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The aspiring majority


The Wall Street Journal looks at Democratic efforts to microtarget.  "Democrats are playing catch-up to Republicans, whose use of microtargeting in 2004 energized millions of new voters who backed President Bush...  Until recently, Democrats, who had long relied on the old get-out-the-vote muscle of organized labor, were skeptical of building voter databases."

This Saturday, the AFL-CIO says it will kick off its "Final Four" get-out-the-vote blitz -- in which 100,000 union volunteers will knock on doors, work the phones, and reach out to fellow union members at the worksite during the final four days of the election.

USA Today notes that "a Democratic House would radically alter the balance of power in Washington... because House rules - unlike those in the Senate - give the majority sweeping authority to set the legislative agenda."  Among the changes: "committee chairpersons based on seniority," so the "gavel would go to at least four African-Americans... and three women...  Currently, all of the House GOP committee chairmen are white and male...  It would also increase the age of House chairpersons." 

The co-author of the Almanac of American Politics, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, says the policy implications of big gains for the out-party in six-year itch elections historically have been mixed.  "If the Democrats are justified in preparing to change the drapes today, the questions to ask are: How enduring will be such a partisan switch?  How much change in public policy will it accomplish?  To the first question, the likelihood of an enduring partisan switch is not high -- if you believe the polls showing the leading Republicans, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, walloping the best-known Democrats... in 2008.  Changes in public policy?  Well, the lead item on the Democrats' wish list is to raise the minimum wage, a law first passed in 1938.  Not exactly a new idea."

The Washington Times previews subpoenas and investigations under a Democratic House majority.  "Democrats say Republicans have been negligent in overseeing various departments and programs related to the nation's security.  They say investigations would lead to subpoenas and oversight hearings of waste, fraud and abuse within emergency, immigration and transportation safety agencies...  Republican staffers say a Democrat-led Congress would devolve into a constant fight over increasing spending levels for security -- and possibly over the structure of the Republican-created" Department of Homeland Security. 

The Washington Post says anticipated contests for the top two leadership positions under a Speaker Pelosi are "raising fears that Democratic unity could be fraying even before the first votes are cast."