NDN Blog

The GOP Chooses Autocracy Over Democracy

In the struggle between autocracy and democracy, the GOP chooses autocracy

The ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney from the House GOP leadership is a significant event.  For it signals that the MAGA extremism Trump brought to the GOP has outlived him and become the dominant ideology of the party itself.  As we wrote last week, this is a tragedy for the country - for what MAGA’s short term agenda only seems to be about is restructuring American politics so Democrats can never win elections again.  Any hope of the GOP taking an off-ramp from MAGA does seem, for now, a bit hopeless.  

But what should worry us even more about the Cheney ouster is how much what MAGA/GOP is doing now aligns with our understanding of what Russia has been working towards for years.  The 2017 IC report on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election stated: Russian efforts to influence the 2016 US presidential election represent the most recent expression of Moscow’s longstanding desire to undermine the US-led liberal democratic order…. We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process.”

How is what Trump did in 2020 to the election/postal service/census/Jan 6th, and what the GOP is continuing to do now in Arizona/attacks on voting/refusing to renounce Jan 6th/Cheney’s ouster, inconsistent with Russia’s aims here in the US and around the world? In what is becoming the defining ideological battle of the next generation of global politics, autocracy versus democracy, it is as if the party of Reagan has chosen to side with Russia and its goals of weakening the West and democratic forces across the world.  

One of the great fears many of us had about Trump is that his diminution of American democracy would create a permission structure for autocrats throughout the world, left and right, to further erode democratic norms in their own countries.  We are seeing it here in the US; we are seeing it in Europe in Hungary and Poland; as Leon Krauze writes in the Washington Post we are seeing it in Latin America; of course we are seeing it with China and Asia too.  It is why Biden’s commitment to making the strengthening of democracy here at home and abroad is so central to his Presidency – for democracy, the greatest American export, is under threat here at home and abroad in ways not seen in generations.  

Essay: Biden’s Pragmatism, Republican Extremism

Essay: Biden’s Pragmatism, Republican Extremism

As we all try to come to understand what happened to the GOP, how an American political party could have become so lost and extreme, we come back to this basic idea – modern conservatism never really matured into a full-fledged political philosophy capable of governing a post-Cold War America.  It was an ideology that had its moment in the 1980s – a long time ago now – and has done more harm than good since. 

At its core the American right has seen itself as a corrective to a Democratic Party which had lost its way in the late 1960s and 1970s, and remains to this day most comfortable in seeing itself as a response to perceived excesses of the center-left (radical left, Marxists, BLM antifa now).  The problem for the right has been that a post-Clinton reformed Democratic Party was not excessive or leftist, but modern, pragmatic, successful; and thus the blocking of the Democratic agenda over time has became something reactionary and harmful to the national interest, not something virtuous. 

Consider the Dem agenda from Obama on.  A big stimulus, emphasizing clean infrastructure – cut in half, the clean part stripped out.  Slowed our transition to a low carbon economy, made the recovery slower than it needed to be. Immigration reform – blocked.  The ACA – relentlessly opposed, undermined despite it being an extraordinary success.  Min wage – blocked, leaving us with a ridiculous national minimum wage now. Iran nuclear deal – terminated, Iran restarts its nuclear program.  Efforts to make it easier to vote – rolled back, even authoritarian assaults on the Postal Service, the Census, the 2020 election, the Congress itself.  Climate – unyielding opposition, continued fealty to global oil and gas interests, including Russia and Saudi Arabia.  

Now, Biden.  His plan to defeat COVID, restart the US economy – opposed.  His plan to correct for years of chronic underinvestment in our infrastructure, hasten transition to clean energy economy – opposed, absurd arguments about what constitute infrastructure pursued.  Pragmatic steps to make it easier for all workers to succeed like universal child care - communism.  Immigration – hysteria and arm waving, no solutions (again, again).  

There are a lot of ways we can look at what Biden is doing now but to us here at NDN we think there is a deep pragmatism to it all.  COVID needed to be defeated – he is doing that.  The economy needed to be re-started – we are doing that. We need to transition to a clean energy future, modernize our infrastructure which we know from data has been underinvested in – we are doing that.  Globalization had made it harder for workers to compete – he has a plan for that.  Our immigration system is antiquated, and needs an update – he has a plan for that too.  Too many Americans, including those in red states and rural areas don’t have access to high speed Internet - well, we can fix that.  The Bush and Trump tax cuts were too big, and cut far too much from wealthy people and corporations – that can be fixed; and as learned from Clinton and Obama tax increases as part of a broader economic strategy can bring sustained growth to America.  Our democracy was attacked – we can protect it, strengthen it – and we must.  

The point is that none of what Joe Biden is proposing is radical, extreme, out of the mainstream, some lefty “wish list” not based on data and analysis. Everything he is proposing has extensive analysis to back it up, is based on years of policy debate and discussion. Consider that NDN, not a leftist organization, came out in 2005 for rolling back the Bush tax cuts and making major investments in child care/pre-k/community colleges/working training, raising the minimum wage, immigration reform, universal health care and universal broadband.  In 2007 we endorsed a series of ideas to once again make infrastructure investment central to our politics.  In 2008 NDN came out for the carbon tax, and a massive “clean infrastructure” plan as part our recommendations to use the 2009 stimulus to create long term, sustained growth. In 2012 we argued for a big agenda to strengthen our democracy, as even then the anti-majoritarian impulses of the GOP had begun to emerge.  All of these ideas are at the very center of what Biden is proposing now.  None of them are new, or out of the mainstream of thinking in the US.  

Looking back at all this it’s hard not to see the 2010s as a lost decade for America, one where so much progress on the things that matter most were blocked by the rise of the Tea Party and the GOP takeover of the House in 2011.  Yes Obama was able to get the ACA done before 2011, but all these other vital things, things needed by the US, not Democrats, didn’t get done. Progress stalled, and America fell behind (most of the House Members who served in senior positions in the Trump White House came from the Tea Party faction).  

The reason even a Senate institutionalist like Biden is considering pushing so much through reconciliation and not through regular order is because for a decade now the GOP has been more focused on fighting Democrats than fighting the problems we face; and if anything is more radical and extreme today than it has ever been.  It’s as if the GOP’s only agenda now is to lie about the intentions of Biden and the Democrats, and try to paint us as extremists – it is that old impulse to act as a corrective to leftist largesse. Their fight is with us, not the challenges facing America. There is no GOP policy agenda.  No COVID strategy, no economic strategy, no health care strategy, no immigration strategy, no climate strategy – but there is a big agenda to overthrown the election we won, and to make sure we never win elections again.  We are even at the point where several states have introduced bills allowing the running over of “leftist” protestors with cars (a new favorite tactic of the right).  

If Biden is forced to choose between making progress on long unaddressed problems or appeasing a radicalized political movement which is no longer operating in the same information reality as the rest of the world what course should he take? Of course he has to choose what’s best for America – that is his solemn obligation.  

Joe Biden is a pragmatist.  America has problems.  He wants to fix them.  He has offered reasonable proposals for how to do so.  The debate now should be about the how, not the whether; and if Republicans cannot join the debate then he should act alone – it is the pragmatic, and necessary, thing to do.  One could even call it patriotic.

PS - John Harwood has a new analysis up on CNN which does a good job at exploring how reasonable Biden's economic plans are; those who believe they are radical are letting us know who they are. 

Video: NDN Talks Dem Polling Challenges w/Jim Gerstein of GBAO (4/27/21)

On Tuesday April 27th NDN hosted a discussion about the struggles of Democratic Party polling in recent election cycles with Jim Gerstein of the polling and data firm GBAO.  Jim's bio is below, and can you watch a recording of our discussion here.

Jim and his firm were one of five Democratic polling firms to have produced an analysis questioning why some Democratic polling has been so wrong in recent years.  It was a brave thing for professional political consultants to do, and we are excited Jim will be joining us to discuss what he thinks went wrong, and what needs to be done to make it less likely mistakes occur again.  This NYT essay by Giovanni Russonello does a good job summarizing the challenge Democratic polling faces today.  

Called Revisiting Polling for 2021 and Beyond the memo states:

"Together, we represent five survey research firms for Democratic political campaigns. During the 2020 election, we worked on the presidential campaign, every major Senate and gubernatorial race, and congressional races across the country. Our main job as pollsters is to provide campaigns with a strategic roadmap for winning, guide their messaging, and help identify the right targets for those messages.

Every one of us thought Democrats would have a better Election Day than they did. So, what went wrong?

Two weeks after the election, our firms decided to put competition aside to discuss what might have gone awry and to collaborate on finding a solution. There were several factors that may have contributed to polling error in 2020, and there is not a single, definitive answer—which makes solving the problem especially frustrating. In the sections that follow, we seek to explain what we’ve learned thus far in our ongoing efforts to “fix” polling, and what we still need to learn."

While here do review our current schedule of upcoming NDN Talks events, and check out recordings of past events with. Rep. Suzan DelBene, Ari Berman, Fernand Amandi and many more thought leaders. 

Jim's Bio

Jim Gerstein is a founding partner of GBAO, and provides research-based strategic counsel for candidates running for office, non-profit organizations, arts and cultural institutions, and Fortune 500 companies.  Over the past 20 years, Jim has conducted hundreds of focus groups and surveys across the United States, Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Australia to help individuals, organizations, and companies devise strategies that will enable them to meet their goals and improve quality of life in the United States and around the world. 

Jim has served as the pollster to numerous candidate and independent expenditure campaigns for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and municipal elections.  He has also conducted extensive research in the areas of political beliefs and values, charitable behavior, national security and foreign policy, public safety, the courts, digital users’ experiences, health care, medical devices, museums, Millennials, and American Jews. 

Prior to establishing GBAO, Jim led two different non-profit organizations through periods of substantial growth and influence.  For 10 years, Jim served as the Executive Director of Democracy Corps, a non-profit organization that conducts public opinion research and provides strategic advice to the progressive community. Under Jim’s leadership, the organization increased its annual budget seven-fold and dramatically increased its impact on our national debate.  Prior to his work with Democracy Corps, Jim was the Executive Director of the Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation, where he led public education campaigns, congressional visits to the Middle East, and convened Middle East diplomats in the U.S. for meetings with business and political leaders.  During the 1999 Israeli Prime Ministerial campaign, Jim joined Ehud Barak’s U.S.-based consulting team led by James Carville. He served as the team’s representative on the ground in Israel, overseeing polling, paid media, and message development for the campaign.

Jim began his career working on several U.S. political campaigns and holding different positions within the Democratic Party. In 1992, he worked on the field campaign for Carol Moseley Braun’s successful run for the U.S. Senate in Illinois. In 1996, Jim worked in the press office for the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, and then directed the Clinton/Gore campaign for the north side of Chicago and northern Illinois.

Jim received an M.A. in Middle East History at Tel Aviv University and a B.A. in philosophy at Colgate University.  He grew up in the Chicago area and today resides in Washington, DC, with his wife and two sons.

Video: Baer and Cherny Reflect on Democracy Journal (4/20/21)

On Tuesday April 20th NDN hosted a very special event - an in-depth discussion with Kenny Baer and Andrei Cherny about their journey founding and nurturing Democracy, the center-left intellectual journal they founded more than a decade ago. 

You can watch a recording of the event here.

In a recent article reviewing Democracy's impact NYTimes media reporter Marc Tracy wrote: "It has only 500 subscribers. And yet Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, a 15-year-old quarterly run by a three-person staff out of a small office blocks from the White House, may be one of the most influential publications of the post-Trump era.  Six of President Biden’s 25 Cabinet-level officials and appointees, including the secretary of state and the chief of staff, as well as many other high-level administration members, have published essays in its pages, floating theories that may now be translated into policy."

Kenny and Andrei have been part of NDN's extended family for many years, and we were excited to host this wonderful conversation about their careers and the broader journey the Democratic Party has been since the 1980s. 

For fun, here is something I wrote back in 2007 celebrating Democracy's 1st anniversary.  NDN is proud to have been a supporter of Democracy's work from the very beginning.

Hope you can find the time to watch the recording of the event.  It was a great an inspiring conversation - Simon

Analysis: Understanding Trump's Betrayal

Understanding Trump’s Betrayal– Getting the story right about the historic nature of Trump’s betrayal of the nation remains one of the most important tasks of the new Democratic majority, and one which will be very hard given how complicit so many Republicans and center-right institutions have been in a many years long betrayal of the United States.  

For us, there was a single, ongoing betrayal.  It began with the decision to enlist Russia’s support in the 2016 campaign.  It continued with years of aligning US foreign policy around Russian aims, in Helsinki, with Europe/NATO, Ukraine, the G7, Syria, Venezuela, the renouncing of the Paris climate accords.  It took an even darker turn with Trump’s sustained Putinesque attack on core pillars of our democracy in 2020 – the post office, the census, the election – all of which were established in the Constitution itself. And it reached an apotheosis in Trump’s organizing and unprecedented attack on the Congress and the certification of the Biden Presidency on January 6th. 

What makes this all one betrayal, one profound historic betrayal, is that the American experiment was always really about one thing – creating a sustainable governing alternative to authoritarianism.  Trump’s alliance with Russia to cheat/influence/win the election in 2016, his joining of Putin’s illiberal internationale, his 2020-2021 blitzkrieg against our democracy together placed Trump on the side of autocracy against American democratic traditions.  The years of covering it all up by Barr, Nunes, McConnell, McCarthy and the unrepentant support of the Jan 6th insurrection makes the Republican Party complicit in this betrayal.  It may have begun as Trump’s betrayal, but without a process to formally renounce this rancid politics, it has now been become a betrayal of the party of Lincoln and Reagan’s too.  

Video: NDN Talks w/Jessica Brandt About The Global Info War Over COVID Vaccines (4/6/21)

On April 6th NDN hosted a conversation with Jessica Brandt of the Alliance for Securing Democracy.  We talked about one of the most interesting new foreign policy battles of the early Biden era - the great power race between the US/West and authoritarian countries to vaccinate the world and be the ones to defeat COVID.  She's called her initial remarks "Harnessing the Truth in Service of a Lie: Russia, China, and Iran's Information Strategies in the Vaccine Contest." 

You can watch a recording of the event here, and Jessica's biography and important background readings are below. 

We are really excited about this discussion as it brought together important elements of the emerging Biden foreign policy vision which NDN has spent time working - the need to effectively counter rising illberalism around the world, and learning how to better engage and compete against Russian and Chinese information/hybrid war strategies. Jessica and her team have been doing path-breaking work in this area, and we think this will end up being one of our best events of the spring. 

From NDN, please review our call for the Biden Administration to launch a plan to defeat COVID in the Americas, and Simon's Letras Libres essay on the opportunity Joe Biden has to use the global effort to defeat COVID and build back better to reinvigorate the global liberal order imagined and built by the US after WWII.  

Background Reading

Influence-enza: How Russia, China, and Iran Have Shaped and Manipulated Coronavirus Vaccine Narratives (Alliance for Securing Democracy)

How China’s “wolf warrior” diplomats use Twitter to troll Beijing’s enemies (Vox)

How China's "wolf warrior" diplomats use and abuse Twitter (Brookings)

Leaks, Lies and Altered Tape - Russia's Maturing Information Manipulation Playbook (Alliance for Securing Democracy)

Jessica's Bio

Jessica Brandt is head of policy and research for the Alliance for Securing Democracy and a fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She was previously a fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, where her research focused on multilateral institutions and geopolitics, and where she led a cross-program initiative on Democracy at Risk. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the American Ditchley Foundation, a David Rockefeller Fellow of the Trilateral Commission, and a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations

34m and 2m - Numbers Critical To Understanding the Economic Debate in America

As the Biden American Jobs Plan kicks off a vital conversation about our economic future, NDN will focus our commentary on research and analysis which flows from our presentationWith Democrats Things Get Better.  At the very core of With Dems is two numbers - 34,000,000 and 2,000,000.  34m is the number of jobs created in the 16 years of the Clinton and Obama Presidencies. 2m is the number of jobs created in the 16 years of the two Bushes and Trump.

This data speaks to one of the most important realities of American politics in the post-Cold War era – Democratic policies have repeatedly, successfully navigated the new challenges of a different day, creating jobs/wealth/rising incomes and falling deficits; while Republicans have struggled to adapt to a changing world, and their policies have created 3 consecutive recessions/job loss/failing incomes and spiraling deficits.  The contrast between the performances of the two parties could not be starker, and it’s our contention that it is this lived experience of this successful/modern vs failed /reactionary dynamic that is driving the big margins Democrats are now garnering among younger Americans each election cycle (you can learn more about the big arguments in With Dems and register for an upcoming Friday presentation here). 

As Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their “jobs cabinet” go out on the road to sell their important new package, we believe telling the story of how things do get better when Democrats are in power – that our ideas and policies have repeatedly worked – should be an essential part of the pitch.  As will be the converse – that Republican economic ideas and policies have repeatedly failed, and should not be taken seriously in the days ahead.  It is critical for Democrats to force the post-Trump GOP/MAGA to confront and explain their party’s years of damaging, repeated policy failure.  It is not just smart strategy for the center-left, it is the only way the GOP eventually reforms and becomes a constructive part of our national politics again. 

The escalating repudiation of the GOP by very mainstream elements of American society suggests that the understanding that it's long past time for GOP/MAGA to get its shit together is starting to become a truly powerful force in US politics.  And while it is focused now on voting and our democracy, this movement could easily grow into a broader repudiation of the extremism of the GOP on a whole host of other matters, including COVID (let the virus spread), economic (2m jobs in 16 yrs, reckless tax policy), health care (strip people of pre-existing condition coverage, end health insurance for 30m Americans), national security (appeasment of Putin, weakening of our alliances), immigration (blocked pragmatic bi-partisan reform twice in past 15 years), gun and public safety (block reasonable gun safety laws) and an all too uncomfortable acceptance of an anchronistic and deeply dark white supremacy.  For the GOP has been no less radical in these areas than it has been in its relentless and un-American attacks on voting and our democracy.  The danger here for GOP/MAGA is that once reasonable people start viewing one part of its agenda as really out there, they will be open to consider whethe other long held GOP positions may be a bit more radical and extreme than they previously understood. 

As a way of providing more information for this important debate we will be presenting With Dems every Friday in April at 2pm ET.  You can register for a Friday presentation and learn more about the presentation’s big arguments here.  For a short, good summary of With Dems read Mike Tomasky’ rave review in the Daily Beast.  Please join us, invite colleagues and friends - all are welcome. 

Countering Illiberalism's Rise

Over the past decade, a major new threat to the Western liberal democratic order has come to the forefront of our politics - the rise of far-right illiberalism. Openly supported and aided by the Putin regime in Russia, illiberal political leaders including Trump in the US, Farage and the pro-Brexit movement in the UK, Matteo Salvini in Italy, and Viktor Orban in Hungary have gained significant political power, and have begun to erode democratic norms and institutions.

NDN has written extensively about the need for all political organizations and parties to more forcefully challenge this rising illiberalism.  Some of this work is below, and you can find more related thinking in our Protecting our Elections and Disinformation programmatic area. 

Biden, A New Day

Memo: After Texas Roe decision, Dems must lean into GOP radicalization - 9/2/21 -  The Supreme Court's Texas Roe decision is so shocking and crazy that Democrats have no choice now to make the dangerous radicalization of the GOP central to the conversation they are having with the American people. 

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.

Video: NDN Talks w/Norm Ornstein About Defending Democracy, GOP Radicalization (6/22/21) - Come watch a compelling conversation about the threats our democracy faces today with the great Norm Ornstein. 

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. 

Learning To Talk about Democracy, Patriotism and the GOP’s Radicalization - 5/24/21 - It is time for the American center-left to recognize that defeating autocracy, perhaps the most intrinsically America project, begins this time here at home – and failure is not an option.

The GOP Chooses Autocracy Over Democracy - 5/12/21 - The ousting of Liz Cheney marks a dangerous moment in US politics - Republicans have now chosen to make MAGA, including its extremism and its denigration of democracy, it's political path forward. 

Essay: Biden’s Pragmatism, Republican Extremism - 5/3/21 - In the first 100 days we've learned that Joe Biden understands the challenges America faces, and has offered detailed, concrete plans for how to address them.

Republicans, on the other hand, aren't fighting America's problems - they are just fighting Democrats. 

Analysis: Understanding Trump's Betrayal - 4/19/21 - Trump's political journey has been an ongoing, unpredecented betrayal of America's core mission - creating a sustainable democratic alternative to autocracy. 

Video: NDN Talks w/Jessica Brandt About The Global Info War Over COVID Vaccines (4/6/21) - NDN was excited to host Jessica Brandt for a talk titled "Harnessing the Truth in Service of a Lie: Russia, China, and Iran's Information Strategies in the Vaccine Contest" - a deep dive into the early information battle over the major COVID vaccines. 

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. 

Video: NDN Talks w/Ari Berman About the War On Voting (2/23/21) - On Feb 23rd NDN hosted noted author Ari Berman for an indepth discussion about one of the most important issues of 2021 - the GOP's savage assault on voting in America.  It was a great conversation - hope you will check it out. 

Video: NDN Talks High Crimes w/Glenn Kirschner (2/16/21) - Come watch this terrific and timely conversation with NBC legal analyst, former prosecutor and just all around terrific guy Glenn Kirschner. 

GOP Chooses Radicalism, Violence - 2/3/21 - The refusal of the Republican Party to definitively repudiate political violence has thrust American politics into a very dark and dangerous place. 

Video: NDN Talks Strongmen w/Ruth Ben-Ghiat (2/2/21) - Check out terrific talk with Ruth Ben-Ghiat from February 2nd.  She does a great job talking about Trump, the rise of the authoritarian right in the US, and what might come next.  One of the best events NDN has done in a long time. 

Biden’s Call for Unity Met With Extremism - 1/25/21 - For anyone hoping the GOP would walk away from the radical, illiberal ways of the Trump era these last few weeks have been terribly disapointing. 

Analysis: The Republicans Have An Off-Ramp - They Need to Take It - 1/13/21 - The choice for every Republican now is a binary one — drop the language of Trumpism, declare the election legitimate, tell the insurrections to stand down or become an insurrectionist, insurgent yourself.

Confronting The Rising Threat of Domestic Extremism - 1/8/21 - The Jan 6th attack on Congress will be seen as a huge win by extremists, and will make our work countering this rising threat far more challenging.  Some thoughts on what we need to do now. 

Build Back Better/Reconstruir Mejor - Joe Biden's Historic Opportunity - Simon Rosenberg, Letras Libres, 10/1/20 - In a new essay for the influential journal Letras Libres, Simon offer his thoughts about what Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the Democrats should fight for if they prevail in the election this fall (English and Spanish). 

The MAGA Era

Trump Is On An Electoral Crime Spree - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 9/9/20 - The President has launched a breathtakingly broad effort to hold on to power through wide-scale cheating, treachery and illegal use of the US government to aide his campaign.  Far more should be happening to make it stop. 

In Salon Interview, Simon Talks About The Future of the Dems, Trump's Illiberalism - Chauncey DeVega, Salon, 8/24/20 - In an interview to mark the Democratic Convention, Simon sits down with Salon to discuss the future of the Democrats, the Biden-Harris ticket and Trump's dangerous illiberalism. 

Congress, States, Cities Must Rise Up, Fight for the USPS – 8/13/20 - NDN is encouraging elected officials from across the country to rise up and help end the President's sabotage of the postal service. 

Taking Trump’s Ongoing Assault On Our Democracy Seriously - 8/10/20 - The President is on a political crime spree - breaking laws, cheating in the election, encouraging Russia to intervene on his behalf - again.   We cannot let him get away with it - again.

The President's Illiberal Escalation in Portland Needs to End - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 7/17/20 - US citzens being disapeared into unmarked vans is exactly the kind of illiberal act NDN has been warning was coming.  It's not okay, and good people of both parties need to rise up and work together to prevent Trump from becoming an American Putin. 

Facing the Dark Turn of Trump's Presidency - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 7/6/20 - The nation has been subject to an extraordinary, relentless, and extended screed from the White House about the existential threat posed by the President’s perceived domestic political opponents, much of it imagined and fictional. The performance of the President, the White House and its allies these past few weeks has been reprehensible and dangerous

The Coming Reckoning With Russia - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/29/20- Someday, soon, America will have to look at and make sense of Russia’s years of attacks on our interests, its penetration of our political system, its brazen manipulation of our President.  It will be a very ugly but necessary process.

Crossing the Rubicon - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/29/20 - The GOP's increasing acceptance of illiberalism and actions at odds with our democratic tradition to gain/maintain power has become the most important political story of our time.

To Defeat Illiberalism, Democrats Must Embrace Their Success As A Governing Party - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 12/14/19 - Over the past 30 years, the Democratic Party has been the most successful center-left party in the developed world.   It is time it started acting like it, and begin to far more purposefully lead the fight against rising illiberalism here and abroad. 

Lavrov Comes To America For A Russian Victory Lap - Simon Rosenberg, GEN, 12/9/19 - In country after country over the past year the President has taken steps to align US foreign policy w/Russia's. It has been a dramatic, little understood development, and has left America a weakened power, Russia a rising one. Congress must step in.

Tariffs, Trump and Tyrants - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/31/19 - More Mad King than President, Trump's refusal to honor the laws, rules, and norms which make democracies work is the greatest High Crime of all.  His ill-considered, whimsical tariffs are just the latest example and should be forcefully challenged by Congress.

The End of Pax Americana?, Simon Rosenberg, US News & World Report, 1/26/17. Donald Trump is taking radical steps that is weakening the global order America imagined and built after World War II.  Before he does more harm to our interests, Congress must force a big debate about his vision, and challenge him if necessary.  

The Pernicious Politics of Oil Dec 16th, 2016.  Petro-powers are challenging the global order, and the next president seems uninterested in stopping them.

The West Is On The Ballot, Simon Rosenberg, US News & World Report, 11/4/16. In the column, Simon argues that Trump isn't running just against Clinton, he's also running against what America has become and the world it has built.

Calling all Patriots, Simon Rosenberg, US News & World Report, 10/13/16. While in a reflective mood about the future, their nominee, and party, Simon suggest two other activities Republicans should swiftly denounce and distance themselves from.

Trump's Worrisome Embrace of Putin, Simon Rosenberg, NDN.org, 9/12/16. In this column, Simon does a deep dive on Trumpland’s embrace of Russia’s Putin, and why their admiration for his “strength” is a betrayal of our values.

The Liberal Order Needs an Upgrade - Simon Rosenberg, US News, 9/23/14.  President Obama should breathe new life into the international order when he speaks before the U.N.

An Enduring Legacy: The Democratic Party and Free and Open Trade Jan 21, 2014 - The global system created by Presidents FDR and Truman has done more to create opportunity, reduce poverty and advance democracy than perhaps any other policies in history. 

"Forward, or Backward?" - The Descent of the GOP Into A Reactionary Mess 10/25/12 - In a new magazine essay, Simon argues that the more the world moves away from the simplicity of the Reagan moment the more angry and defiant the Republican offering is becoming.  In both Spanish and English.

Immigration And The Border

Research and policy recommendations about our border and immigration system have been one of NDN’s most influential areas of work over the past 16 years.  We send along some of our most recent releases below, hoping they will inform your own work and thinking in the days ahead.  What is happening on the border today is not an emergency; and the crisis, if there is one, comes from the failure of Trump’s extreme immigration approach which has created an extraordinary mess on both sides of the US border with Mexico.   Responsible policy makers from both parties should use this moment to advance smart solutions to the real challenges our immigration system faces, many of them made far worse by Trump’s misguided policies.  In that vein we offer a three part plan for what the nation can be doing now to improve our border and immigration enforcement system, shore up our neighbors to the South, improve our economy, and remove this toxic debate from our politics so we the nation can move on to other more important matters. 

You can find extended takes from Simon on the immigration and border debate in this US News article by Susan Milligan, this USA Today analysis on the 2020 Democrats and immigration, this ABC/FiveThirtyEight piece by Geoffrey Skelley, a Telemundo piece by Maria Pena, a New York Times analysis from Tom Edsall, a Slate podcast and article with Univision's Leon Krauze, and a recent Washington Post piece from Michael Scherer and another by David Nakamura. 

Biden, A New Day

Less Hysteria, More Solutions on The Border, Migration Please -  3/23/21 - The challenges America faces on its southern border right now are tough ones, but not near as urgent as defeating COVID, restarting the economy, countering Russia and China, defending the US in cyberspace and many other challenges the Biden Administration inherited. 

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.

Analysis: The Southwest Has Become A Democratic Stronghold- 12/9/20 -  Democratic gains in the heavily Mexican-American parts of the country have been among the most important political developments in US politics over the past two decades.  It is a region transformed, and a new center of power in the 21st century Democratic Party. 

Chronicling the Failures of the Trump Administration

Notes On The GOP's Erosion In The Southwest - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 2/11/19 - The dramatic erosion of the GOP brand in the heavily Mexican-American parts of the country over the past two elections is one of the biggest stories in American politics.  Trump's border extremism has cost the GOP dearly. 

The Ridiculous Shutdown, A President In Decline - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 1/7/19 - The shutdown isn't about a wall.  It is about our democracy and whether Trump is a President, or a dangerous mad king. 

Some Thoughts About The Caravan - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 10/24/18 - The Caravan, composed of 3,000 poor, unarmed, mostly Honduran migrants, poses no threat to the US, and illegal border crossings continue to be way down. Some thoughts on what Democrats should do to respond to Trump's farcical attacks and inane policies.

Trump's Brand Is His Xenophobic Immigration Policy. That's Why He'll Go To Any Lengths To Enact It - Simon Rosenberg, NBC News, 8/6/18 - Trump's separation of kids at the border is the result of a political crisis for his administration, rather than any real immigration crisis on the ground. As Trump's immigration policies continue to fail in the face of legal roadblocks and public outrage, expect even more outrageous policies from the administration.

Rebutting Trump’s Ridiculous Attack On “Chuck and Nancy” And All Democrats - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 11/28/17 - The Democratic Party that Trump describes - on immigration, taxes, and more - is one that exists only in his mind. The Party that he is facing everyday is one that has governed responsibly when in power, and left the country far better than they found it.

The Case For Optimism: Rejecting Trump's Poisonous Pessimism - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 11/19/18 - Simon argues that the great rationale of Trump's Presidency  –  that America is in decline – simply isn't true, and must be challenged more forcefully. This is the piece that spurred the creation of NDN’s “Patriotism and Optimism” deck.

US Economy And Trade Policy

NDN has written extensively on trade policy under the Trump administration and the state of the economy more broadly under the past three Presidents. Below you can find economic and political analysis of Trump's unprecedented experiment in protectionism since 2018, the state of the Trump economy compared to that of Obama, and the effect of Trump's 2017 tax cuts.

Biden, A New Day

Analysis: Twice As Many Jobs w/Biden as Last 3 GOP Presidents Combined - 9/4/21 - More jobs have been created in Joe Biden's first seven months than in Presidencies of the two Bushes and Trump combined.  Repeated Dem successes, repeated GOP failures must become better known in our politics. 

The Infrastructure Bill Is A Big Deal - 8/4/21 - Universal broadband. Modernization of roads, bridges, rail, public transit.  Dramatic upgrades of our water systems, electricity grid and EV charging networks. This thing is a big deal.

Video: Globalization, the US and Economic Nostalgia w/Adam Posen (6/29/21) - We are excited to have been able to welcome the Peterson Institute's Adam Posen for a discussion of his provocative and compelling new essay in Foreign Affairs, "The Price of Nostalgia:America's Self-Defeating Economic Retreat." 

Video: NDN Talks The American Rescue Plan w/Dr. Rob Shapiro (3/16/21) - NDN recently hosted noted economist and long time NDN collaborator Dr. Rob Shapiro for an in-depth look at the landmark American Rescue Plan. This episode of NDN Talks will be helpful to anyone who wants to learn more abou this landmark legislation.

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. 

Trade Policy

NDN Applauds New Democrat Coalition Letter On Section 232 Auto Tariffs - Chris Taylor, NDN, 2/13/20 - NDN is pleased to pass along a letter released today by the New Democrat Coalition that strongly criticizes the President for withholding the Section 232 report on potential auto tariffs that the President is legally required to release to Congress.

The Threat Of Trump's Trade Agenda - Chris Taylor, The Washington Monthly, 1/23/20 - In a new piece for the Washington Monthly, Chris Taylor examines how Democrats should construct their new trade agenda, and challenge the President's reckless trade policies, now that the USMCA has been successfully passed. You can also find an excerpt of the piece posted to NDN's website here.

Congress Must Have A Robust Post-USMCA Trade Agenda - Chris Taylor, NDN, 1/7/20 - It is critical that Congress doesn't wash its hand of trade policy now that the USMCA debate is over, because the President's larger, destructive trade strategy continues to erode the global rules-based trade system.

Trump Concedes The Trade War To China - Chris Taylor, NDN, 12/17/19 - Trump’s trade deal with China offers no details on the structural reforms that were the entire point of the trade war. Instead, all the US receives is the promise of agricultural exports that are barely above the pre-2017 trend and could very easily not take place.

America's Experiment With Protectionism Is Failing - Chris Taylor, NDN, 9/18/19 - America’s great experiment with protectionism hasn’t revived manufacturing or reduced the trade deficit, but instead has destroyed over 300,000 jobs and cost the average household $1,000.

New Study Shows America Embracing Free Trade, Rejecting America First - Chris Taylor, NDN, 7/29/19 - New polling data from Pew shows widespread, and growing, support for free trade among Americans. Democrats, in particular, have become a fundamentally pro-trade party, saying that free trade agreements are good for the US by a 58 point margin.

Democrats Must Demonstrate Greater Leadership In Challenging Trump's Ruinous Trade Policy - Simon Rosenberg, Twitter, 5/8/19 - Democrats should be more aggressive in challenging Trump’s tariffs and trade policies given the failure of those policies to achieve their objectives and growing discontent with them around the country.

Challenging Trump's Tariffs - An Ongoing Series - Chris Taylor, NDN, 2/14/19 - In a new series challenging Trump's tariffs, we argue that the President's trade policy is illegal, recklessly ignorant, damaging to the US economy, and historically unpopular. Congress must step up and rescind them this fall.

Trump Economic Record

Much More Economic Support Is Needed To Prevent A Lost Decade- Chris Taylor, NDN, 5/5/20- Over the past few weeks, we've begun to receive data on the state of the economy during the coronavirus crisis, and the numbers are even worse than expected. The first quarter GDP fell by 4.8% on an annualized basis, the second worse quarterly decline since 1982 (only Q4 2008 was worse at -8.4%), and economists now project that Q2 GDP will decline by over 25%, by far the largest quarterly decline since the Second World War. 

How Congress Should Build A Stimulus Package To Counter The Coronavirus Crisis - Chris Taylor, NDN, 3/19/20- Chris Taylor details why Congress should aim for a massive fiscal stimulus right now and should aim to achieve three broad goals with their proposal: 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.

Recession Fears Resurface As Coronavirus Batters The Global Economy- Christ Taylor, NDN, 2/24/20-  Chris Taylor explains that there are two key factors that underlie the S&P 500 falling by almost 5% and the yield curve dropping to its weakest since October 13th. The first, of course, is the emergence of the coronavirus epidemic. The second factor is that the US economy was in a weak structural condition even before coronavirus began affecting global markets.

Trump's New Budget Proposal Is Incoherent Yet Immensely Dangerous - Chris Taylor, NDN, 2/10/20 - Three years of economic policy under the Trump administration are well represented by just a few words: incoherent yet immensely dangerous. It is fitting then that the budget proposal released by the administration today continues this trend.

Trump's Make-Believe Economic Record - Chris Taylor, NDN, 2/5/20 - It is simply not true that Trump has overseen an economic revival since 2016, and actually almost every macro-economic trend has declined to some extent under Trump.

New Data Highlights That Trump's "Greatest Economy Ever" Wasn't Actually So Great In 2018 – Chris Taylor, NDN, 8/21/19 - Updated data on growth, jobs, and investment reveals the extent of Trump’s failed promises on the economy. There is little evidence that Trump’s tax and trade policies boosted investment, and both economic and jobs growth either declined or remained constant from 2017 to 2018.

Beyond The Headlines, The Economy Continues To Weaken - Chris Taylor, Medium, 5/7/19 - The new narrative that the economy is back to growing strongly is significantly flawed, and is largely based upon two economic reports whose headlines were very strong but whose underlying data revealed continued weakness in the economy.  

Weekly Notes On The Economy - Chris Taylor, NDN, 5/7/19 - Weekly Notes On The Economy is a weekly column that NDN writes on the most recent economic news, policy, and data.

Tax Policy

Trump's Tax Cuts Have Failed To Deliver On Their Promises - Chris Taylor, NDN, 10/30/18 - Trump’s tax cut promised to boost growth by strengthening the labor market and investment, but today both metrics look very similar to their pre-tax cut trend. Instead, the deficit has surged to unprecedented levels and rapidly increasing interest rates are hurting ordinary Americans.

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