NDN Blog

Invite: Wed - Rep. Scott Peters on Inflation, J6 Committee, SCOTUS/End of Roe

Please join us this Wednesday for a conversation with Rep. Scott Peters, Vice Chair of the largest caucus in the House, the New Democrat Coalition.  Rep. Peters will be discussing the NDC’s new action plan to fight inflation, a hugely impressive and important contribution to the current economic debate.  He will also be discussing the dramatic new revelations coming from the January 6th Committee and the Supreme Court’s extraordinary right ward shift.  After some initial opening remarks, we will open it up to our guests for questions and answers.   

In reviewing the New Dem plan to fight inflation Forbes called it “the best inflation-fighting blueprint to come out of Congress yet.”

Our conversation with Rep. Peters will be on Wednesday, June 29th at 430pm ET via Zoom.  You can register for the event here, and learn more about the NDC’s plan to fight inflation here and below.  We hope you can make it – this plan is among the more ambitious projects in the NDC’s proud history.  It will be well worth your time. 

More on the NDC’s Action Plan to Fight Inflation

“Today, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) released a comprehensive action plan to fight inflation, lower the cost of living for Americans, and secure the long-term fiscal future of the nation. The New Dem plan examines the actions President Biden and Congressional Democrats have already taken to cut costs and outlines tangible steps federal policymakers can take to reduce prices on essential goods and services and provide relief to American families, workers, and businesses. 

New Dem Leadership members today also wrote to President Biden and Congressional Leadership calling for the implementation of the Coalition’s plan to fight inflation. New Dems urged President Biden to roll back costly and ineffective Trump-era tariffs, address the workforce shortage, and work to lower costs on everyday necessities, including housing, energy, and health care. In Congress, New Dems are pressing leadership to quickly finalize a bipartisan innovation bill, negotiate a strong reconciliation bill focused on fighting inflation, and use every legislative week to advance an affordability agenda on the House floor. 

President Biden and Congressional Democrats have made historic progress in getting Americans back to work, growing the economy, strengthening supply chains, and reversing decades of underinvestment in our nation’s infrastructure. However, this rapid economic growth along with lingering pandemic challenges and Putin’s unjust war in Ukraine has led to rising prices here at home and across the globe. That’s why the NDC formed a first-of-its-kind Inflation Working Group that meets and works with economists, policy experts, and key stakeholders to develop and advance effective policy solutions to fight inflation.”


Analysis: Red Wave? Hard To See One Now

Red Wave? Hard to See One Now – A few weeks ago I was helping Future Majority make sense of the early data from its new polls of Hispanic voters in AZ, NV and PA and we came across something remarkable - the biggest gap between the Democratic and Republican candidates came in the named candidate head to heads.  Other measures - the generic vote, party favorabilities, Biden favorability, the Biden/Trump 2020 - would have suggested that gap between the GOP and Dem candidates running in 2022 be a bit closer.  But when the candidates were named in the three states the spread looked more like the big 2018 year for Democrats, not 2020, which was just a good year.

So I decided to spend some time looking to see if this kind of trend showed up in other publicly available poll data.  My operating theory of this election since last summer has been that the Rs would have a very low ceiling this cycle, as they have had since Trump won the nomination in 2016 – 46.1% in 2016, 44.8% in 2018, 46.9% in 2020.  In the last two elections a clear anti-MAGA majority emerged in America, with Democrats winning by an average of 6.5 pts in historically high turnout elections. This is rough math for a party which has made the consequential choice of doubling down on a politics – MAGA – which has had more people vote against it than any other political movement in American history.  So it's been my belief for sometime that this election wasn't going to necessarily behave like a traditional midterm, as the Republicans had run towards a deeply unpopular politics, not run away from it. That a red wave, while possible, was unlikely.

What I found in reviewing recent publicly available polling of Senate and Governor's races - actual heads to heads, not other less important measures - was a competitive not a wave election (see this thread for the data).  What was most surprising is how strong the Senate currently looks for Democrats.  None of the 4 most endangered Dem incumbents are clearly behind (AZ, GA, NH, NV) and the latest polling has Democrats ahead in 4 GOP held seats – NC, OH, PA, WI (here's the new WI poll showing Ron Johnson in serious trouble, and another bad PA poll for the Rs).  The two PA polls showing Fetterman with 6 and 9 point leads over Oz are the most significant of the lot, and let’s be clear about what they mean – that as of today it's easier to see how Democrats pick up a Senate seat than it is to see how Republican get the single seat they need to gain the majority. 

Any fair analysis of this cycle would work hard to balance the obvious challenges for Democrats – Biden’s low approval rating/inflation, etc – with the really significant challenges Republican’s face – blown COVIDongoing radicalization/insurrection, terrible candidates, horrifically divided party, very low party approval, ending of Roe, return of mass shooting, etc. Most of what we've gotten so far from many analysts is why the election is going to be tough for Democrats, leaving out all the clear and serious liabiliities Republicans will be struggling to overcome this year.  Given the data presented here that downplaying of the GOP's struggles this cycle needs to change.  A clear sign that Republicans know this thing ain't breaking their way right is now is Senator McConnell's working with Democrats on gun safety legislation, an almost unimaginable event.  For Mitch, that he needed to do something like this is a sign of a weak hand, not a strong one.  It is an affirmation this election is not performing as Republicans had hoped, or as much the media is presenting it today. 

I wrote the following in a recent memo, The Strategic Context for the 2022 Election is Changing: "New events – Russia’s ongoing aggression, mass shootings, the end of Roe, a more complete understanding of MAGA’s attack on our political system – are together creating a new strategic framework or context for US politics now.  That new strategic context is giving Joe Biden and the Democrats the opportunity to reframe the economic conversation, something the White House began in earnest yesterday; and it will make it far more likely Democrats will be successful at labeling Republicans out of the mainstream, extreme, unfit.  While these new realities may not be showing up in polling yet, it is our belief that the election has fundamentally changed in the last few weeks, something that will become clearer to all in the coming days."

What I found in my research suggests that maybe these GOP vulnerabilities are beginning to show up in polls, and that this election may be much competitive today than is understood; that perhaps fear of MAGA remains the most powerful force in American politics as it has been the last two cycles, more powerful even than disapointment in Joe Biden. Does that mean a red wave won't eventually form? We don't know. We do know, however, that it hasn't formed yet. Of the 10 most recent generic ballots in 538's tracker, Rs only led in 3, and the average was 42.2 Dem, 41.9 GOP.  Again, not a wave.

Finally, a note on election analysis.  This is my 16th or 17th cycle working full time in Democratic politics.  I have seen a lot over those years.  Been on both sides of waves, lost and won a Presidential election.  Had lots of election night joy, and lots of heartbreak too.  What I've learned is that every election is unique, and none is like any other. There are no ironclad political rules, or immutable political physics.  That because something has happened before it doesn't mean it will happen again. That to understand an election you have to follow the data, not history, not wives tales and wise guys, but data. That's what I work so hard to do, every day.  And that data I am seeing suggests this is far more likely to be a competitive election than a wave. And frankly, given what has happened to the GOP, that shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone. 

But of course that can change.  Which is why you should keep coming back and reading our stuff.  You can catch me going more in depth about this analysis in two new pods – the Arizona based Light Beer Dark Money show, and Deep State Radio with David Rothkopf, EJ Dionne and Kavita Patel.  They are both well worth your time.

This analysis has been updated and expanded since it was first published.

Video: Hispanic Vote Discussion - New Polling, New Analysis (6/13/22)

On Monday, June 13th NDN hosted a discussion about the Hispanic vote with noted pollster, Fernand Amandi.  He reviewed new Future Majority polling of Hispanic voters in Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania.  You can watch the presentation and discussion here.  A memo summarizing the findings can be found here, and you can review more detailed data from the three states here.  Future Majority has also released a breakout of the data on abortion and the end of Roe, and it finds 60-70% among Hispanics in these three states for legal abortion and Democrats gaining votes if Roe were to end (which it has).

This article by the Nevada Independent provides a very thorough overview of the research.  The New York Times's Jazmine Ulloa cites the research in a new story about Nevada Senator Cortez Masto's re-election bid. 

At the end of Fernand's presentation of the polling, Simon reviewed some of the findings of his new analysis, The Remarkable Success of the Democratic Party’s Hispanic Strategy.  It is important context for anyone wanting to learn more about the Hispanic/Latino vote in the US. 

Future Majority provided this summary of the memo: “Our research found that the Democrats’ brand is performing well among Latino voters in these three states, but the Republican brand is not. Our data suggests Democrats have the opportunity to replicate their strong 2018 and 2020 performance with Latinos in these states this year, strong showings which contributed to what were very good years for Democrats in all three states. As the Latino electorate has a higher share of new, younger and infrequent voters than the overall electorate, and thus is more prone to midterm drop-off, Democrats will only be assured of these potential promising outcomes with significant investment and strong engagement through their campaigns.”

We think this new polling, new NDN analysis and discussion will be of interest to anyone wanting to learn more about this vital part of the American electorate. 

Related Work from NDN

Analysis: The Southwest Has Become A Democratic Stronghold (2020)

In Florida Democrats Lost Ground With All Important Hispanic Voters  (2018)

Among "New Coalition" Voters in 2018, Dems Have Best Performance Ever (2018)

Notes On The GOP's Erosion In The Southwest (2017)

Trump Is Right To Be Worried About Arizona (And Texas Too) (2017)

The Strategic Context For The 2022 Elections Is Changing

The Strategic Context For the 2022 Elections Is Changing – Events, Memos, Pods

In June NDN will be focusing on what we think is a new strategic context for our politics and the 2022 elections.  Links to related materials and invitations to an initial set of events are below.  

The premise here is simple.  New events – Russia’s ongoing aggression, mass shootings, the end of Roe, a more complete understanding of MAGA’s attack on our political system – are together creating a new strategic framework or context for US politics now.  That new strategic context is giving Joe Biden and the Democrats the opportunity to reframe the economic conversation, something the White House began in earnest yesterday; and it will make it far more likely Democrats will be successful at labeling Republicans out of the mainstream, extreme, unfit.  While these new realities may not be showing up in polling yet, it is our belief that the election has fundamentally changed in the last few weeks, something that will become clearer to all in the coming days.  

Ron Brownstein makes a similar argument in a new CNN piece, "The Two Issues Which Could Disrupt the 2022 Elections." 

So come join us as we explore the changing political dynamic.  It is what we will be spending most of the next month looking at.  And perhaps the best way to connect to our current thinking is to listen to Simon’s remarks in this recent Deep State Radio podcast, and to read our political strategy memo, 3 Reasons Why 2022 Won’t Be 2010.  We look forward to engaging you in this important conversation.   

Friday, June 3rd – NDN Talks to Dr. Rob Shapiro About The Recovery, Inflation and Biden’s Plan – We are excited to welcome back our colleague Rob Shapiro for a discussion about Joe Biden's plans to keep the economy growing and lower inflation. He will be drawing from a series of essays he's written for the Washington Monthly in recent months, including his latest The Truth About Inflation.  Our discussion with Rob will be this Friday, June 3rd at noon ET.   RSVP here.

Join us, invite others - this event is free and open to all.

June 9th and 24th– With Democrats Things Get Better – We’ve scheduled two presentations of our deep dive into US politics over the past generation.  These presentations are free and open to all, so feel free to invite friends and colleagues.  The data in With Dems has been widely cited in recent months, including by the White House and other Democratic leaders.  Learn more about With Dems here, and please register by clicking through for our Thursday June 9th (1230pm ET) and Friday June 24th (1230pm ET).  

Related Memos and Essays

A New Global Moment Emerges - It's An Opportunity for Joe Biden to Lead - While still struggling to put COVID behind us, Russia's aggression is leading to rising energy costs and a now a global food crisis.  These daunting new challenges offer Joe Biden an extraordinary opportunity to lead. 

A Compelling '22 General Election Narrative May Have Emerged for Democrats - In recent weeks a strong possible 2022 narrative and frame has begun to emerge for Democrats - sell our accomplishments, define them as out of the mainstream, extreme - that may make the 2022 elections more competitive than anticipated. 

A New Center-Left Rises in the West to Counter Putin, Illiberalism - Center/center-left governments keep getting elected in the West.  It's possible we are seeing a powerful new political movement emerge as a response to the growing threat of illiberalism. 

May Jobs Report - Biden Boom Keeps Booming, 42m Dem Jobs - 4 times as many jobs have been created in Joe Biden's first 15 months than in Presidencies of the two Bushes and Trump combined.  Repeated Dem successes, repeated GOP failures must become better known in our politics. 

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better (5/13/22) - Check out the latest showing of our signature presentation, With Dems. It tries to tell the most important least understood story in American politics today - that when Dems are in power things get better.  W/Rs not so much. 

Memo: After Texas Roe Decision, Dems Must Lean Into GOP Radicalization - 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.  

Some Thoughts on Democrats and "Loudness" - In a new essay Simon offers 4 ideas for how Democrats can get louder this year and not always be playing defense in a very noisy and crowded information landscape. 

NDN’s Saliency Index 5 – Jobs/Economy, Inflation, Health Care, Climate Change Top Dem Concerns

NDN’s Saliency Index 5 – Jobs/Economy, Inflation, Health Care, Climate Change Top Dem Concerns

So here it is, our latest Saliency Index from data taken from the May 12th Navigator poll.  These are the results of their “top issue” question which asks respondents to choose 4 from a predetermined list.  NDN then creates modeled Dem and GOP electorates and runs the raw data through these models.  At a very top line this exercise shows how dramatically different the information universes of the two parties are right now.  Some notes on this data are below. See here for more on the methodology and to review our last full report. 

Inflation Continues To Be Far Less of a Concern Among Democrats – In our last Saliency Index report we offered a detailed explanation for why we keep seeing lower intensity around inflation among Dems.  The bottom line is that the party of inflation that has really spiked has been gas prices, and it is very possible that rural and exurban voters who drive more and use more gas – and are much more likely to be Republican – are experiencing inflation much more intensely than those who use less gas.  If you drive a lot inflation has been crushing, and is a major economic event.  If you don’t drive a lot, or at all, inflation has actually been far less of an economic event in your life as up until a few months ago real wages were positive for all workers – meaning the typical American was staying ahead of inflation.  Even today, with inflation rising due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, our colleague Rob Shapiro finds that real wages remain in positive territory for full time workers.  So inflation has been more acute for those who drive a lot and part time workers.  For everyone else they are keeping up, regardless of how they feel and understand it.  

Finally, in older Navigator polling, Democratic voters overwhelming blamed inflation on COVID and not Joe Biden’s economic policies.  It is just true that COVID and Russia are now the primary causes of the inflation we are experiencing today.  So it is possible that inflation is less salient in the Democratic electorate for they do not see it as something caused by our government, which of course is a fair read of what is actually happening right now.  Republicans may be both feeling inflation more intensely than Dems, and of course right wing media has focused the blame on Biden rather than COVID, Russia and MBS, where much of the blame actually belongs.  

Abortion and Education seem to be secondary concerns for Republican voters - This continues to be a surprise, and challenges conventional wisdom in DC about how the election is going to be fought out in the months ahead.  GOP has very high levels of intensity around the economy and inflation right now, with the basket of security and safety issues – immigration, national security, crime – making up a clear second tier.  

Abortion is rising as an issue of concern for Democrats, Climate Continues To Be A Top Issue, COVID Has Receded – Not surprisingly we’ve seen significant movement on the abortion issue in recent weeks, and of note to Democratic operatives climate remains a very important issue to our voters.  Our guess is that the continued saliency of climate is being driven by younger voters.  Not also has much COVID has receded.  Economic issues are once again the top battleground in 2022.  

More data from May 12th - This is another cut on the data from May 12th.  Our modeled Dem electorate is 80% Dem, 15% independent, 5% R.  The modeled R is 80% R, 15% independent, 5% Dem.  Again, this is an exercise, and the modeled electorate in every state and district is unique.  

A New Center-Left Rises in the West to Counter Putin, Illiberalism

The Center-Left Rises in the West - Australia’s ousting of a conservative government on Saturday leads us to return to a theme we first wrote about a few weeks ago – the center-right/far-right has been repeatedly losing elections and steadily losing influence in the West.  It’s our belief that the 2018 Putin-Trump Summit in Helsinki, and Trump’s subsequent very public illiberalism, helped waken Western voters to the threat of Trumpism/Putinism, and they have been consistently voting in center/center-left governments ever since.  This year we’ve seen the right defeated in Australia, France, Germany and Slovenia, and there are now center/center-left governments in power in Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the US.  In the UK Labour/Lib Dems/Greens lead the 3 right parties in current polling by 57-37.  The right is more out of power today in the West than it has been in a very long time.  

The rejection of the American right, MAGA, has been arguably the central driver of American politics in the last 3 elections.  Since Trump became the Republican nominee, the average Democratic electoral margin has been 5 points.  Democrats won the last two elections by 8.6 and 4.4 points in very high turnout elections.  There is a clear anti-MAGA majority in the US today, and more people have voted against MAGA than any other political movement in our history.  

For Americans the threat of the global and domestic far right to our way of life is far more acute today than it was in November of 2020.  We’ve seen an unprecedented attack our democracy itself, one which is ongoing and not has been renounced by GOP leaders; Putin has become of history’s great butchers and is working to end the American-led global order; and now a compromised Supreme Court’s far-right faction has begun to take away long-held American rights and liberties.  

As we discussed last week, Joe Biden is successfully reinvigorating and rallying the West to counter Russia’s rancid aggression.  Part of the reason why this anti-Putin coalition has been so successful is that many of the governments in the coalition were elected explicitly to counter the far-right’s rising threat, and thus share a common political orientation. This new anti-right, anti-Putin, anti-MAGA center/center-left political movement in the West is now it’s most powerful political force.  And it’s why I remain optimistic about the fall elections.  People here understand the threat MAGA poses to all of us.  They have voted against it twice in record numbers.  As Joe Biden is rallying the world to counter the threat, he needs to once again rally the anti-MAGA majority there in the US to win another election.  For a defeat for Democrats this fall may not just return extremists to power here, it could begin to fracture the global coalition countering Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and elsewhere.

And if there is any doubt that a GOP Congressional majority could fracture the anti-Putin coalition let’s remember where CPAC, one of the GOP’s most important organizations, has been these last few days.  In Hungary, making common cause with Victor Orban, who recently described Zelenskyy as his “enemy.” 

Democracy, the West, authoritarianism are all on the ballot once again here in America this fall. 

A New Global Moment Emerges - It's An Opportunity for Joe Biden to Lead

A New Global Moment Emerges - It's An Opportunity for Joe Biden to Lead – As tough as COVID has been for the stability of the world and the well-being of mankind (and it is not done with us yet), we are about face a few more serious global challenges – an extended period of high energy and food prices and possible food shortages.  These rising costs will slow economic activity throughout the world and act as a destructive tax on most of the world’s people.  Food will not only be more expensive for poor people, but the global supply of wheat and grain are being disrupted by Russia’s aggression and now drought in India. 

This is a moment which requires very strong American leadership.  We must move on many fronts now – keep the coalition countering Russia’s aggression together; ensure efforts to finally defeat COVID are adequately funded; hasten global efforts to accelerate our transition to more distributed, cheaper and cleaner energy sources; advance a global plan to make widescale famine less likely; and begin a much more intense conversation about how to approach the rising number of refugees all around the world that unsettled times bring. 

Joe Biden was elected to be a President who could lead the America and world through such challenging times. With his trip to Asia this week, and the upcoming Summit of the Americas and G7 meetings, the President is going to be given the opportunity to rally the world to meet these emergent challenges.  It is vital as he does Congressional Democrats have his back and help him meet an increasingly important global moment. 

The House New Democrat Coalition Turns 25 – This year the House New Democrat Coalition turns 25 years old.  We will be offering our thoughts about this vital institution and what it has meant for US politics in a series of essays over the next few weeks.  But as folks who were deeply involved in the formation of the group all those years ago, it’s our view that today’s NDC, led by the brilliant Rep. Suzan DelBene, is as strong as it has ever been.  And that’s good news for America, for this forward-looking organization, which helped led the country successfully through the last generation of American politics, is going to be called on again to help us meet a new set of emergent challenges, some of which we touch on above. 

When we started NDN in 1996 our slogan was “New Leaders for a New Time.”  It feels like we are at such a moment again.  And like those who “New Leaders” who came before we are very optimistic that the new and very capable team leading the NDC is on track to make sure the next 25 years is as impactful and important as the first 25.  


Memo: The Remarkable Success of the Democratic Party's Hispanic Strategy

Since this memo was released Future Majority has released large sample polls of Hispanics in AZ, NV and PA which show Democrats at 2018 numbers and Republicans struggling.  This data is a direct challenge to much of the current discussion of the Hispanic electorate.  

Memo: The Remarkable Success of the Democratic Party’s Hispanic Strategy

So the chatter has it that Dems are struggling with Hispanic voters right now.  But how can that be true if Democrats just won two Senate seats in Arizona, and won AZ, CO, NM, NV in the 2020 Presidential, all states George W. Bush won in 2004? Let’s spend a bit of time trying to figure all this out.   

The modern battle over the Hispanic vote began with the 2000 Bush campaign.  The two Bush brothers, George W and Jeb, came from Florida and Texas, and understood this fast-growing part of the American electorate.  Winning over Hispanics was central to their success in both states, and it became central to the Bush campaign and Bush Presidency. 

In 1996 Bill Clinton won the Hispanic vote 72%-21%.  With an aggressive Hispanic strategy in 2000 which included paid Spanish language advertising, Bush was able to get that vote to 62-35.  These gains helped him flip Arizona, Florida and Nevada from blue to red, wins critical to his narrow 271 (contested) Electoral College vote victory.  It is not an exaggeration to say that Bush’s success with Hispanics gave him the Presidency. 

In 2004 Bush improved his Hispanic performance getting it all the way up to 53% Kerry 44% Bush, the second consecutive election he shaved 20 points off the Democratic margin.  This time he also turned New Mexico red, and these 4 flipped heavily Hispanic states provided him 47 Electoral College votes of his 286 total (CO went R in 1996, 2000, 2004).  Again, Bush’s success with Hispanics was an essential part of his victory. 

In 2002 NDN joined forces with noted pollster Sergio Bendixen to create a Democratic Party wide response to Bush’s successful strategy.  In the coming years working with prominent Hispanic leaders like Bob Menendez, Bill Richardson, Ken Salazar, Joe Garcia and Maria Cardona NDN introduced bi-lingual polling and Spanish language advertising to Democratic politics.  In 2004 NDN countered Bush’s campaign with months of Spanish language ads in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico.  A modern Democratic Party Hispanic strategy was born, and it has been carried on in the years since by many able leaders, strategists and staff.  And reviewing what’s happened since those early days it has clearly been a success, arguably the most successful major party-wide strategy of the past generation of American politics.

Let’s look at some numbers. 

According to the exit polls Gore beat Bush with Hispanics in 2000 62%-35%.  Using data from CUNY, 5.934,000 Hispanics voted that year. That breaks down to 3,679,080 Dem votes, 2,076,900 Rs, leaving a net vote margin of 1,602,180 for Democrats.  In 2004, with Bush’s gains, that margin was down to 682,000 votes. But in the years after 2004, when the work we all did really started to kick in, Dems got their vote share up from the 50s and lows 60s to the high 60s.  In 2020, while Biden did dip a little, coming in at 63%-35% (using Catalist and AP Vote Cast data), that 28 point margin in an electorate now 16.5m (yes up from 6m in 2000) yielded Dems a net margin of 4.6m votes.  To understand the significance of a 4.6m vote margin with Hispanics Biden’s overall margin of victory was 7m votes.

                Overall Hispanic Vote        Est D Share         Est R Share        Dem Margin                

2000                   5,934,000                          3,679,080                 2,076,900             1,602,180

2004                   7,587,000                         4,021,110                  3,338,280                682,830

2020                 16,459,000                       10,369,170                  5,760,650             4,608,520

This is not erosion, as many have characterized it.  Its millions and millions of more Democratic votes.  A slightly smaller slice of a bigger pie means you still have more pie. In this case lots more pie (if we use the 2020 exits which had Biden at 65-32,+33, rather than +28 as we have it above the 2020 net Dem margin comes in at 5,431,000 votes).

So, if this is true, and Dems have picked up many more votes in the states with heavily Hispanic electorates, we should see those states trending more Democratic.  And that’s what we see (Florida is an exception to this story, something we will come back to in a future memo). 


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

Dem Senate Seats – 3 of 8 (38%) in 2004, all 8 (100%) in 2020

Dem House Seats – 7 of 21 (33%) in 2004, 14 of 23 (61%) in 2020

Dem Govs – 2 of 4 in 2004, 3 of 4 (75%) in 2020

In 16 years Dems have picked up 31 Electoral College votes, 5 Senate seats, 7 House seats and 3 governorships in these 4 southwestern states.  These Congressional gains are the reason Dems have majorities today in the Senate and House. 

After reapportionments Biden's 306 Electoral College vote total shrinks to 300. The region will pick up 2 to get to 126, and the # of EC votes coming from the 4 states will grow to 32.  At 300 and 32, this means that Biden is at 268 without AZ, CO, NM, NV, further reinforcing the political significance of these gains. 

In AZ, CO, NM, NV plus CA, TX

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

Dem Senate Seats – 5 of 12 (42%) 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 – 2 of 6 (33%) in 2004, 4 of 6 (67%) in 2020

These gains have helped shift the center of gravity of the Democratic Party itself westward. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is from this expanded region, as is Vice President Kamala Harris.  Harry Reid was the Democratic leader in the Senate for many years, and in fact was instrumental in advancing Democratic Hispanic efforts.  The DCCC Chair who flipped the House in 2018, Ben Ray Lujan, is from New Mexico.  The DSCC Chair who flipped the Senate in 2020-2021, Catherine Cortez-Masto, is from Nevada.  The 2021 Chair of the DGA, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is from New Mexico. 

Decades of investment and effort has turned what was once a red region of the country far more Democratic.  Since that 2004 Bush election, Democrats have flipped 6 states at the Presidential level – these 4 Southwestern states and Georgia and Virginia.  Democrats owe their Congressional majorities to the gains made in these states, and these states will be central to the 2024 Dem Presidential strategy. 

As we look forward, Democrats should work to protect these gains, and understand the basic math at work here.  30+ point margins of a growing electorate will continue to add votes to the Democratic column for years to come.  But new and fresh strategies will be needed to make Texas more competitive, reclaim lost ground in Florida and continue earning the votes of an electorate with many new, young and episodic voters. As George W. Bush showed us two decades ago, and as we are learning in Florida right now, this is not an electorate which can be taken for granted.

The Democratic Party’s current success with Hispanic voters was not an accident, it didn’t just happen. It came about through a big audacious strategy and years of investment and hard work.  It may very well be the most successful party-wide effort of the last 20-30 years, something which has transformed the Democratic Party and American politics more broadly. And it is something which needs to be preserved, nurtured, improved upon and perhaps applied to other demographic and geographic opportunities in the years to come.  

For demography isn’t destiny – it’s an opportunity.

Related Readings

Analysis: The Southwest Has Become A Democratic Stronghold (2020)

In Florida Democrats Lost Ground With All Important Hispanic Voters  (2018)

Among "New Coalition" Voters in 2018, Dems Have Best Performance Ever

Notes On The GOP's Erosion In The Southwest (2017)

Trump Is Right To Be Worried About Arizona (And Texas Too) (2017)

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better (5/13/22)

We are pleased to offer a recording of NDN's signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, from Friday, May 13th, 2022.  This was a particularly lively session, with lots of great discussion and loads of new material.  Hope you will check it out. 

With Dems is a 25 minute long data-filled look at the performance of the two American political parties since the end of the Cold War.  What we learn is that Democrats have repeatedly made things better when in power; the GOP not so much.  It is as we say in the deck the most important least understood story in American politics today. 

Perhaps the most remarkable stat in the deck - since 1989, and the Cold War ended, 44m net new jobs have been created in America.  42m - 96% - have been created under Democratic Presidents. 

To learn more about the big arguments in With Dems start with our recently published analysis 4 Times More Biden Jobs Than Last 3 GOP Presidents Combined and an essay, The Case for Optimism, Rejecting Trump's Poisonous Pessimism. which was the basis of the earliest version of this presentation.  We also strongly recommend reviewing David Leonhardt’s recent NYT essay "Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?" It makes very similar arguments and has lots of terrific and useful charts.  Our recent discussion with noted economist Rob Shapiro, and his 2 recent essays on the Biden Boom, also provide useful context.

Maria Cardona cites our research in her CNN column, as does David Rothkopf in this USA Today essay.   Mike Tomasky’s rave review of With Dems in a recent Daily Beast column is a great read.  Mike writes: “Simon Rosenberg heads NDN, a liberal think tank and advocacy organization. He has spent years advising Democrats, presidents included, on how to talk about economic matters. Not long ago, he put together a little PowerPoint deck. It is fascinating. You need to know about it. The entire country needs to know about it."  We agree of course!

We will be presenting With Dems once or twice a month through the end of the year, and we intend to take many of the arguments in our presentation to the public with op-eds, media appearances etc. You can sign up for a future showing and learn more about the arguments in the presentation here.

Thank you for your interest, and please share this video and future invites with friends and family - the more the merrier!



A Compelling '22 General Election Narrative May Have Emerged for Democrats

Last fall NDN argued that a possible powerful message frame was emerging for Democrats– sell our achievements, talk about what we still want to do, and define a radicalized right as out of the mainstream, too extreme to be trusted with power.  This frame was used successfully by Gavin Newsom in his big recall win, and we felt like it could end being a good fit for us in 2022.  It’s our growing belief that the chances for this frame (and the chances of the Democratic Party) to be successful in the fall elections have risen significantly in recent weeks.  Let us explain why.  

As the NDN community knows we’ve been strong advocates of Democrats getting much louder about selling our achievements, particularly when it comes to the economy.  With another strong jobs report on Friday, here are some examples of how Dems can sell their strong leadership in getting us through COVID, leading a vibrant economy recovery and standing up to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine: 

·      4 times as many jobs under Joe Biden as last 3 GOP Presidents COMBINED

·      Of the 44m jobs created since 1989, 42m – 96% have come under Democratic Presidents

·      New businesses – a sign of economic vitality – are being created at a record rate

·      There are 5m more job openings than unemployed people 

·      We are at record or near record lows in unemployment, poverty, uninsured

·      The President has managed Russia’s aggression in Ukraine well, and helped revitalized the Western alliance

·      We are getting to the other side of COVID, returning to our normal lives, and the economy has boomed

·      We’ve passed an historic infrastructure bill, which will create millions of jobs here at home and helps accelerate our much needed energy transition….

·      Until Russia’s aggression caused gas and food prices to rise, real wages for Americans were positive, and our strong growth was keeping workers ahead of inflation

There are going to many ways to sell what Democrats have done this year, but this gives you a taste of what is available to us.  And it is a lot.  We have a lot to sell.  America is stronger and better off today due to our time in power.  Democrats have to stop having regrets about the things we didn’t do and get on with selling the very good things we have done.  

And when it comes to inflation, we have to really start pushing back far harder.  Inflation is a worldwide phenomenon right now, impacting every country.  It is being driven by COVID related supply chain disruptions, and rising food and energy prices flowing from Russia’s aggression and Saudi Arabia’s greed.  Yes, it is true that some of the inflation we are experiencing in the US is coming from an overheated, booming economy, but what is really driving the inflation we are experiencing now – not a few months ago – is the global malevolence of petro-dictators.  We should be blaming them for what is happening to us and the rest of the global economy, as it is a powerful reminder why we cannot let the authoritarians win, and why we must do everything we can to accelerate the transition to a clean energy future.  Mad about high gas prices? Blame Putin and MBS and their enablers here in the US.  

What was always a little less clear was how Democrats were going to execute on the last part of the that frame – define the GOP as extreme, out of the mainstream, unfit.  As we’ve written in a new essay, we think that with the apparent ending of Roe the job of defining the MAGA/GOP as extremists has gotten far easier.  And here too Dems have lots to work with – banning books, climate denialism, tearing down the US health care system, partnering with authoritarians and petro-dictators including Putin, denigrating our democracy, a murderous insurrection, covering up and supporting clearly unhinged politicians in their ranks, raising taxes on working people while providing ongoing tax cuts for the most privileged…..the list goes on and on.  

In our decades in politics, no group of Democrats have had more material to define the GOP as extreme as Democrats have now – and it’s because the extremism Trump brought to the GOP has now spread to the entire party.  Illiberal MAGA has replaced conservatism as the governing ideology of the American right, and it has felt in recent months as if this extremism has worsened, that it is indeed spiraling out of control into new and dangerous places.  It is and should be something all voters should be concerned about.  It is a serious problem for the whole country.  

All of this is why we’ve maintained that when it comes to the 2022 elections we would rather be us than them.  The American people rejected MAGA in record numbers in 2018 and 2020.  In election after election voters throughout Europe are rejecting this extremist politics (with the exception of Hungary).  There is a clear anti-MAGA majority in the US, and Democrats now have an argument, the money and new capacities to drive turnout which together are likely to make 2022 a far more competitive election than conventional wisdom holds now.  

For what is true is that Joe Biden has been a good President, and things are better today. What is also true is that a dangerous extremism has overtaken the once proud party of Lincoln and Reagan.  And in politics selling things which are true is usually lot easier and more effective than selling clear-to-any-reasonable-person-who-is-paying-attention, hysterical made for Hannity horseshit.   

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