NDN Blog

Biden's Strong Job Approval

Biden Strong Job Approval– Want to dwell on Biden’s strong job approval numbers for a minute.  In today’s 538 tracker Biden starts at 55.6 approve, 38.2 disapprove.  This means in practical terms that 62% of the country does not disapprove of what Biden is doing right now.  9% of the US voted for Trump and is not disapproving of Biden now – this is almost one in five of Trump’s own supporters.  

A strong majority of the country, even a big chunk of Trump supporters, are giving Biden a chance to move on his agenda.  It is why he should seize the moment, and go for it.  It is what 60% plus – an extraordinary numbers – want him to do right now.  

And it has to be noted that as Biden is +18 in his job approval today, Trump was only +2-+3 for a few days of his Presidency; was net negative the rest of his Presidency; and never broke 50% job approval one time, the only President in the history of polling to not get to 50% during their Presidency.  So we are really looking a dramatically different Presidency, one where opposition to Biden is nothing like the opposition to Trump.  A majority of the US is giving Biden a chance.  Trump never had the country behind him, was never popular, or seen as effective.  And this matters as the Republicans try to figure out what to do next.  For Trump was both a disastrous President and historically unpopular – why would they ever want to return to that politics? 

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better (2/19/21)

Check out this 2/19/21 edition of our singnature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better.  It tells a story about post-Cold War America - that one party, the Democrats have been modern and successful.  The other party, Republicans, have been reactionary and repeatedly failed to deliver when in power.  

The presentation itself runs about 25 minutes and is new and updated each week.  In this Feb 19th edition we added some new national polling and COVID data from the early Biden days. 

Visit here to learn more about the big arguments behind With Dems, and feel free to sign up for our newsletter, NDN News, which will give you advance notice of upcoming With Dems and other timely and interesting events from NDN.  

Analysis: Should we focus the vaccine on those over 65? Seems like a good idea

In a new Medium 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. 

An excerpt:

"Getting “seniors vaccinated” also allows us to have a big collective win against COVID, something that may be psychologically important for a country eager for a clear victory against the pandemic. As it would come in the spring, it would contribute to a nationwide sense of renewal, of a return to possibility. It will help create a sense of “yes we can” momentum which will help us as the vaccine program scales up later in the spring."

Video: NDN Talks w/Rep. Scott Peters about New Dem 100 Day Agenda (2/8/21)

On Monday, February 8th NDN held a conversation with Rep. Scott Peters, Vice Chair of the House New Democrat Coalition for Policy.  Rep. Peters reviewed the newly released NDC 100 Day Agenda and the Coalition’s priorities for the upcoming COVID package. 

A video recording of the episode can be found here

Our discussion with the very thoughful Rep. Peters was a terrific window in the opportunities and the challenges facing Congress at the beginning of the Biden Presidency and in the early days after Jan 6th. This episode of our new NDN Talks series is well worth your time.

As. Rep. Peters outlined, the New Democrat Coalition's agenda offers pragmatic but urgent steps to end the pandemic, create jobs, and solve the challenges of the 21st century.  For more on the agenda, visit the following links:

GOP Chooses Radicalism, Violence

Feb 1st, Washington DC - How to describe the Republican Party’s refusal to condemn Marjorie Taylor Green or to accept the 2020 election as legitimate? This isn’t politics as usual, something any of us has seen before. Behind both the Capitol Riots and the words of MTG is an ideology of violence, one which believes that Democratic elected officials should be eliminated/killed to make way for Trump to “Save America.” 

On July 4th, at an official event at the White House, then President Trump  spelled out a new mission for his Presidency and the GOP: “American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the earth. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators.” This was a direct call for violence against his political opponents, a declaration that the President was putting the mighty power of the US government on the job of killing off “the radical left” as our government had used force to eliminate other ideologically threatening movements. 

There simply is no way to interpret this call any other way, and in fact as the NY Times reported this weekend, the Trump administration did begin mobilizing against the “radical left” over the summer.  Republican leaders, including ones many consider moderates, continue to use the “radical left” frame; and over the weekend MTG called her colleague Rep. Cori Bush a “leader of the Black Lives Matter terrorist mob.”  Terrorists, as the President stated above, who needed to be “chased down to the very ends of the earth.”  

Until Republican leaders explicitly renounce these violent calls, and make clear they accept the election in 2020 as legitimate, their party has essentially aligned itself with a violent, armed, and organized domestic insurgency.  It is honestly shocking we have gotten to this place, and that so many Republicans, particularly in the US House remain unrepentant.  But here we are, and this organization is going to continue to demand and expect there to be a clear national effort by the Republicans to de-radicalize, end the Trump-inspired insurgency, and return to the language and practices one would expect from any political party in any democracy, anywhere.  

Video - DelBene, Ornstein, Qureshi, Gallego, Posen, CIRCLE and More......

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

Video is now available for the following events:

Nov 12 - With Democrats Things Get Better (Video) (Background, Related Readings)

Oct 6th - Facebook After the Whistleblower with Zamaan Qureshi (Video) (Event Recap)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background on our converation with Glenn Kirschner

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

In the essay he writes: "If a president can act unlawfully to influence an election, he does not deserve the protections of his ill-gotten office. This incongruity encourages lawlessness in the quest for the presidency and then rewards that lawlessness by inoculating the criminal president against prosecution. Such a construct is dangerous.... We now find ourselves with a president whose crimes may outpace those of Nixon and Clinton. Failing to hold criminal presidents accountable in a court of law arguably emboldens, or at the very least does not dissuade, corrupt individuals from seeking the presidency. At some point, we must learn from our institutional mistakes. Department of Justice officials would be wise to reflect on American history lest we once again succumb to a governmental crisis."

What he is saying here, very clearly, is that if a President cannot be prosecuted for election crimes, then he has every incentive in the world to cheat with impunity, which is exactly what we saw in both the Ukraine fiasco in 2019 and the months long effort to disrupt, cheat and overthrow the 2020 election.  Simon wrote an extended essay about Glenn's argument back in August, in the midst of what we called Trump's original electoral crime spree. All of this is well worth considering as we face what may be the second reckless failure to convict Trump for grave crimes, High Crimes, against our democracy itself. 

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

Glenn's Bio:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Biden’s Call for Unity Met With Extremism

This essay was originally published on the website Medium on Jan 25th, 2021. 

These first few days of the Biden era have been a disappointing confirmation of just how radicalized the modern Republican Party has become. Consider:

There has been no party wide embrace of the legitimacy of the election, and thus the legitimacy of Biden’s Presidency — Despite everything that has happened in recent weeks, the Republican Party and its leaders have done almost nothing to distance themselves from the Big Lie about the election outcome being illegitimate. While Senator McConnell has called on Republicans to accept the election results, House Minority Leader McCarthy hasn’t; there is no organized effort for those who told the Big Lie to renounce it; no Republican group or leader who has participated in the insurrection has been disciplined. Senator Paul was spent his time on ABC News yesterday repeating the Big Lie.

How can Joe Biden be expected to work cooperatively with a Party which believes, falsely, that he is an usurper and shouldn’t be there? Our collective expectation as a society now has to be for the Republicans to make it clear that they were wrong about the election; that it was legitimate; and that the power the Democrats hold in Washington was legitimately earned, not stolen.

Mitch McConnell is preventing Democrats from taking over the Senate — In what may be among the extraordinary illiberal acts of these deeply illiberal era, Mitch McConnell is refusing to allow Democrats to seat their new Senators in the various Senate Committees, which leaves Republicans still in charge of the Committees and thus the legislative process. There is no possible justification for this, and is another sign of how far the Republicans have to travel to become a conventional center-right party which respects democratic norms and the rule of law.

No pledge of support to work with Biden on any issue, including defeating COVID — Finally, where is the praise of Biden’s agenda, his speech, the clear excellence of his early transition planning despite COVID, compromised government information systems, the insurrection and degraded security environment? Where is the GOP olive branch on any issue, particularly on dealing with the incredibly reckless mis-management of the pandemic? Why haven’t, for the good of our nation in such a challenging time, Republicans offered a single thing they could work on with Biden? Let the Democrats actually be in charge of the Senate? Do away with the doubts about the legitimacy of the election?

Is it possible for the Republicans to have done less to show their commitment to the general welfare these past few weeks than they’ve done? Hundreds of Members of Congress participated in an effort to overthrow the election results, an effort which resulted in violence and death. They have refused to renounce their support of an active insurgency. They have refused to turn the Senate over to the Democrats, and slowwalked his early Cabinet choices, even in the areas dealing with domestic security. There has been no olive branch, no call for bi-partisanship, no issue identified as any area of potential cooperation.

Instead we still see and hear leading Republicans on national television this weekend using the “radical” language which helped bring violence to the Capitol a few weeks ago — the election wasn’t legitimate, we need to investigate what went wrong, Biden is embracing a dangerous “Radical Left” agenda and actually not doing anything to reach out to Republicans…….

Really? Fixing our broken COVID strategy, creating an economic package which will help struggling families, moving an immigration bill similar to one which has passed a Republican-led Senate twice in the past 14 years, rejoining a global climate agreement which has literally every other country in the world in it isn’t reaching out and is far left? This whole charade has both become both so predictable and so tiresome.

Early polling suggests Biden is uniting the country, even if Washington Republicans have been slow to embrace the new President. Some results from a new ABC Ipsos poll:

Mask wearing on federal property 81–17

Rejoin the WHO — 70–28

Biden Handling of COVID — 69–29

Rejoin the Paris Climate Accords — 65–34

Reauthorize DACA — 65–33

Trump has left the GOP a radicalized, illiberal party, and unfortunately, that radicalization has been very much on display these past few weeks. For America to have unity, or even just good governance, a major project must be undertaken to deradicalize the GOP, and help it return to a center-right party recognizable to a modern democracy. Acknowledging the legitimacy of the election and allowing Democrats to take over the Senate now would be reasonable first steps on the GOP’s post-Trump journey. Let us hope that’s what we see in the coming days.

A New Day, The Spirit of Cincinnatus Returns

New Day – Hard to overstate the significance of what’s about to happen in the next few days.  More than a transfer of power – the Biden team is coming in ready to hit the ground running as few Administrations in recent American history have.  Biden has a clear world view; has built a remarkable team; is already rolling out cogent, smart plans on the biggest challenges we face.  The change in language, agenda, orientation is going to be dramatic, jarring, needed, and oh so welcome. 

We keep coming back to the concept of experience – Joe Biden and his team just know their way around the place.  We are witnessing a remarkably sure footed operation come in at a time of enormous crisis in America – COVID, the economy, body politic, cyber, climate, America’s standing in the world – and it is hard at this point to not feel a bit lucky that Biden, like Cincinnatus, came out of retirement and suited up one more time for the good of the republic.  

In a recent op-ed Simon offers some thoughts on Joe Biden’s historic opportunity to “build back better” here in the US and around the world.   The piece argues that America’s new President should view the next few years as akin to the years after WWII; and use the need to fashion a successful recovery from a shared global trauma to reaffirm and reinvigorate the liberalism which has been so essential to America and the world’s success in the post WWII era.  

You can catch Simon talking more in depth about these ideas in a new “Unpresidented” podcast, and another one from a few months back with Salon’s Chauncy DeVega.  

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