NDN Blog

Confronting The Rising Threat of Domestic Extremism

The Biden-Harris Administration is inheriting an extraordinary array of problems left by the many years of misgovernance by the Trump Administration.  We know the list – COVID, a weak economy, a broken immigration system, loss of US standing in the world, a wounded democracy, a worsening climate crisis, compromised government computer systems, a resurgent Russia.  It goes on and on. Few Administrations in our history have had so many difficult challenges left in their lap, all at once. 

As critical as all these things will be there is one additional part of the terrible Trump legacy that will need a great deal of attention in the Biden era, one that will be among this talented Administration’s most difficult challenges – confronting and defeating the rising threat from right wing extremism.   

Among the things which happened in this dark week in Washington is that this movement was able to, with the enthusiastic help of the President and his family, achieve perhaps its most significant victory to date – the successful storming of the US Capitol.  There can be little doubt their success in breaching the Capitol’s defenses, occupying the building and disrupting the Electoral College vote, will supercharge a deeply dangerous movement whose adherents have already just this year plotted to kidnap kill Michigan’s governor, assassinated police, occupied statehouses, conspired to kill American troops stationed overseas, murdered the husband and son of a Federal judge and planned to firebomb police in Las Vegas. 

In a series of new writings (herehere and here) I reflect on the challenges America now faces from what will be a far more grave domestic security threat.  NDN is also calling on Congress to bring AG Jeffrey Rosen and DHS Secretary Chad Wolf in to testify, under oath, about the federal government's lack of preparedness for Wednesday's attack on the Congress. 

We also share a link to one of our main project areas, Countering Illiberalism’s Rise, which has years of our work offering ideas on how to combat the rancid embrace of anti-democratic sentiment and extremist forces we’ve seen not just by the Trump family but by the modern Republican Party.  Finally, we offer an essay I wrote recently which discusses how the Biden Administration can consciously work to strengthen our post war liberal tradition in the coming years – a vital, essential task. 

Rejuvenating post WW II liberalism and combating the rising threat of illiberalism and extremism is going to become NDN’s central focus in the Biden-Harris years. 

From the darkness of this week there can be light.  But only if we work together to make it so.  For as difficult as dislodging Trump and the Republicans has been in recent months, our most important work, together, is coming in the days and months ahead.   

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. 

 

Analysis: The Southwest Has Become A Democratic Stronghold

The Importance of the Heavily Mexican-American Parts of the US to the Democrats– In a lively discussion on Friday December 4th, 2020 with Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego, NDN took a look at one of the more important geographical developments in recent years - the turning of the Southwest and heavily Mexican American parts of the US much more blue.  

You can watch the discussion here, read a Greg Sargent Washington Post story which quotes both Rep. Gallego and Simon, and review some of NDN’s previous work in this space here, here here and here. Simon was also cited in a recent Claire Hansen US News analysis:

"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," Rosenberg says.

One remarkable set of stats which Simon shared during the discussion showed just how much ground the GOP have lost in this region since Bush swept it in 2004.  A snapshot of how much has changed from 2004 to 2020 in AZ, CO, NM, NV:

Dem Electoral Votes – 0 in 2004, all 31 (100%) in 2020

Dem Senate Seats – 2 of 8 (25%) in 2004, all 8 (100%) in 2020

Dem House Seats – 6 of 21 (29%) in 2004, 14 of 23 (61%) in 2020

Dem Govs – 0 of 4 in 2004, 3 of 4 (75%) in 2020

In 16 years Dems have picked up 31 Electoral College votes, 6 Senate seats, 8 House seats and 3 governorships in these 4 southwestern states.  When you expand this analysis to include CA and TX, you get: 

Dem Electoral Votes – 55 of 118 (47%) Electoral College votes in 2004, 86 of 124 (69%) in 2020

Dem Senate Seats – 4 of 10 (40%) in 2004, 10 of 12 (83%) in 2020

Dem House Seats – 55 of 106 (52%) in 2004, 69 of 112 (62%) in 2020

Dem Govs – 0 of 6 (0%) in 2004, 4 of 6 (67%) in 2020

If current census projections hold, Biden's 306 Electoral College vote total will shrink to 301, the region will pick up 4 to get to 128, and the # of EC votes coming from the 4 states will grow to 33.  At 301 and 33, this means that Biden is at 268 without AZ, CO, NM, NV, further reinforcing the political significance of the region. 

From this region today comes the next Vice President, the current Speaker, and the next HHS Secretary who will be leading the fight against COVID.  The DCCC Chair in the 2018 cycle was from NM; the current DSCC Chair is from Nevada; the next DGA Chair is from New Mexico.  All four of Dem Senate pick ups over the last 2 election cycles have come from this region – Rosen (NV) and Sinema (AZ) in 2018, Hickenlooper (CO) and Kelly (AZ) in 2020.  

This recent transformation of the heavily Mexican-Americans part of the country, which includes our two largest states, ranks as one of the most important geographic and/or demographic stories of early 21st century American politics.  It is deserving of far more attention.  

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.

Defeating COVID Is Job #1

Over the past year, NDN has published a variety of analyses on the health, political, and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden, A New Day

Saliency Index #3 – COVID concerns rising, inflation still secondary concern in Dem electorate - 12/17/21 - In the new edition of our Saliency Index, we find rising concerns about COVID in both the Dem and GOP electorates.  Inflation while a major concern with Rs remains a secondary concern in the Democratic coalition. 

Are we ready for a winter COVID surge? - 11/26/21 - We think it is time for the President to a do prime time check in with the American people about COVID.  Review the progress which has been made, talk about the challenges ahead, lay out the plan for defeating it here and everywhere.

My Warning To Dems About MAGA and Schools This Fall - 11/2/21 - In July Simon warned Democratic Party officials that MAGA was going to wage a huge war around schools this fall, and we needed to be ready.  We weren't. 

Memo: 3 Reasons Why 2022 Won’t Be 2010 - 11/1/21 - In a new memo about the current political landscape and the 2022 elections, Simon offers three reasons why, despite Biden's current polling dip, the 2022 mid-terms are likely to be much more competitive than conventional wisdom holds right now.

Memo: Time for Dems To Come Together - 10/6/21 - Since the debate over the President's post-ARP agenda began, the President's approval rating has dropped almost 15 points, endangering Dem 2022 election prospects.  It is time now for all Democrats to come together and end this debilitating, rancerous period.

Memo: 2022 Dem Election Narrative Begins to Take Shape - 9/16/21 - An early version of a possible Dem election narrative has begun to emerge - Dems tackle the big challenges, GOP too radical and extreme to once again trust with power.

Memo: A Fall To Do List for Democrats - COVID, A Growing Economy, Climate, Immigration - 8/30/21 - In a new memo, Simon writes that Democrats have four priorities this fall - defeat COVID/improve health care, creating an economy which works for all, tackle climate change and modernize our an mmigration system. 

Biden at 47% - 8/25/21 - Joe Biden has seen a nine point job in his approval rating over the last month.  Much of it is due to his declining approval on COVID.  Drawing from 2 recent essays, Simon offers some thoughts on what Biden can do now to reclaim his standing and win the fall. 

Memo: A Stronger Response To Delta Is Required Now - 8/21/21 - In a new political memo, Simon reviews recent polling data and finds rising fears over delta, and growing support in the public for aggressive steps to stop its spread.  The President should seize the moment and launch a stepped up campaign to defeat COVID once and for all.

Memo: Some Thoughts on Afghanistan, What Comes Next  - 8/17/21 - While the endgame in Afghanistan has been a significant setback for the President, he should use these next few months to reacquint the American people with his forward looking agenda and make significant progress in enacting it. 

Biden Should Consider "A Fireside Chat" About COVID - 8/4/21 -  It may be time for a prime time Presidential address about COVID, a fireside chat, where Joe Biden can update us on the progress made, the challenges ahead and make clear what his plan is to defeat the pandemic here and everywhere. 

Defeating COVID Remains Job #1  - 7/14/21 - The President has a great deal on his plate right now, but we cannot lose sight that his most important priority remains defeating COVID here and everywhere. 

Memo: Some Thoughts on The Path Forward - 6/28/21 - In a new essay, Simon offers some thoughts on the path forward for the center-left as we head into the July 4th holiday.  Three priorities now - defeat COVID, keep creating jobs, defend democracy.  Get infrastructure to the President's desk by August.

Memo: A Summer To Do List for Democrats - Defeat COVID, Defend Democracy, Keep Creating Jobs -  6/9/21 - Democrats have important work to do this summer - defeat COVID, defend democracy and make sure the American people know the recovery has come about through Joe Biden's smart and effective economic plans. 

Analysis:Time For A COVID Plan For The Americas - 3/18/21 - The worsening COVID crisis in Brazil has made it imperative that the US launch an aggressive plan to defeat COVID in the Americas.

Vaccines and The Great Liberal Project - 3/15/21 - A new era of American foreign policy begins this week with the the Blinken-Austin trip to Asia.  Among the more interesting new issues arising in these early days is the contest over who will vaccinate the world and bring an end to COVID. 

Analysis: Should we focus the vaccine on those over 65? Seems like a good idea - 2/16/21 - In a new essay Simon advocates for a national campaign to get all seniors vaccinated by Mid-April.  Good health policy, yes but also an early "win" in our fight against COVID. 

Chronicling the Failures of the Trump Administration

Returning to School Is Going To Be Very Hard – 8/3/20 - Just like the President has left the nation to fend for itself in fighting COVID, he is leaving all of us, and our children, to go it alone on returning to school.  It is "tragic and grotesque." 

“Long delays in getting test results hobble coronavirus response” - Simon Rosenberg - 7/13/20 - This Washington Post headline isn't from March, or May, but from July 13th, and only begins to capture the magnitudue of the failure we are witnessing. 

On COVID, WTF Is the President Doing?- Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/17/20. COVID here in the US was never tamed, is spreading again at too fast a rate in too many states for the US govt to pretend it isn’t happening or for it not to act. Because the federal government has done so little to combat COVID (allowing us to have infection rates up there with exemplars Russia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and Sweden), there is much the President could do now to help the country re-open safely.

C'mon Mr. President, Wear A Mask- Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/26/20. The President’s defiance on masking is worth us discussing this morning.  The case for masks is a powerful one - they reduce the spread of the virus, are low cost, and are simple.  In poll after poll, support for wearing masks and other prudent physical distancing measures is overwhelming.  

Looking Ahead to The Fall Elections, Trump Begins to Panic - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/19/20. Donald Trump has long feared Joe Biden.  He hatched a vast conspiracy to extort “dirt” on the Bidens from the Ukrainian government - an illegal plot which got him rightfully impeached and should have ended his Presidency.  Faced with weak poll numbers for himself and incumbent GOP Senators, the President now appears to be panicking

White House Struggles With COVID Are An Ominous Sign For The Country-  Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/11/20. White House struggles with COVID are an ominous sign for the countryDespite warnings from experts that the virus was still too active in the US to re-open the country, two weeks ago the White House itself returned to work.  

What Are Kids Going To Do This Summer? — A Few Ideas - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/11/20. Over the next few weeks school will end for most American students of whatever age, from college to pre-Kindergarten. With camps, recreational centers, community pools and sports teams unlikely to be at full strength this summer or operating at all, summer jobs non-existent, parties and social gatherings scaled way back, what exactly are all these kids going to do this summer?

Tests for Me, Not for Thee- Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/5/20. Last week, the White House made a significant attempt to portray “normalcy” - we saw meetings in the Oval Office in close quarters with no social distancing and no masks; the Vice President began official travel again, still with no mask; and the White House press briefing returned, again with no masks.  It was a show, a very purposeful show, of our return to before, of opening up. 

On COVID, What's Next for the US, Trump and the 2020 Election- Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 4/27/20. Phase I of America’s response to COVID is coming to an end, and there is little question that it has been a disaster for the country and increasingly for the Republican Party.  The numbers are staggering - 50,000 lives lost, depression level unemployment numbers, and historic levels of debt. 

Daily COVID - NDN's daily look at the efforts to forge a national response to the virus. 

Where Are the Tests? - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 4/1/20.  Something has gone badly wrong with the US testing regime, again.  We need clear answers and a plan to fix it. If the WH can't do it, Congress needs to step in. 

With Stimulus Done, Congress Must Now Focus on Defeating COVID - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 3/29/20.  With US infection and mortality rates exploding, our nation's leaders must step in and force the Trump Administration to take a few simple steps it has refused to take to ensure we defeat the virus.

The President’s Plan to Combat COVID19 Has Failed. Congress Must Step In — Now - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 3/24/20 - The nation needs a plan to defeat COVID19, not magical thinking.  The President's strategy has failed, and it's time for Congress to step in. 

Demand A Plan, More Focus On Young People, Vote By Mail - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 3/19/20 - The US government's response to COVID-19 has been inadequate, and isn't getting better. Mass rapid testing is needed now, as is a campaign to help young Americans stay safe. The US should also embrace national vote by mail for the fall election.

Call Congress, Demand A National COVID-19 Response Plan Today - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 3/17/20 - Eight weeks into the COVID19 crisis, the US govt is still without a national plan to combat the virus.  Call Congress today and demand they step up and force the Trump to do what is necessary to protect us. 

Economic Response

How Congress Should Build A Stimulus Package To Counter The Coronavirus Crisis - Chris Taylor, NDN, 3/19/20 - Congress should strive for a massive fiscal stimulus aimed at three broad goals: shore up the healthcare system and pandemic-response, provide aid to workers and businesses directly harmed by the pandemic, and conduct a massive cash transfer program to boost the overall economy.

Coronavirus Is An Economic Battle The Federal Reserve Can't Win - Rob Shapiro, The Washington Post, 3/5/20 - Our long-time contributor Rob Shapiro has a new piece in the Washington Post that discusses the economic consequences of the coronavirus and argues that recent efforts by the Fed to shore up the economy likely won't be enough to stop wider economic harm.

The Politics of COVID

A New Role for Elected Officials — Community Truth Teller, COVID Navigator - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 3/26/20. The COVID19 crisis is an opportunity for elected officials here in the US to take on a new and powerful role - truth teller, community leader, COVID navigator.

Biden Leads, COVID19 To Do List, WTF McConnell? - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 3/16/20 - As the Democratic Presidential primary ends, Joe Biden and the Democrats find themselves in a very strong electoral position.  Congress needs to step up and forge a national response to COVID19 our POTUS has failed to provide.

If You Don't Like Trump's COVID-19 Response, Blame Mitch McConnell - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 3/9/20 - Mitch has his chance to remove the Mad King from office, and blew it.  Now everything he does - include the blown COVID-19 response, is on Mitch and his colleagues. 

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.  

Young Voter Turnout in Early Vote Way Up from 2016

This analysis was put together by NDN’s Simon Rosenberg and Bill McClain of the advocacy group Clean and Prosperous America. We will be providing updates of this data thru Election Day – do check back on both of our sites to get the latest on this important 2020 development. 

Young Voters Voting in Large Numbers, Youth Share of Early Vote up 31% Since 2016

In the past few months two respected analysts of youth civic engagement and voting, Tisch College/CIRCLE, and Harvard’s Institute of Politics predicted that, based on their polling of young voters, youth turnout could be very high this election, potentially matching the historic youth turnout in the 2008 elections, according to Clean & Prosperous America.

Early voting data available through the TargetEarly site is finding higher youth early voting rates than in either 2016 or 2018.  In their age breakouts, 18-29s, 30-39s, 40-49s are all voting at higher rates than in either of the last two elections, while voters over 50 are seeing their relative voting rates decline.  A breakout of some of this data is below. A new CIRCLE study has similar findings.

“If there was any question about whether young people were going to turn out in 2020, the early data suggests we have an answer – young people are highly motivated and are voting in very large numbers this year.  While things could change, all the data suggests we are on track to see very high youth turnout in this election, perhaps even record breaking,” said Simon Rosenberg, national political strategist and advisor to Clean & Prosperous America (CaPA).

“Given that Biden is winning about two thirds of young voters right now, a very large youth turnout will help Democrats win elections all across the country.  Indeed, it is increasingly possible that Biden could match Obama’s historic 2008 youth turnout rates and strong Democratic performance. It’s a major development in the 2020 election,” said Bill McClain, Research and Marketing Director, Clean & Prosperous America.

Selected 18-29-year-old performance at this point from TargetEarly: 

 

2016

2020

Share of early vote so far

National

7.0%

9.2%

(31% Increase)

Michigan

3.6%

7.9%

(120%)

Texas

6.6%

10.2%

(55%)

Minnesota

7.9%

10.8%

(37%)

Florida

5.2%

7.0%

(35%)

Wisconsin

3.9%

5.1%

(31%)

Georgia

7.5%

9.1%

(21%)

Arizona

7.3%

8.7%

(19%)

North Carolina

8.9%

10.3%

(16%)

Ohio

6.6%

7.6%

(15%)

Nevada

7.7%

8.7%

(13%)

Iowa

8.6%

8.4%

(-2%)

Pennsylvania

15.6%

9.5%

(-39%)

NOTE:  Data Current at 9:30am ET on 10/23/2020.  New Hampshire is not listed because no 2016 data exists for comparison to 2020.  And while PA has seen its share of the youth vote decline this year, the raw vote has increased from 19,000 at this point in 2016 to 112,000 today.  It is a reminder of how remarkable it is we are seeing the youth vote share grow in all these states given how many more people are voting this time.  Nationally, and in many states, the youth vote is a larger slice of a much larger pie.

Analysis: There's A Whole Lotta Voting Going On!

Every week NDN publishes its Poll Roundup, a deep dive into recent polling and political trends. You can sign up to receive it each week and feel free to review previous editions too. NDN is also now holding in depth discussions about the 2020 Election every Wednesday at 2pm ET – join us and feel free to invite others too. This piece was updated on Friday morning, October 16th and was cited in Greg Sargent's smart new piece looking at all these people voting!

Polls have been telling us that interest in voting this year was at historic levels.  In a Tweet a few days ago election analyst Nate Silver noted that a new Gallup survey found one measure of voter enthusiasm among the highest it has ever recorded, slightly above late 2008 measures.  A recent Harvard/IOP study found vote intent among young voters to be significantly higher than 2016, and on par with the big youth turnout year of 2008. We know that 2018 was a very high turnout election, and all indications have been that this one will be too. 

And what we are seeing in the early days of the 2020 voting window is that turnout is very high indeed.   A new Washington Post story reports:

“With less than three weeks to go before Nov. 3, roughly 15 million Americans have already voted in the fall election, reflecting an extraordinary level of participation despite barriers erected by the coronavirus pandemic — and setting a trajectory that could result in the majority of voters casting ballots before Election Day for the first time in U.S. history.

In Georgia this week, voters waited as long as 11 hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting. In North Carolina, nearly 1 in 5 of roughly 500,000 who have returned mail ballots so far did not vote in the last presidential election. In Michigan, more than 1 million people — roughly one-fourth of total turnout in 2016 — have already voted.

The picture is so stark that election officials around the country are reporting record early turnout, much of it in person, meaning that more results could be available on election night than previously thought.

So far, much of the early voting appears to be driven by heightened enthusiasm among Democrats. Of the roughly 3.5 million voters who have cast ballots in six states that provide partisan breakdowns, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by roughly 2 to 1, according to a Washington Post analysis of data in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Kentucky, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.”

So people are voting in big numbers, and about two thirds of those who’ve voted are Democrats. A new YouGov poll finds that 80% of Democrats (80%!) are planning on voting before Election Day.  Remarkable news indeed.  

To follow early voting tallies as they come in, we recommend following Professor Michael McDonald and his US Elections Project site, and Tom Bonior of TargetSmart and a site he and his team have put together.  

If you haven’t made your vote plan yet, be sure to do so by using the I Will Vote site, and be sure to vote early, perhaps on the very first day, however you choose to vote.  

Many states now allow you to track the status of your ballot if you have mailed it in or dropped it off.  I checked the status of my vote this morning here in DC, and found that it has been accepted - was really cool to see.  It is important to check the status of your absentee ballots for if anything has gone wrong you still have time to fix it and make sure your vote is counted.  

What This Big Early Vote Means for Election Night

This very heavy early Democratic vote is going to make it harder for the President to disrupt, contest or steal the election in at least four ways: 

1. Every day which goes on it becomes clearer our voting systems are working as intended, and that people are being able to have their say.  The process looks and feels legitimate, and it will just be harder to claim it has been corrupted somehow.   

2. Any planned Election Day disruption by the President or his “poll watchers” will have a far more limited impact as few Democrats will be voting on Election Day.  

3. In theory, fewer absentee ballots will be arriving after Election Day in those states which allow post-election counting to take place.  Trumpian efforts to disallow these late arriving and/or counted ballots will also have a far more limited impact if somehow successful.  

4. A majority of the important battleground states count their absentee and early votes before Election Day, and many release those tallies as soon as the polls close.  This means that on Election night big states like Florida and North Carolina will be starting the night off with potentially significant Biden leads.  While Trump is likely to make it close as the night goes on, he may never actually lead in states which Biden eventually wins and which count ahead. This will make any premature claim of victory by Trump on Election night much more challenging. 

This Washington Post article does a good job at breaking down how critical states count their absentee ballots.  Only 2 of the Presidential battleground states start counting their ballots on Election Day (though Michigan only starts counting the day before): 

Ballots proceeded upon receipt – AZ, CO, GA, MN, NC, NV (really good)

One week or more before Election Day – FL, KY, ME, OH, TX (good)

Less than a week before Election Day – IA, MT, MI, NH, SC (okay)

Processing starts on Election Day – AL, MS, PA, WI (ugh) 

We will have a good sense of where the Senate stands on Election Night as AK, AZ, CO, GA, KS, KY, ME, NC, TX should be complete or almost complete that night.  AL, IA, MS, MT, SC will likely come very late that night or a day or two after Election Day as their counting process starts later than these other states.  A New York Times look at all this does a very thorough job looking at how the counting will work in key Senate races.   

Based on what states can count ballots received after Election Day, when they begin counting their absentees and how close things may be it’s pretty clear we won’t know the outcome of AL, IA, PA, MI, OH, WI until after Election Day.  Though if Biden is winning in PA, MI and WI by the margins he currently holds it is unlikely that Trump will end the night with a decisive lead in any of these states – again making it far harder for him to prematurely declare himself the winner. 

One wonders whether the President's incessant attacks on the integrity of our voting system isn't a major cause of the high Democratic turnout we are seeing.  The issue of voting, and how people vote, has been a top issue for months now.  Folks have been talking about it, discussing their own vote plans with others.  It's been top of mind - and when early voting began, they were ready! 

Anyway, this early and enthusiastic vote is just great to see, and raises the likelihood we will know the winner on Election night.  

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