NDN Blog

Invite: Feb 16, 1pm ET - NDN Talks High Crimes with Glenn Kirschner

We are very excited for this episode of NDN Talks - an extended conversation with television commentator and former prosecutor Glenn Kirschner.  Reserve your spot for Tuesday, February 16th at 1pm today. 

While we admired Glenn's commenator on television, what originally drew us to develop a working relationship with Glenn was this terrific legal analysis back in 2018.  In this NBC NewsThink essay, Glenn made a big argument, one which we think is particularly relevant today - that the Department of Justice needs to treat electoral crimes committed by the President as grave crimes, ones which cannot be subject to it's current "no prosecution" policy.  In this essay he wrote:

"If a president can act unlawfully to influence an election, he does not deserve the protections of his ill-gotten office. This incongruity encourages lawlessness in the quest for the presidency and then rewards that lawlessness by inoculating the criminal president against prosecution. Such a construct is dangerous....

We now find ourselves with a president whose crimes may outpace those of Nixon and Clinton. Failing to hold criminal presidents accountable in a court of law arguably emboldens, or at the very least does not dissuade, corrupt individuals from seeking the presidency. At some point, we must learn from our institutional mistakes. Department of Justice officials would be wise to reflect on American history lest we once again succumb to a governmental crisis."

What he is saying here, very clearly, is that if a President cannot be prosecuted for election crimes, then he has ever incentive in the world to cheat with impunity, which is exactly what we saw in both the Ukraine fiasco in 2019 and the months long effort to disrupt and cheat in the 2020 election.  Simon wrote an extended essay about Glenn's argument back in August, in the midst of what we called Trump's original electoral crime spree. 

With the 2nd Trump Impeachment trial starting in a new days we hope help to put Glenn's big argument back into the national debate, as a step we can take to ensure that these dark days don't return to America soon, or perhaps ever.

Glenn's Bio:

Glenn is a former federal prosecutor with 30 years of trial experience. He served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for 24 years, rising to the position of Chief of the Homicide Section. In that capacity, Glenn supervised 30 homicide prosecutors and oversaw all homicide grand jury investigations and prosecutions in Washington, DC. Prior to joining the DC U.S. Attorney’s Office, Glenn served more than six years on active duty as an Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) prosecutor, trying court-martial cases and handling criminal appeals, including espionage and death penalty cases. Glenn currently works as an NBC News/MSNBC on-air legal analyst and teaches criminal justice at George Washington University. He has a YouTube channel and Podcast, “Justice Matters with Glenn Kirschner.”

Glenn tried hundreds of cases in his 30 years as a prosecutor, including more than 50 murder trials, multiple lengthy RICO trials and precedent-setting cases.  His cases have been made into major motion pictures (murder conviction of a sophisticated con man who ran in elite DC circles, subject of upcoming film “Georgetown”, starring Vanessa Redgrave, Christoph Waltz and Annette Bening) and TV documentaries (defendant Andre Burno convicted of the ambush shooting of an on-duty police officer, subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO documentary, “Thug Life in DC”). Glenn has lectured at Federal Bar Association seminars, judicial conferences and professional association events.  He has presented at the National Advocacy Center on the topic of homicide prosecutions and taught advanced criminal law at George Washington University School of Law as an adjunct faculty member. He traveled as a Department of Justice representative to address Ukrainian prosecutors and detectives regarding the U.S. Criminal justice system.   

As an Army JAG, Glenn served as prosecutor at Fort Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska, where he handled dozens of court-martial cases and served as legal advisor to Army commanders on criminal justice matters. He then served as an Army appellate attorney at the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency in Falls Church, Virginia, where he handled death penalty and espionage cases, among others.

Glenn attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and was First-Team All American football player in 1983.  In 1987, he graduated with honors from New England School of Law in Boston, where he was named a Trustee’s Scholar. Glenn has received numerous awards, including: the Harold J. Sullivan Award for Fairness, Ethics and Trial Excellence; the John F. Evans Award for Outstanding Advocacy; the Metropolitan Police Department’s Chief of Police Medal of Honor; the United States Attorney’s Office STAR Award; U.S. Army Meritorious Service Medal; Washington & Lee University Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee; and induction in September 2018 into the American College of Trial Lawyers.   

Two Events on the Biden Boom - Friday, Tuesday

We have two events in the next week which will look at the strong performance of the US economy under Joe Biden, and the Democrats more broadly:

Tuesday, Jan 25th 1230pm ET – The Biden Boom with Rob Shapiro.  Our long time collaborator Rob Shapiro joins us next week to discuss his recent, highly influential article in the Washington Monthly, “It’s A Biden Boom - And No One Has Noticed Yet.”  As Rob writes in the piece “President Biden and the Democratic Congress are set to preside over the strongest two-year performance on growth, jobs, and income in decades.”  It is a terrific article and will be a great discussion – hope you can join us! RSVP here

Friday, Jan 21st, 1230 pm ET – With Democrats Things Get Better – This Friday is the monthly showing of our signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better.  It’s a 25 minute data filled journey through American politics since the Cold War ended and a new political age began.  And what the data shows, not surprisingly, is that during this period when Democrats were in power the US had strong, sustained job and GDP growth, booming stock markets, rising incomes and wages; and when Republicans have come to power, we’ve had 3 consecutive recessions, two very severe, and debilitating deficits.  The fundamental contrast between Democratic growth and progress versus GOP recession and decline that emerges from the presentation is very stark, and critical to understanding where we are in American politics today.  You can learn more about the big arguments behind With Dems here, and sign up for the 123o pm ET Zoom-based presentation here.

Perhaps the most remarkable stat from the deck – of the 42 million jobs created in the US since 1989, 40 million – 95% - have been created with Democrats in the White House.

Feel free to invite friends and colleagues to either event – the more the merrier!

Report: 3 Times As Many Biden Jobs As Bushes, Trump Combined

Friday, January 7th, 2022  - So with the new January jobs report posted, our monthly jobs tracker comes in at

33.8m jobs - 16 years of Clinton, Obama

6.2m jobs - 11 months of Biden

1.9m jobs - 16 years of Bush, Bush and Trump

Biden's 6.2m jobs is already three times as many than were created in the 16 years of the last 3 Republican Presidencies, combined.  It is also millions more than were created in the entirety of any of their three individual Presidencies.  Many millions more.  Since 1989 and the end of the Cold War, the US has seen 42 million new jobs created.  Remarkably 40 million of those 42 million were created under Democratic Presidents, 95%.

What this data tells us is that since this new age of globalization began in 1989, a modern and forward looking Democratic Party has repeatedly seen strong economic growth on its watch.  Republican Presidents, on the other hand, have overseen three consecutive recessions - the last two, severe. The contrast in performance here is very stark, it is not a stretch to state that the GOP’s economic track record over the past 30 years has been among the worst in the history of the United States.  

GDP growth tells a similar story:

And look at the jobs created per month over these Presidencies - Rs at just 10k per month over 16 years.  Biden is running at more than 50 times that so far.  Yes more than 50x.  

The bottom line is that Democratic policies have repeatedly been able to make globalization work for the American people in this new and challenging age.  GOP policies have repeatedly failed to deliver, as a national party Republicans have repeatedly failed to do their part.  For those looking for reasons why America has not made more progress in this era, reactionary Republican policies appear to be a very good place to start.   

Importantly, there is a growing recognition of both the very strong economic performance of the economy under Biden, and under the Democrats more broadly.  On 2021 being one of the best economic years in recent decades see these analyses by Rob Shapiro, Matthew Winkler, Paul Krugman and David Rothkopf.  For the the bigger asymmetry in performance between the two parties see these smart pieces by David Leonhardt and Mike Tomasky.  NDN has just published a new piece which shows that 2021 was also a record year for new business formation - certainly one of the best bits of data in a year full of very positive economic news.

It is our firm belief here at NDN that the current radicalization of the GOP is intimately linked to its repeated failure to handle the challenges of the post-Cold War era.  The rigid ideological approach of the modern GOP has left it unable to govern in a time of rapid change; and those repeated failures have left many Republicans angry, reactionary and willing to do the unthinkable to stay in or regain power.  The modern GOP has no answers for many of the most important challenges America faces today, and rather than modernizing, adapting, as all institutions must in a time of change, the GOP has decided to fight the future by rigging the system to remain in power while the country and its people drift from their narrow grasp. 

It is why Democrats must fight so hard to prevent Republicans from once again cheating their way into power, and establishing a sustained period of minority rule.  It is not just a betrayal of the great American experiment, but it will guarantee, as the data here strongly argues, a period of extended decline as much needed progress on the big challenges we face will be further delayed. 

This argument – about the success Democrats have achieved through modernization, and the failures of the GOP for their refusal to do so – is at the very core of our presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better.  Our next presentation is Friday, January 21st.  You can learn more about these arguments, sign up to see the 1/21 With Dems, or see a recording of November 12th presentation here

If you liked this analysis, you will love With Dems.  Join us!

 

Ending 2021 on A High Note – America’s Can Do Spirit Is Alive and Well

Ending 2021 on A High Note – America’s Can Do Spirit Is Alive and Well

2021 was a hard year for the United States.  Our political system suffered arguably its most direct challenge in our history, a threat that remains, aided by a radicalized GOP.  Truly extreme weather of all kinds caused hundreds of billions of damage to communities in every part of the country.  And then there was COVID, as great a disruption to our way of life as many of us may see in our lifetimes.  

It was a hard year.  

But remarkably, despite all these ongoing and sometimes debilitating challenges, the American people reached deep, found a higher gear, worked their asses off and the economy took off.  Our friend Rob Shapiro labeled the strong growth we’ve seen this year a “boom,” and the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank described it this way: “America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion,” Matthew Winkler, former editor in chief of Bloomberg News, wrote last week. Among the gains: The economy expanded an estimated 5.5 percent in 2021 (fourth-quarter growth dramatically outpaced Europe and even China). Unemployment plunged to 4.2 percent. Record-setting U.S. stock markets (the S&P 500 is up nearly 30 percent) outperformed the world. Productivity jumped. Corporate profits are the largest since 1950 and corporate debt the lowest in 30. Consumer credit expanded. Confidence among CEOs is the highest in 20 years. The American Rescue Plan cut child poverty in half.”

And to that incredible list we would add real wages for workers in the bottom half of the US workforce have seen gains this year despite rising prices, and millions gained health insurance through the Affordable Car Act.  

But of all these inspiring stats, the ones that we find the most remarkable are about new business formation, good ole American entrepreneurship. 2021 saw the most IPOs ever recorded, 1006, substantially more than the previous record of 848 in 1996.  And the pace of new businesses created of in 2021 is way beyond anything we’ve seen in decades

 

 

All of this data together points to 2021 being one of the most successful years for the American economy and people in modern history.  That it has happened in a time of such ongoing adversity speaks to the core of what I think is truly most exceptional about America – our incredible desire to do, to make, to create, to invent, to innovate, to take risks, to adapt.  Everywhere we look we see the power of American ingenuity – our companies and scientists are leading the global fight against COVID; Tesla has inspired the world to rethink mobility; Apple, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and so many American tech companies continue to imagine and build the future.   The list goes on and on.  A thousand IPOs this year, millions of new businesses – during COVID! The dynamism, the grit, the resilience, the toughness at the very heart of this great country has never been more on display as it has been these past few years. 

Surely if President Biden wants to show the world that democracies are still where it’s at, finding a way to celebrate these collective achievements in a time of global challenge, to remind all about the transformative power of American ingenuity and the can do spirit of our people, would be a great way to kick off the new year.  It might even be a theme a State of the Union could be built around.  

So I am choosing to end this hard year on an optimistic note.  For I think the key to keeping our democracy, tackling climate change and defeating COVID all start with recognizing the greatness of this remarkable nation and its people, and summoning that can do spirit to complete vital work which is not yet done.  These are things that can only be done by us, all of us, working together in the years ahead.  And there is nothing more “democratic” than a people, along with their government, pulling together to get big things done. 

Rob Shapiro on the Biden Boom

Our long-time collaborator Rob Shapiro published an essay in the Washington Monthly on Friday which has deservedly received lots of attention.  Called “It’s A Biden Boom-And No One Has Noticed Yet,” the essay reviews a great deal of recent economic data and concludes “President Biden and the Democratic Congress are set to preside over the strongest two-year performance on growth, jobs, and income in decades.”

Rob’s compelling essay is a must read, and tracks NDN’s two recent analyses: 3 Times As Many Biden Jobs As Bushes, Trump Combined and 40m of 42m new jobs since 1989 have come under Dem Presidents.  Former NDNer Kristian Ramos has a smart, new piece up in Salon, Humility is the Democrats’ Kryptonite, which covers some of this same, valuable terrain. The repeated success of the American economy under Democratic Presidents – and repeated failure under Rs – remains perhaps the most important, least understood story in American politics today. 

On inflation, NDN’s new edition of its “Saliency Index” finds the Democratic electorate still far more concerned about COVID, climate/extreme weather, the economy and other issues than inflation.  This remains a surprising finding of this new NDN product, but on Friday we explored whether two factors could help explain this – real wage growth for the bottom half of the workforce remains positive in 2021 (and perhaps the CTC, other investments helped here too), and the spiking parts of the inflation we are seeing – gas, car related activities – are a much bigger problem for exurban and rural GOPers more than more urban Dems. This is an area in need of further study and discussion.   

Saliency Index #3 – COVID concerns rising, inflation still secondary concern in Dem electorate

December 15th - In this third edition of NDN’s Saliency Index, assembled from Navigator Research’s latest poll completed on December 6th, we find rising concern about COVID, and inflation remaining a second tier issue in the Democratic electorate.  

Here’s the 12/6/21 Saliency Index: 

Soc/Medicare = Social Security/Medicare, Climate Ex W = Climate/Extreme Weather.  This data is drawn from the question “Select the top four issues that you feel are most important for President Joe Biden and Congress to focus on.” NDN’s model tries to capture the electorate a battleground candidate will speak to in 2022, coming in at Modeled D = (80%D, 15%I, 5%R) and Modeled R = (80%R, 15%I, 5%D).  You can find out more about the methodology here, and review our analysis from the 11/22 Navigator survey here.  

Different information universes – As we review the data each time we continue to be struck by how fundamentally different the information universes are for Democrats and Republicans.  While we know this conceptually, we find this analysis really brings it out. 

In this week’s report COVID is almost twice as important to Dem voters as Rs.  Two top tier Dem issues – climate/extreme weather and health care – barely register for Republicans.  Three top tier GOP issues – immigration, inflation and national security – are lower tier issues for Democrats.  Perhaps our favorite stat this week – twice as many Republicans are concerned about Afghanistan as they are about climate change and extreme weather.  

COVID jumps as Dem concern – In the Democratic electorate we saw significant movement on COVID over the past two weeks. In our last report from Navigator polling completed on 11/22, COVID and the economy/jobs each came in at 57%.  The 12/6 poll came in at 63% COVID, 55% economy/jobs, reminding us once again that for Democrats defeating COVID remains job #1.  Democrats would be wise to be scheduling events in the coming weeks involving steps communities are taking to prevent the spread of COVID – family vaccine clinics, school testing sites, etc. The winter surge is here, and the Dem electorate is feeling it.  

The rise of both COVID and health care in the GOP electorate suggests Republicans are feeling the winter surge as well.  

Inflation Concerns Easing a Bit with Dems and Independents – Inflation remains a second tier concern for Democrats coming in at 31%, at half the level of concern for COVID.  While Navigator didn’t ask the question in this poll, in their last poll modeled Democrats blamed COVID for inflation over Biden policies by 70-21.  So for the voters Dems are trying to reach COVID is a second tier issue, and an overwhelming majority believes it has been caused by COVID and not the President’s policies.  It’s why we continue to believe that Democrats should be talking about inflation/supply chain/worker shortages through a COVID/recovery frame; and, for example, more aggressively challenge GOPers concerned about inflation to go home and help us get more Americans vaccinated.  Defeating COVID remains the key to returning something close to normal.  

If anything concerns about inflation may be easing a bit.  Since the last Navigator poll it dropped from 29% to 28% among Dems, and 42% to 39% with Independents.  In a different survey question the number of people “very concerned”  inflation will rise in the coming months dropped from 68% on 11/22 to 59% on 12/6.  That’s a big drop, and signs do point to inflation concerns easing outside the GOP electorate, for now. 

We are beginning to believe that the big variance in how the two coalitions understand inflation right now may be more than the distorting effect of right wing media.  As we write in this recent post, because the biggest jumps in inflation have come from gas and cars, GOP exurban and rural voters may be experiencing inflation more intensely than voters in urban and suburban areas who drive less.  And, remarkably, real wages for those in the bottom half of wage earners have remained positive this year.  Thus working class Dems who drive less really may be doing okay with this inflation, particularly with the help of the Child Tax Credit and other support provided in 2021.  This is an area which needs much more study.    

Climate/Extreme Weather remains a top Dem concern – we’ve gone back and looked Navigator polling since May and all throughout climate/extreme weather has been in the upper tier of issues in the Democratic electorate.   This is a bit of sea change, and something which deserves far more attention and discussion in the center-left family.  It is, of course, a welcome development. 

The Democratic Electorate Is Much More Positive on the Economy – so we ran our model against a different Navigator question, this one asking whether the economy is getting better, same, worse.  The results are pretty interesting: 

Economy                 All     Modeled D   Modeled R

Getter Better             19         29              7

Same                        21         25            16

Getter Worse            55         39            73

So, for all voters, it’s 40% Better/Same, 54% Worse.  For the Dem electorate it’s 54% Better/Same, 39% Worse.  Completely different information universe here, and like in some many areas the intensity of GOP views can distort one’s understanding of where the Democratic electorate is without going through an exercise like this.  The Dem electorate is also net positive on whether they were confident in their personal finances.  Perhaps this is one reason why we are seeing rising concerns about COVID among Dems – folks are not as threated by the economy/inflation as Rs are, and feeling more of the recovery than other parts of the electorate.  

Final Note – this is an experimental project, and I welcome your feedback at srosenberg@ndn.org. We began this work as a response to what we feel has become an over reliance in center-left polling this year on an issue’s popularity rather than its importance, a subject we cover in greater depth in this recent essay

40m of 42m new jobs since 1989 have come under Dem Presidents

In preparing our monthly look at the US jobs report, we’ve come across a set of statistics we just can’t stop thinking about: of the 42 million new jobs America has created since the Cold War ended in 1989 and a new age of globalization began, 40 million of those jobs – 95% - have come in the 17 years of 3 Democratic Presidents, Clinton Obama and Biden.  Only 2m of those jobs were created in the 16 years of GOP Presidents, 2 Bushes and Trump (see the graph below). 

As we write in our analysis accompanying these graphs, we think this jawdropping asymmetry in performance is critical to understanding some of the core dynamics driving American politics today; most importantly, that the Republican Party has failed to keep up with a changing world and has in essence become a failed party - angry, reactionary, illiberal, MAGA.  Democrats, meanwhile, have repeatedly done their part, modernizing, creating growth, jobs, rising wages, a booming stock market and a better America.  

NDN's Saliency Index #2 - COVID, The Economy Remain Most Important Issues for Dems

NDN’s Saliency Index 12/8/21 – COVID, the economy remain most important issues for voters Dems need to win in 2022

A few weeks back, NDN launched a new analytical product we are calling the Saliency Index.  It takes the data from Navigator Research’s “most important issue” question and models it for what a typical electorate in a swing state or district might be.  The Navigator question smartly asks people to provide 4 answers from a pre-set list, providing a great deal of granularity not available when respondents are only asked to name a single highest priority.  

You can learn more about the methodology behind the Index in this post, and you can find the raw data from the latest Navigator survey here.   We will be putting out a new Index each time Navigator releases its toplines, and will also begin to track changes in the Index over time. 

So here’s our Saliency Index from the just released 11/20/21 Navigator toplines, with Modeled D = (80%D, 15%I, 5%R) and Modeled R = (80%R, 15%I, 5%D):  

So the most obvious takeaway here is just how different the information universes are for Democrats and Republicans.  While we know this conceptually, this analysis really brings it out.  Two top tier Dem issues – climate/extreme weather and health are – are off the radar screen for Republican voters.  Three top tier GOP issues – immigration, inflation and national security – are second tier issues for Democrats.  

Other takeaways:

COVID remains a top issue for the Democratic electorate - As we’ve written elsewhere we think Democrats need to frame their agenda in the context of “defeating COVID, securing the recovery and…..” Democratic voters have not moved on from COVID, nor should we expect them to for a while.  Note here that COVID is almost twice as important for the Democratic electorate as it is for Rs – the gap here is huge, and critical to understand.  It’s why we think the President should go on a “war footing” on COVID – not just to keep asking people to do their part, but because Democratic voters want/expect him to lead on the issue. 

Climate/extreme weather is now consistently a top tier issue for the Democratic electorate – more work has to be done here, as this finding is new, and not showing up in other research projects.  May reflect the priorities of younger Americans, who make up a far bigger percentage of the Dem than GOP electorate.

Is the current Dem focus on inflation justified? For modeled Dem voters in this report inflation is a second tier issue right now.  A second question in this survey (q48) asks whether the inflation we are seeing is coming from COVID disruption or Biden economic policy, and for modeled Dem voters it is 70% COVID, 21% Biden. Using our methodology, inflation is just not a major concern for Dem voters right now, and the data suggests that the best way for Dems to address concerns about inflation, supply chains and worker shortages is keep challenging Americans to do their part in defeating COVID here at home. 

Finally, we understand that this is a crude analysis.  Every state and district will have their own specific issue hierarchies.  But it’s our belief that Democrats have to become more focused on what matters to voters, the salience of issues, not just their popularity.  As I explain in this essay, an issue can be popular but not important to voters.  What moves votes are issues which are popular and important.  Looking at the political landscape or a set of issues without first establishing saliency can produce distorted understandings of where voters are, and may help explain why it is possible that Democrats have done all this popular stuff this year and seen the President’s job approval decline so much. 

Supporting NDN This #GivingTuesday

As long time NDNers know we only come to you when we need a bit more support, and this is one of those times.  We need to raise $30,000 in the next few weeks to ensure we make our 2021 budget and enter another important political year all cylinders firing.  So please consider making a contribution to NDN today of any amount - $25, $50, more - as part of your Giving Tuesday plans, on this, our first solicitation of the year. 

Your financial support allows us to stay in the arena during these challenging times, continuing to help chart a modern and successful course for today’s center-left.  A few highlights from a very productive year: 

- We are thrilled that so many policies NDN has long championed, from “clean infrastructure” to expanding the number of school years for all Americans to critical investments in child care, have been embraced by President Biden and are advancing through Congress.  

- We’ve published a series of influential, big-picture strategy memos which have, we hope, helped guide our family through what has been an historic but far too rancorous summer and fall.  

-  We’ve launched two new regular analytical products – a monthly Jobs Report which contrasts the economic performance of the two parties over the past 30 years, and a new Saliency Index which tracks what issues matter most to the voters Democrats need to talk to in 2022.  

-  We’ve hosted many elected officials, innovators and thought leaders in our new Zoom discussion series, which has covered topics as wide-ranging as struggles in Democratic polling, resisting economic nostalgia, the need for a single national privacy standard to the ever worsening radicalization of the GOP.  

-  Our two feature presentations, With Democrats Things Get Better and our 2022 Election Briefing, are updated each month and continue to offer fresh insights and analysis.  

- Finally, we are very proud of how much we’ve broken through in the national media this year.   Our analysis has been regularly cited in the big national media outlets and in the emerging pod ecosystem - including the Atlantic, Axios, the New York Times, Politico, Politicology, That Trippi Show and the Washington Post - ensuring that our indepth analysis and modern approach continues to shape our collective understanding of this critical period in American history.  

So, as you decide where your #GivingTuesday contributions will go, we hope you will make NDN and its cutting edge work one of the places you support.  We don’t ask very often, and hope we can count on your support in this critical moment, so full of both promise, and peril.  

Defeating COVID Remains Job #1

Are We Ready for A Winter COVID Surge? A winter surge here in the US, along with the inevitable emergence of another concerning variant, are vivid reminders that until COVID is defeated here and everywhere our country and economy will struggle to return to something close to normal.  It’s why we’ve been advocating for months now for President Biden to return to a pandemic war footing, and make the defeating of COVID and securing a global economic recovery the central task of his Presidency.  

As part of this stepped up effort we think it would be wise for the President to address the nation in the coming days about COVID.  Do a Presidential check-in, let the American people know about the very real progress we’ve made, discuss the very real challenges ahead, lay out the plan and team which will defeat COVID here and everywhere in the months ahead. There is much good news to share – vaccines for 5-11 year olds, the booster, coming therapeutics, expansion of rapid at home testing options, more sophisticated global surveillance capacity.  The President can also remind voters that many of the challenges we face now in what’s been a very rapid economic recovery – inflation, supply chain, worker shortages – are due to COVID, and the harder we all work to defeat COVID, the faster we can put these challenges behind us.    

It is our belief that the main driver of the President’s job approval decline since the spring has been the public loss of faith in his management of COVID.  We fear what might happen to his standing if the US experiences a serious return of COVID this winter, as we are seeing in some European countries now and as the emergence of the new variant threatens.  It is why we strongly recommend that the President get out ahead of this rising uncertainty, step up his domestic and global efforts, address the nation and make it clear that defeating COVID will remain the #1 priority of his Administration until the pandemic is actually behind us.  

As Simon argues in the Washington Post today there is a clear domestic political imperative to the President re-grounding his Presidency in COVID/recovery: “To me the highest message priority for 2022 is to make sure we get credit for having defeated covid and secured the economic recovery,” said Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist. “If we can’t get credit with voters for big important things we’ve done, we are unlikely to get credit for things which largely haven’t happened yet. As the incumbent party, we will be judged by whether we’ve made people’s lives better, not on what legislation we’ve passed.”

This essay was originally posted on Tuesday, Nov 22nd and updated on Monday, November 29th. 

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