NDN Blog

Video, Events - DelBene, Ornstein, Amandi, Posen, CIRCLE and More......

Missed one of our recent events? No worries! We have video here for you to enjoy, and share with others.  And while here check out our schedule of upcoming events - we have many good ones on the books.  

Video is available for the following events:

July 30th - With Democrats Things Get Better (Video) (Description)

July 20th - The DNC's Tim Durigan on Countering Disinformation (Video) (Event Recap)

July 13th - The Biden Climate Agenda with WH's Kieve, Flegal (Video) (Event Recap)

June 29th - NDN Talks Economic Nostalgia With Adam Posen (Video) (Event Recap)

June 22nd - NDN Talks With Norm Ornstein about Defending Democracy, GOP Radicalization.  (Video) (Event Recap)

June 15th - NDN Talks The Youth Vote with CIRCLE of Tisch College/Tufts - In recent elections young people have been turning out in big numbers, and voting for Democrats by some of the largest margins in recent history.  Join us for a look at this important political trend with some of America's top youth vote experts.  (Video) (Description)

April 27th - NDN Talks Dem Polling Struggles W/Jim Gerstein of GBAO (Video) (Description)

April 20th - NDN Talks Democracy Journal w/Ken Baer and Andrei Cherny (Video) (Description)

April 6th - NDN Talks w/Jessica Brandt About The Global Info War Over COVID Vaccines (Video) (Description)

March 30th - NDN Talks Privacy with Rep. Suzan DelBene (Video) (Description)

Mar 16th - NDN Talks The American Rescue Plan w/Dr. Rob Shapiro (Video) (Description)

Mar 9th - NDN Talks Repairing America's Information Ecosystem w/Amb. Karen Kornbluh (Video) (Description)

Mar 2nd - NDN Talks the Hispanic Vote with Fernand Amandi (Video) (Description)

Feb 23rd - NDN Talks GOP War on Voting with Ari Berman (Video) (Description)

Feb 16th - NDN Talks High Crimes with Glenn Kirschner (Video) (Description)

Feb 8th - NDN Talks w/Rep. Scott Peters About New Dem 100 Day Agenda (Video) (Description)

Feb 2nd - NDN Talks Strongmen with Ruth Ben-Ghiat (Video) (Description)

Dec 4th, 2020 - NDN Talks Arizona Going Blue w/Rep. Ruben Gallego (Video) (Description)

Video: NDN Talks High Crimes w/Glenn Kirschner (2/16/21)

As expected, our conversation today with Glenn Kirschner was thought-provoking and for those of us who want to see accountability for Donald Trump, reassuring and welcome.  Follow this link to watch the memorable Feb 16th episode of NDN Talks.  It ran about 38 minutes in total.

Background on our converation with Glenn Kirschner

While we always admired Glenn's commentary on television, what originally drew us to develop a working relationship with him was a terrific legal analysis he authored for NBC News back in 2018.  In the essay Glenn makes 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 the essay he writes: "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 every 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, cheat and overthrow 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. All of this is well worth considering as we face what may be the second reckless failure to convict Trump for grave crimes, High Crimes, against our democracy itself. 

With the 2nd Trump Impeachment under way we hope to help to put Glenn's big argument back into the national debate.  It is one small step we can take to ensure that these dark days of Trump don't return to America soon, or perhaps ever.  We hope you will join us on Tuesday. 

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.   

 

Video: NDN Talks Strongmen w/Ruth Ben-Ghiat (2/2/21)

Feb 2nd - Our discussion with Ruth Ben-Ghiat today was the first in a new series we've launched on American politics.  If you missed this talk, we have a recording here.  Ruth was really great - do take the time to check it out and learn more/order her acclaimed book, Strongmen, here

A quick summary of Strongmen from Professor Ben-Ghiat’s site – “Ruth Ben-Ghiat is the expert on the "strongman" playbook employed by authoritarian demagogues from Mussolini to Putin—enabling her to predict with uncanny accuracy the recent experience in America. In Strongmen, she lays bare the blueprint these leaders have followed over the past 100 years, and empowers us to recognize, resist, and prevent their disastrous rule in the future.” 

We have learned much from Professor Ben-Ghiat in recent months, and was excited to bring her to you today.  Here's a schedule of our upcoming events - hope to see you at as many as you can make in the coming days. 

DHS Sec Wolf, AG Rosen Should Testify ASAP on Capitol Security Lapse

Thursday, Jan 7th - NDN is calling on Congress to subpoena Acting DHS Secretary Wolf and Acting Attorney General Rosen for a public session to discuss the breach of the Capitol, under oath, in the House of Representatives next week.  If possible, Steven Sund, the Chief of the Capitol Police, should join them. 

The actions by Trump extremists yesterday in Washington and in dozens of capitols across the country had to have been known to DHS/FBI.  Just a few months ago DHS labeled right wing extremism America’s most significant domestic threat.  The FBI had recently broken up an extremist plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor, and we’ve seen repeated episodes of domestic terrorism and violence by a growing right wing extremist movement in the past few years.  The preparations for a national day of action and violence to keep the President in office was out in the open, known – it is just inconceivable that the entire Capital region wasn’t prepared for a potential incident, especially since the Vice President was going to be in the Capitol all day, and both chambers would be in session. 

The American people need to hear from Wolf and Rosen right now about why the Capitol wasn’t better prepared for the attack yesterday.   If this doesn’t happen before the change in Administrations, they should testify as private citizens, under oath, as soon as possible.

You can find more insights from NDN on the January 6th attack on the Congress here, and loud warnings from us about Trump’s systemic attacks on our democracy and growing embrace of political violence as a means to advance his agenda and stay in power. 

 

Invite: Fri, Dec 4th 2pm ET - NDN Talks Arizona Going Blue w/Rep. Ruben Gallego

Friday, Dec 4th 2pm ET - NDN Talks Arizona Going Blue w/Rep. Ruben Gallego - One of the biggest changes in the national politics and the Electoral College map over the past two decades has been the gradual turning of the Southwest from a lean GOP area to a solidly blue one.  In 2004 George W. Bush won AZ, CO, NM, NV in his re-election bid, and 6 of the region’s 8 Senators were Republicans.  In 2020, Democrats claimed all 31 Electoral College votes from the region, and all 8 Senators are now Democrats.  It is has been a significant evolution indeed.

This year Democrats finally flipped the toughest of the four states, Arizona, home to Barry Goldwater and John McCain, winning both its Electoral College votes and a second Senate seat.   Joining us this Friday at 2pm ET for a discussion about the changing politics of the Southwest, and Arizona in particular, is Phoenix based Rep. Ruben Gallego, one of the key architects of the Democratic Party’s recent success in Arizona.   You can register for this terrific event here, and catch both Rep. Gallego and Simon Rosenberg talking about the changing politics of Arizona in a new Washington Post analysis by Greg Sargent.

Invite: Fri, Dec 4th 2pm ET - NDN Talks Arizona Going Blue w/Rep. Ruben Gallego

Friday, Dec 4th 2pm ET - NDN Talks Arizona Going Blue w/Rep. Ruben Gallego - One of the biggest changes in the national politics and the Electoral College map over the past two decades has been the gradual turning of the Southwest from a lean GOP area to a solidly blue one.  In 2004 George W. Bush won AZ, CO, NM, NV in his re-election bid, and 6 of the region’s 8 Senators were Republicans.  In 2020, Democrats claimed all 31 Electoral College votes from the region, and all 8 Senators are now Democrats.  It is has been a significant evolution indeed.

This year Democrats finally flipped the toughest of the four states, Arizona, home to Barry Goldwater and John McCain, winning both its Electoral College votes and a second Senate seat.   Joining us this Friday at 2pm ET for a discussion about the changing politics of the Southwest, and Arizona in particular, is Phoenix based Rep. Ruben Gallego, one of the key architects of the Democratic Party’s recent success in Arizona.   You can register for this terrific event here, and catch both Rep. Gallego and Simon Rosenberg talking about the changing politics of Arizona in a new Washington Post analysis by Greg Sargent.

Biden's Mandate, GA Run-Offs, Youth Vote and More

This essay was originally published on Monday, November 9th.

Biden’s mandate– When all is said and done, President-Elect Biden will likely have won this historic race by 5 points, and hit at least 306 Electoral College votes, the same amount Donald Trump has been claiming is landslide territory these past 4 years.  It was a hard fought and bruising campaign, and we lift our hats this morning to the entire Biden-Harris campaign, particularly its manager, Jen O’Malley Dillon. 

It is great to see the Biden-Harris transition getting off to such a sure-footed start this morning. It is a sign of just how experienced this team is going to be.  In a statement this morning, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris laid out their four initial priorities:  “Joe Biden and I are ready to get COVID-19 under control. We’re ready to rebuild our economy. We’re ready to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. We’re ready to act to address systemic racism. And we’re ready to fight for you.”  A new day indeed. 

In a new Letras Libres magazine article (in English and Spanish), Simon offers his thoughts on what we might see from the new Administration.  Biden’s convincing win gives him a clear mandate to move on his ambitious agenda, as does the remarkable fact that in all but one national election over the past 28 years Democrats have won more votes than the Republicans. This success is a reminder that the Democratic Party has been perhaps the most successful center-left political party in the developed world in recent decades – something that will become even more important as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris go back out and try to rebuild our frayed alliances and improve our degraded standing in the world. 

And finally, NDN wants to acknowledge what a miracle this election was.  The challenges election administrators and volunteers faced across the country were extraordinary.  And yet it has all come off without major incident, in every state, early vote/day of vote/vote by mail, and with record numbers voting.  That we were able to pull off this election despite the challenges was in of itself an affirmation of the gritty, spirited, all in this together America we know is still there, and one we hope will emerge again in the coming months.  

The GA run-offs– Our advice to anyone looking at these Georgia races is to practice a bit of humility.  We really have no idea what is going to happen.  Whether Rs will show up without Trump on the ballot (they didn’t in 2017-2018-2019); what the Trump loss will do to GOP turnout; can Democrats replicate election day turnout in run-offs, something they have struggled to do; what it means for the Democratic political leadership in GA now that they’ve turned the state purple; what Biden and Harris campaigning will do, etc.  

These two races are about as high stakes as it gets, and our expectation that like 2020 itself they will both go down to the wire.  

The youth vote comes through for Democrats– We’ve been writing quite a bit of late about the youth vote and early data suggests that young people (18-29) voted at some of the highest levels we’ve seen in recent decades, and according to the early Exit Polls went for Biden 62-35 (+27), up from 55-36 (+19) for Clinton four years ago.  18-24 year olds went 67-29 (+38), up from 56-34% (+22) four years ago. 

For more on the youth vote in the 2020 election check out the remarkably in-depth early analysis from CIRCLE at Tisch College, Tufts University.  

We will be offering a more in-depth look at this historic election in the coming weeks – stay tuned. 

Analysis: Biden Leads, Early Vote Surge, Young People Voting, GOP Erosion in SW

NDN Pre/Post Election Briefings – We’ve added 3 new election briefings – today at 2pm ET, and post-election briefings the next 2 Wednesdays.  You can register here for any one of them. 

If you can’t make today’s briefing, you can watch our Wednesday briefing here.  It’s about 25 minutes long and full of lively charts, graphs and good news for Democrats. 

2020 Top Lines– 538’s averages a few days out: 

                  Trump Job Approval    - 44.4% Approve, 52.4% Disapprove (8 pts)

                  POTUS Head to Head   - 52% Biden 43.2% Trump (8.8 pts)

                  Congressional Generic – 49.8% Democrat 41.7% Republican (7.1 pts)

In the most recent COVID Navigator tracking poll, Trump’s job approval on COVID was 41%, health care 41%, protests/unrest 39%, the economy only 47%. In a new Navigator deep dive on the protests/unrest, 53% say the President made things worse, only 14% (!!!) say he made things better; only 38% of the US oppose the protests; and only 38% blame the Democrats while 50% blame the President for the unrest. 

To make the race competitive the President has to get to at least 48.5% of the vote. A few days out he’s in the low 40s, even high 30s on almost every measure; has never been above 46% in the polling averages in either Presidential election; and has only been at 48% plus job approval for two days. In the next few days he has to get to a place of approval and support he’s never reached not for one day in the past 5 years; Biden’s hold on MI, MN, PA, WI appears unshakeable; Trump is not leading in a single battleground state outside of margin of error, and is nowhere near 50 in any of them; he and the GOP are being badly outspent; heavy early vote will allow Dems to expand their GOTV targets to lower propensity voters and grow their vote; all COVID measures are rising, rapidly; and the vast early vote just makes it harder for any election treachery by the President and his Attorney General.  In others words, things look good for Biden – and we agree with the campaign’s end game push to expand the electoral map.  It is what makes sense, now, today.  

The Senate looks poised to flip.  AZ, CO and ME appear to be firmly in the Democratic camp; IA and NC are leaning Democrat; and Dems are competitive in and could win any of AK, GA (2), KS, MT, SC. If things break right Dems could get up to 53-54 in the Senate – will be lots of drama here on Election Night.  

The Cook Report’s Dave Wasserman projects the House Democrats gain 5 to 15 seats this year, adding to their considerable majority.  

The Magic of This’s Year’s Explosion of Early Voting– The enormity of the early vote this year makes it feel like something has forever changed in our politics. We will be offering more thoughts on what it all means in the coming days, but in the meantime review our analysis which explains why this early vote makes it harder for the President or others to manipulate the election results; and this thoughtful piece by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, which includes this passage: 

“We’ve never had an election like this,” Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg told me. “It’s changing the way we do voter contact. When more people vote early, it allows campaigns to target more low-propensity voters that might not otherwise have been targeted."

“This will almost certainly mean that turnout in this election will be at the upper end of what’s possible,” Rosenberg continued.

Young Voters Are Turning Out– In what could be an ominous development for the GOP, the share of young voters voting in this year’s early vote is 20-25% higher than it was 4 years ago.  Given how much bigger the early vote has been many believed the younger voters, who prefer Biden by 20-40 points, would lag a bit in their share of the early vote.  But that hasn’t happened, and as many polls predicted, young voters appear to be highly motivated and turning out in big numbers. 

See this recent NDN analysis on the youth vote; this live tracker of how young people are performing in the early vote put together by NDN and our friends at Clean and Prosperous America; and these stories in PoliticoUS News and the Washington Post.  The Post story contains this passage:  

“It’s the physical and economic dislocation of covid. It was the protests after George Floyd. It’s climate change and the fires we’ve seen. It’s the aftermath of all the good work that was done after Parkland by the gun-safety movement,” said Simon Rosenberg, president of the liberal think tank NDN, who has been tracking youth turnout.

“All of these things, together with a visceral distrust of the president, has created a perfect storm for what could be historic levels of youth turnout this year.”

The GOP’s Erosion in Heavily Mexican American Parts of the US Accelerates –In 2004 George W. Bush won AZ, CO, NM, NV and TX.  In 2020, CO, NM, NV are no longer competitive; AZ is leaning Dem; and Texas is a true toss up.  In addition Democrats have made significant gains in these states down ballot, and even pulled 7 additional House seats from CA in 2018.  The gains Democrats have made in this region of the country is arguably the most meaningful geographic change we’ve seen in US politics in recent years, and one not yet adequately understood.   Here’s our take on this big change from a few months back. 

A new US News analysis does a good job at exploring how much Trump’s xenophobia and protectionism has hurt him in this region.  The piece quotes Simon: “While immigration may not be a top issue in the current debate, it has played a major role in the election – Trump's extremism on the issue has helped push the heavily Mexican American parts of the country even further away from the president and his party, making his Electoral College map far harder, and the Senate far more likely to flip.”

Election Treachery- We like many have become dismayed at the systemic effort by Trump and his right wing allies (including Justice Kavanaugh and other judges) to make it harder for people to vote, and even changing the rules in key states days before the election.  That a major American political party is even thinking about trying to retroactively invalidate ballots legally cast at the time has to be one of the greatest betrayals of our democracy in all of American history; in a democracy, it just simply cannot be possible for a party, through raw power, to toss out legally cast votes that they don’t like – that, friends, is not a democracy any of our Founding Fathers would recognize.  

All of us need to be far louder what is happening here, while we all work to ensure that everyone’s vote is counted, regardless of the whimsy of a failed and ridiculous President. We’ve aggressively advocated (here, herehere) for a crisper narrative around all the President’s cheating – feel like we could use that today.  

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