Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Blue Wave Do's and Don't

If there is to be any kind of blue wave--and conditions do continue to look good for significant Democratic gains--it is important to avoid unforced errors. I very much like something David Leonhardt wrote in a recent column commenting on the coming fight over Trump's Supreme Court nominee (whom we know now to be Brett Kavanaugh, but I don't think that makes any difference to Leonhardt's points).
"Some Democrats will be tempted to turn the next two months into a national conversation about abortion, affirmative action and other social issues that inspire liberal passion. That would be a mistake. Those are not the best issues for Democrats during a midterm campaign.
The best issues are those on which Democrats hold a decisive advantage in public opinion. Health insurance is a good example. So are taxation, corporate power and the Trump administration’s corruption. All of these issues can be grist for a nominee’s Senate hearing.
I’m not suggesting that Democratic senators ignore social issues. They just shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that the country is further to the left than it is. For instance, about two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should be illegal at least sometimes, according to Gallup, and many of the strongest opponents base their votes on the issue. That’s why Republicans are happy to have these arguments.
Nothing in American politics matters more right now than the outcome of the midterms. It is the difference between emboldening Trump and starting to hold him accountable. It really may be “the fight of our lives.” And unlike the confirmation battle, the midterms remain up for grabs. In the coming weeks, Democrats will be talking about the Supreme Court, but they should be thinking about the midterms."
Amen. And to the "avoid unforced errors" category, I would add the undesirability of having the Democratic party associated with a slogan like "Abolish ICE". This doesn't make a lot of policy sense and certainly doesn't make political sense, since it will sound to many potentially persuadable voters like abandoning enforcement against illegal immigration. This would be unwise.
In short, to make the blue wave as high as possible, play hard, play smart and don't give the enemy extra ammunition.
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It’s time for a bottom-up progressive movement to counter a conservative Supreme Court.

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