, starting in 2003." Elliot's article sheds light on how the organization serves as a conduit for funneling big corporate money to GOP causes.

Congratulations to David Corn, Mother Jones D.C. Bureau Chief, on winning the George Polk Award, one of journalism's top prizes, for his report "exposing Romney's infamous remarks at a fundraiser about "47 percent" of Americans who receive entitlements."

At Campaigns & Elections, Bryan Merica explores some of the hot social media tools in politics: "Tracx is another monitoring and engagement platform in our team's arsenal that any political communications junkie ought to look into. It contains in-depth metrics to help gauge the size and velocity of a conversation on social media--digging down so far as to show you on a map where sentiment is spiking...The toolset that shows the most promise is now calling itself Zignal Labs. During the 2012 cycle, it was deployed in beta format on a number of campaigns as "Politear." Its developers have the right idea: use algorithms to determine how quickly and broadly a particular story or sentiment is being spread across social networks."