NDN Blog

Video: Yes, Americans Are Better Off - A Conversation with Rob Shapiro

On Friday, September 23rd we sat down with our friend and colleague Rob Shapiro for a discussion  of his compelling new Washington Monthly article, “Yes, Americans Are Better Off Under Biden."

You can watch the conversation with Rob here.  The core of what we discussed is how Democrats need to close with a very strong argument that with them in power once again - despite COVID, an insurrection, supply chain disruptions, Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the global inflation it brought - things have gotten better for the American people.  As we wrote in a recent piece on the September jobs report we think we have a very strong case to make.  Consider that under Biden we've seen:

- 5 times as many jobs as last 3 GOP POTUS COMBINED

- Lowest poverty, uninsured rates in US history, lowest peacetime unemployment rate since WWII

- Wage gains, new business starts at elevated/record levels

- twice as many job openings as unemployed people - a record

- Deficit plummeting, gas prices coming way down

- the passage of bills which are making historic investments in infrastructure, microchips, clean technology and health care which will create growth and jobs for decades to come

We are better off.  Now we need to go sell it.  An excerpt from Rob's terrific analysis:

"In June 2022, the average working American earned $74,643 in wages and salaries, compared to $74,624 in January 2021 and $70,274 in February 2020. Even with 9.5 million more people working, the average working person earned as much in June, after inflation, as when Biden took office. And compared to just before the pandemic, when employment was comparable to today, the average person earns 6.2 percent even after inflation. The answer to Reagan’s question is “Yes” on wages and salaries as well as jobs, a remarkable achievement given the pandemic.

Americans are also significantly wealthier than before Biden took office. The pandemic and the jobs boom were primarily responsible. As the Omicron variant spread, government checks enabled more savings and increased spending that helped drive up employment. According to the Federal Reserve, after inflation the net assets of Americans increased by nearly $2 trillion from the first quarter of 2021—when Biden took office—to the first quarter of 2022. (We exclude the top 1 percent because their assets are notoriously hard to measure.)  

And it’s not the typical case of the rich getting richer. The fastest growth in net assets occurred among low- and moderate-income households. From the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, the inflation-adjusted wealth of households in the lowest income quintile jumped 15.2 percent and just 0.8 percent for those in the top income quintile (again, excluding the top 1 percent)."

Video: Yes, Americans Are Better Off - A Conversation with Rob Shapiro (9/23/22)

On Friday, September 23rd we sat down with our friend and colleague Rob Shapiro for a discussion  of his compelling new Washington Monthly article, “Yes, Americans Are Better Off Under Biden."

You can watch the conversation with Rob here.  The core of what we discussed is how Democrats need to close with a very strong argument that with them in power once again - despite COVID, an insurrection, supply chain disruptions, Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the global inflation it brought - things have gotten better for the American people.  As we wrote in a recent piece on the September jobs report we think we have a very strong case to make.  Consider that under Biden we've seen:

- 5 times as many jobs as last 3 GOP POTUS COMBINED

- Lowest poverty, uninsured rates in US history, lowest peacetime unemployment rate since WWII

- Wage gains, new business starts at elevated/record levels

- twice as many job openings as unemployed people - a record

- Deficit plummeting, gas prices coming way down

- the passage of bills which are making historic investments in infrastructure, microchips, clean technology and health care which will create growth and jobs for decades to come

We are better off.  Now we need to go sell it.  An excerpt from Rob's terrific analysis:

"In June 2022, the average working American earned $74,643 in wages and salaries, compared to $74,624 in January 2021 and $70,274 in February 2020. Even with 9.5 million more people working, the average working person earned as much in June, after inflation, as when Biden took office. And compared to just before the pandemic, when employment was comparable to today, the average person earns 6.2 percent even after inflation. The answer to Reagan’s question is “Yes” on wages and salaries as well as jobs, a remarkable achievement given the pandemic.

Americans are also significantly wealthier than before Biden took office. The pandemic and the jobs boom were primarily responsible. As the Omicron variant spread, government checks enabled more savings and increased spending that helped drive up employment. According to the Federal Reserve, after inflation the net assets of Americans increased by nearly $2 trillion from the first quarter of 2021—when Biden took office—to the first quarter of 2022. (We exclude the top 1 percent because their assets are notoriously hard to measure.)  

And it’s not the typical case of the rich getting richer. The fastest growth in net assets occurred among low- and moderate-income households. From the first quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, the inflation-adjusted wealth of households in the lowest income quintile jumped 15.2 percent and just 0.8 percent for those in the top income quintile (again, excluding the top 1 percent)."

Video: Tom Bonier on The Surge of Women Voting/Registering Post-Roe (9/14/22)

On Wed, September 14th we hosted TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier for a timely discussion about the big surge in women voting and registering to vote post Roe.  Tom has been at the forefront of gathering data from across the country about what may be a hugely important development in the 2022 elections, something he wrote about in this NYTimes op-ed, "Women Are So Fired Up To Vote, I've Never Seen Anything Like It."

You can watch our conversation here

As for some of the things we reference in the conversation, you can find NDN's core 2022 election here, and a video of our "New, Bluer Election" briefing here

Our friend Tom Bonier is a Democratic political strategist and the C.E.O. of TargetSmart, a data and polling firm. He teaches political science at Howard University and is a member of S.E.I.U.

Invite: Sept 23rd - Rob Shapiro: "Yes, Americans Are Better Off"

This week we are bringing our colleague Rob Shapiro back to for a discussion of his compelling his new Washington Monthly article, “Yes, Americans Are Better Off Under Biden."

This will be a good one – please join us and feel free to invite others.  Biden’s economic strategy has been far more successful than is understood and Rob will walk us through what we know today.  Be sure to review NDN's recent deep dive on the September jobs report and our transition from strong recovery to strong expansion which is now underway. 

Our discussion will be live over Zoom at 1pm ET on Friday, September 23rd.  A video of the event will be posted later Friday afternoon.  Please RSVP here and we look forward to seeing you next week!

 

 

Video: NDN's New, Bluer Election Presentation (9/8/22)

For the past several months we've taken our core election analysis and put it into a 25 minute video presentation called it's a "New, Bluer Election."  We are pleased to share a newly updated showing recorded on Thursday, September 8th.  You can watch it here, and review our comprehensive analysis of the election here

Feel free to share this presentation with others.  And if you have a group of at least 100 people I am open to presenting it to your group, schedule allowing.  Just DM me Twitter at @SimonWDC and we can try to get it scheduled.  It is newly updated with each showing. 

Be sure to join us this Wed, Sept 14th at 1230pm ET for a discussion with Tom Bonier who has release really compelling research showing a big surge of women registering to vote, voting and requesting vote by mail ballots post Roe.  You can RSVP here

And if you like our election presentation we think you will like what's been our primary political presentation over the past few years, With Democrats Things Get Better.  Learn more, watch here.  We promise you won't be disapointed. 

Invite: Sept 14th - Tom Bonior on The Surge of Women Voting/Registering Post-Roe

Come join us on Monday, September 14th at 12:30pm ET for a timely political discussion with Dem strategist and data guy Tom Bonier, who will be discussing his new NYTimes op-ed, "Women Are So Fired Up To Vote, I've Never Seen Anything Like It."

Tom has crunched the numbers and we are seeing a huge surge in women voting and registering in the days after Roe ended and the GOP enacted extremist abortion restrictions across the US.

In what is sure to be a lively session he will discuss what it all means for 2022 and beyond.  You can RSVP here.  Feel free to invite others - all are welcome.  Note that this is a new day and time - Wed, September 14th 12:30pm. 

Our friend Tom Bonier is a Democratic political strategist and the C.E.O. of TargetSmart, a data and polling firm. He teaches political science at Howard University and is a member of S.E.I.U. Local 500.

Join us - this will be a good one!

Video: Tom Bonier on The Surge of Women Voting/Registering Post-Roe (9/14/22)

On Wed, September 14th we hosted TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier for a timely discussion about the big surge in women voting and registering to vote post Roe.  Tom has been at the forefront of gathering data from across the country about what may be a hugely important development in the 2022 elections, something he wrote about in this NYTimes op-ed, "Women Are So Fired Up To Vote, I've Never Seen Anything Like It."

You can watch our conversation here

As for some of the things we reference in the conversation, you can find NDN's core 2022 election here, and a video of our "New, Bluer Election" briefing here

Our friend Tom Bonier is a Democratic political strategist and the C.E.O. of TargetSmart, a data and polling firm. He teaches political science at Howard University and is a member of S.E.I.U.

Local 500.

Invite: NDN Election Briefings - Sept 8th and 9th

To talk about the many encouraging developments for Democrats in the 2022 election we’ve put together two briefings for you in the coming week. The briefings, conducted over Zoom, are:

Thursday, September 8th, 8pm ET – RSVP Here

Friday, September 9th, Noon ET - RSVP Here

These briefings are free and open to all so you are welcome to invite friends and colleagues.  Due to technical issues last week we were not able to record our Friday briefing as promised - sorry for the inconvenience!

To learn more about our take on the 2022 elections check out this new thread and our big analysis, “Dems Are Closing Strong, Republicans Are Closing As Ugly As Ugly As It Gets.”  You can also find our work and insights cited in the press and podcasts below. 

To a new, bluer election - Simon

Further Reading, Media Citations

In November of 2021, we published a memo, Memo: 3 Reasons Why 2022 Won’t Be 2010, that posited the GOP's embrace of MAGA would make it likely that 2022 would not be a traditional midterm and Democrats could end up overperforming expectations. In May we predicted that the combination of a return of mass shootings, the ending of Roe, and the fallout from the Jan 6th Committee would reawaken the anti-MAGA majority and make this election much closer than many thought possible.  In mid-June, we released an election analysis which argued we were already looking at a competitive not a wave election - that there were signs of what we call the MAGA hangover (GOP underperformance) even before Roe ended.  Then Roe ended, and NDN has been at the national forefront of charting what is now clearly a new, bluer election.    

We’ve put together our electoral work over the past few months into a 20 minute data-filled presentation, “A New, Bluer Election.”  You can watch it here.  We also rolled out an updated version of With Democrats Things Get Better, our in-depth look at how the two US parties have fared over the past 30 years.  You can learn more and watch here.   On Tuesday, Aug 9th we recorded an updated version of our core presentation for Swing Left.  You can watch here, beginning at minute 12 or so. 

In recent weeks our election analysis has been cited in articles by John Harwood on the CNN site, Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, Peter Nicholas on the NBC News site, Susan Milligan in US News, Nicholas Riccardi in the AP, Eleanor Clift in The Daily Beast, John Skolnick in Salon, AB Stoddard in The Bulwark, Peter Weber in The Week, Dick Polman in his nationally syndicated column, Jim Puzzanghera in the Boston Globe and Kiran Stacey in the Financial Times.  I've also hit the pod and radio circuit, discussing of our electoral thesis with Matt Lewis on his podcast, Ian Masters for his radio show/podcast, a new episode of That Trippi Show our good friend Joe Trippi, David Catanese's Too Close to CallHotMics with Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart and the Start Me Up pod with Kimberley Johnson.  On Thursday, August 4th I joined Mehdi Hasan's show on Peacock for a spirited discussion of the 2022 elections. 

front page Washington Post story on the 2022 election by Michael Scherer, Coby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey features this quote from Simon: “The question is, are there forces in the election more powerful than the disappointment in Biden?” asked Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist. “The answer is yes, and that is opposition and fear for MAGA, which is the thing that has driven the last two elections.” Ron Brownstein gives our big argument serious consideration in a comprehensive CNN analysis.  Greg Sargent devotes a whole column to our analysis, "Meet the Lonely Democrat Who Thinks His Party Can Win."  This one is a particularly good read. 

Kristian Ramos has a new take in Salon that includes our work, and comes down where we come down - time for Dems to go on offense now.  I did a long sit down with Jonathan Alter for his Old Goats substack - was a deep and rich conversation about this election and the state of our politics today.  Check it out.  Nicole Narea does a great treatment of our concept of "The MAGA hangover" in a new Vox piece and the FT's Courtney Weaver cites us on the struggles of GOP candidates across the country.  Politico's Max Tani and Alex Thompson do a deep dive on our analysis in a fun new piece, "Meet The Most Optimistic Dem Online."  Susan Glasser gives our 2022 election take serious consideration in a new New Yorker essay, "Is There A Serious Case for A Non-Awful Election for Democrats This Fall?"  Jonathan Weisman features some of our insights in a New York Times article about Dem chances for taking the House.  EJ Dionne quotes us in a new Washington Post essay about Democratic optimism post the NY House specials.  Blake Hounshell features our analysis in a New York Times article, "Republicans in Disarray."

And we appreciate this shoutout from DNC Chair Jaime Harrison!

Analysis: Dems Are Closing Strong. Republicans Are Closing As Ugly As It Gets

A few updates: strongly recommend our new video conversation about the surge in women voting and registering - a big 2022 development - with TargetSmart's Tom Bonier.  We've just posted a new, updated version of our "New, Bluer Election" presentation, and you can me on three new podcasts talking about the election: with Joe Trippi on That Trippi Show; with Markos Moulitsas and Kerry Eleveld on The Brief; and with David Rothkopf on his Deep State Radio program. 

Newly updated on Thursday, Sept 22nd -  The 538 generic has Dems up 1.4 points, a 4.1 point shift since June. In the 538 "lite" model Dems have a 62% chance of keeping the Senate and a 38% chance of keeping the House. President Biden has jumped almost 9 pts in 538's approval tracker over the past few weeks, from 38.2-56.9 (-18.7) to 43.3-52.6 (-9.3). That's a lot. 

In a Fox News interview on Wednesday, Aug 3rd Mitch McConnell acknowledged the new, bluer reality of the election, and even raised the possibility of Dems keeping the Senate this year: " I think it’s going to be very tight.....And I think when this Senate race smoke clears, we’re likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with us up slightly or the Democrats up slightly."  McConnell's repeated acknowledgements that the Senate may stay Democratic has led to Sean Hannity and Donald Trump calling on him to step down as Senate GOP leader. 

Let's look at some recent GOP polls which might be leading him to believe this election is slipping away from the GOP.  These four polls, all from influential and established GOP institutions, have Dems up an average of 4.5 points in the generic:

       Americans for Prosperity   42-39 (+3)

       Chamber of Commerce     46-41 (+5)

        Echelon Insights               49-44 (+5)

        Winning The Issues          47-41 (+6)

Additionally, there were six more GOP-aligned polls which initially had shown the GOP maintaining meaningful leads in the generic.  All six of these polls have found substantial movement to the Dems in recent months:

        Fox News                              39-46 to 44-41 - 10 pt shift to Dems

        American Greatness             42-50 to 45-44 - 9 pt shift 

        Rasmussen                           39-49 to 42-43 - 9 pt shift  

        WSJ                                      41-46 to 47-44 - 8 pt shift

        Cygnal                                   45-49 to 47-47 - 4 pt shift  

       Senate Opportunity Fund       42-47 to 44-46 - 3 pt shift  

A Fox News poll released Sept 14th finds: " Overall, if the Congressional election were today, 44% would back the Democratic candidate and 41% the Republican. The Democrats’ 3-point edge is within the survey’s margin of sampling error – and Fox News modeling suggests it translates into a GOP gain of about one House seat."  And thus Democrats keep the House.  In Fox News polling.  It should be noted that the 4 independent media polls out in recent days found gains for Democrats since their last poll of 3 points (Fox), 2 points (NBC), 1 point (Economist, NYT). 

A recent poll for the John Locke Institute in North Carolina finds many of the same trends.  This data is from its pre-Roe June poll and one recently released:

         State House Generic     39-51 (R+12) to 43-48 (R+5)

         Congressional Generic  41-52 (R+11) to 44-47 (R+3)

         Beasley-Budd Senate    40-45 (R+5) to 42-42 (Even)

         Biden Approval               33-60 (-27) to 39-56 (-17)

This data is from their polls - Dems with big generic leads and/or big movement towards Democrats. This is what they are seeing, and this is why McConnell and others are now admitting we are in an entirely new election much more favorable to Democrats. 

As the new Fox polling suggests Dems will need a 2-3 point national win to keep the House.  G. Elliott Morris of the The Economist also believes Dems are now at a level of support where they can keep the House.  Data suggests the electorate itself is becoming Democratic as we get closer to election day.  Tom Bonier of TargetSmart has been documenting a huge surge of women registering and requesting early mail ballots post-Roe, and a new NBC News poll shows the GOP advantage on vote enthusiasm dropping from 17 pts in the spring to just 2 pts now.  It is our belief that these trends will continue to break in Democrats’ favor over the next few months.  A recent CBS/You Gov poll had this bit of omnious data for Republicans - when asked about whether a party's agenda was extreme or reasonable, independent voters said Dems were 29-33 (-4) reasonable/extreme, Rs 25-49 (-24). 

All this data suggests that the Democrats have a bit of wind at their back and a real shot at keeping both chambers this fall.  Senate polling remains very strong for Democrats, as our incumbents in AZ, GA, NH and NV continue to lead in most pubic polls.  In the 5 GOP held seats Fetterman appears to have a comfortable lead, things are now tied in NC, OH and WI and Rubio maintains a 3-4 lead in Florida.  Georgia's poll has been all over the place in recent days, though the highest quality, largest sample poll, Marist, had Warnock up 47-42. 

In retrospect, the big Dem overperformance in the NE House special on June 28th appears to have been a harbinger that a new, bluer election was at hand, and should not have been treated as some weird outlier.  It was after all actual voters voting, not a poll. That big Dem overperformance has now been replicated in Kansas, the MN-1 House special, NY-19 and NY-23 and Alaska. Six key elections with actual voters, six overperformances by anti-extremist electorates, three in very red states and two more in red districts.  In the 5 House specials Dems have outperformed their 2020 results by an average of 7 points (and it was much more in Kansas):

NE-01 - Trump +15 in 2020 R+5 in 2022

MN-01 - Trump +10 to R+4

NY-19 - Biden +1.5 to D+2.2 (was +5 over their internals)

NY-23 - Trump +11 to R+6

Alaska - Trump +10 to D+3

To put a bit of emphasis on this – in all of these races Dems significanly outperformed the public polling and their 2020 numbers.  In Pat Ryan’s victory in NY-19 he outperformed his internal polls by 5 points.  This means there is a possibility that current polling is actually underestimating the current standing of Democrats by 3-5 points.  The “hidden vote” in 2022 may turn out to be a Democratic not a Republican one. 

The new climate and health care reconciliation bill (IRA) has been a big boost to Democrats.  It has made our closing argument stronger; lifted Joe Biden's approval rating; brought the party together for the home stretch; and gave us a powerful tool to reach young voters who are overwhelming Democratic but also are the most likely not to vote this year.  It is as Joe Biden likes to say "a big fucking deal."  The student loan relief package should also help as new Navigator polling suggests it is broadly popular.

Republicans, on the other hand, are closing this election with a truly ugly mix of extremism, criminality and acts of national betrayal which once again feel like treason.  There are signs that the GOP is struggling to put its coalition together this year, is splintering and cracking up. For we see broad underperformance in polls and significant defections by prominent Republicans across the country.  It's not just national Republicans like Liz Cheney, Joe Scarborough, Matthew Dowd, Nicolle Wallace, Michael Steele and Bill Kristol working against Republicans, you can now find local GOP leaders in CO, MD, MI, OH, PA, TX raising opposition to the direction Rs are heading.  This story of 150 leading Rs in Michigan backing Gov. Whitmer is a very good example of this growing trend.

Our current 2022 election toplines: 

  • The election has moved 4-5 points towards Democrats in recent months. The anti-MAGA majority has been awakened. Biden's approval is up 9 points. 
  • Dems have significantly overperformed expectations in 5 House specials and in Kansas, and there's been a surge of women registering, voting, requesting mail ballots. Dem coalition appears energized.
  • The Senate is leaning Dem, House is up for grabs
  • Lots of signs of GOP underperformance now, and the landscape is likely to get worse for GOP in coming weeks
  • Democratic candidates have a huge cash advantage heading into the home stretch

In May of 2021 NDN published a memo, Learning To Talk About Democracy, Patriotism and The GOP's Radicalization, that argued that Democrats needed to put the GOP's radicalization and embrace of MAGA at the very center of our politics.  In November we published a followup memo, Memo: 3 Reasons Why 2022 Won’t Be 2010, that posited the GOP's escalating embrace of MAGA would make it likely that 2022 would not be a traditional midterm and that Democrats could end up overperforming expectations. In May we predicted that the combination of a return of mass shootings, the ending of Roe, and the fallout from the Jan 6th Committee would reawaken the anti-MAGA majority and make this election much closer than many thought possible.  In mid-June, we released an election analysis which argued we were already looking at a competitive not a wave election - that there were signs of what we call the MAGA hangover (GOP underperformance) even before Roe ended.  Then Roe ended, and NDN has been at the national forefront of charting what is now clearly a new, bluer election.    

To dive even deeper into our 2022 election analysis check out our 25 minute data-filled presentation, “A New, Bluer Election.”  Our recent conversation with Tom Bonier about the surge of women registering, voting and requesting early mail ballots is very much worth your time.  We have also rolled out an updated version of "With Democrats Things Get Better," our in-depth look at how the two US parties have fared over the past 30 years. 

In recent weeks our election analysis has been cited in articles by John Harwood on the CNN site, Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, Peter Nicholas on the NBC News site, Susan Milligan in US News, Nicholas Riccardi in the AP, Eleanor Clift in The Daily Beast, John Skolnick in Salon, AB Stoddard in The Bulwark, Peter Weber in The Week, Dick Polman in his nationally syndicated column, Jim Puzzanghera in the Boston Globe, Kiran Stacey in the Financial Times, Caroline Vakil in The Hill and Byron York in The Washington Examiner

front page Washington Post story on the 2022 election by Michael Scherer, Coby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey features this quote from Simon: “The question is, are there forces in the election more powerful than the disappointment in Biden?” asked Simon Rosenberg, a Democratic strategist. “The answer is yes, and that is opposition and fear for MAGA, which is the thing that has driven the last two elections.” Ron Brownstein gives our big argument serious consideration in a comprehensive CNN analysis.  Greg Sargent devotes a whole column to our analysis, "Meet the Lonely Democrat Who Thinks His Party Can Win."  This one is a particularly good read. 

Kristian Ramos has a new take in Salon that includes our work, and comes down where we come down - time for Dems to go on offense now.  I did a long sit down with Jonathan Alter for his Old Goats substack - was a deep and rich conversation about this election and the state of our politics today.  Check it out.  Nicole Narea does a great treatment of our concept of "The MAGA hangover" in a new Vox piece and the FT's Courtney Weaver cites us on the struggles of GOP candidates across the country.  Politico's Max Tani and Alex Thompson do a deep dive on our analysis in a fun new piece, "Meet The Most Optimistic Dem Online."  Susan Glasser gives our 2022 election take serious consideration in a new New Yorker essay, "Is There A Serious Case for A Non-Awful Election for Democrats This Fall?"  Jonathan Weisman features some of our insights in a New York Times article about Dem chances for taking the House.  EJ Dionne quotes us in a new Washington Post essay about Democratic optimism post the NY House specials.  Blake Hounshell features our analysis in a New York Times article, "Republicans in Disarray."

I've also hit the pod and radio circuit, discussing of our electoral thesis with Matt Lewis on his podcast, Ian Masters for his radio show/podcast, a new episode of That Trippi Show our good friend Joe Trippi, David Catanese's Too Close to CallHotMics with Maria Cardona and Alice Stewart and the Start Me Up pod with Kimberley Johnson.  On Thursday, August 4th I joined Mehdi Hasan's show on Peacock for a spirited discussion of the 2022 elections. 

The week of August 29th I returned to Matt Lewis' podcast for an episode he called "How Democrats Got Their Groove Back," and also had a long and really excellent discussion with former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, "How and Why the Democrats Can Hold The House This November."  Do watch, listen.  As an architect of the GOP's big midterm win in 2010 it is very interesting to hear him explain why he thinks this year is nothing like that red wave year.   In recent days I made a return to Joe Trippi's show, joined Markos Moulitsas and Kerry Eleveld on The Brief and had a terrific and comprehensive conversation with David Rothkopf on his Deep State Radio podcast. 

And we appreciate this shoutout from DNC Chair Jaime Harrison!

That we are in a new election now has begun to take hold in other influential national commentary. 538's Nate Silver, The NYTimes' Nate Cohn and The Cook Report have acknowledged there is a chance now this new, bluer landscape could end up keeping the House and Senate in Democratic hands.  A Sunday, August 28th Washington Post headline read: "Democrats see the once unthinkable: A narrow path to keeping the House."  Even those analysts who have Rs flipping the House, have it now by just a few seats - a disastrous outcome which will empower the many extremists in their ranks. 

As I discuss in the Greg Sargent column, another big piece of the strategic context for the 2022 election – the economy and inflation – has started to go through a profound and potentially electorally significant change.  Gas prices have dropped over a dollar in the last two months.   This means that the huge psychological and economic effects of rising prices will certainly ease in the coming months.  It gives Democrats an opening to get louder and broaden out the economic conversation to include their achievements – very strong recovery, big job gains, record new businesses formed, historically low uninsured/unemployment rates, infrastructure investments, historic climate bill, more affordable and better health care, etc.  And it will create more room for Democratic candidates to make the indictment of their opponents as too extreme, too MAGA.  Having inflation drop all the way down to zero in July and real wages turning positive again certainly helps!  This new essay by noted economist Rob Shapiro in the Washington Monthly does a good job at crunching the numbers and showing that most Americans are indeed better off today. 

As we’ve been saying opposition to MAGA has been the driving force of the last two elections (6.5 pt Dem wins in 2018/2020, Dems win the House, Senate, Presidency) and with mass shootings, the end of Roe, fanatical abortion restrictions, a radicalized Supreme Court, extremist/terrible candidates, an unfolding criminal conspiracy involving dozens of top Republican officials to overturn an election it is now likely to be the most powerful force in this election as well.  When the Republicans chose to run towards a politics the country had just rejected in record numbers twice, the GOP made the political physics of this election different from a traditional midterm.  It’s our view that as of today the Senate is likely to stay in Democratic hands; a pickup of a 1-2-3 Senate seats by Dems not impossible; and Democrats are likely to outperform expectations in the House now.  Will it be enough for Democrats to keep the House? It's pretty clear that Dems have a shot now, particularly with the fundraising advantages our candidates hold in key incumbent Senate and House races. 

Some new data from Politico/Morning Consult helps shine a bit more light on this dynamic. For the GOP to have a good midterm either many Dems will have to stay home or switch to the GOP.  Staying home is far less likely now.  This means the GOP needs to give these voters a reason to come to them.  And what do voters see when they look at the two parties in Congress:

Favorability Rating:

Dems in Congress 41-52 (-11) 

Rs in Congress 35-58 (-23)

Schumer    28%  McConnell   20%

Pelosi         33%  McCarthy    21%

And in this Morning Consult analysis they find Dem approval on a wide set of issues improving, with Dems now leading the GOP by 6 points, 45-39.  In the report Morning Consult writes: "the improvements represent good news for those working to hold control of the House and Senate, showing that at least some voters may be able to shake off their dim views of President Joe Biden when thinking about their votes in November."  The ugliness of MAGA, and how hard it would be for voters to embrace a politics they rejected twice, has been overly discounted by analysts this cycle. The GOP is a big unpopular and extremist mess and folks just don't want to go there. And this was before the relevations about Trump's stealing of America's secrets.  

A few more 2022 notes:

Dem candidates with big cash advantage in the home stretch - 2nd quarter fundraising data finds Democratic candidates with huge cash advantages over Republicans in Congressional races. Notably Dem House incumbents in competitive races have an 8:1 advantage over their opponents.  GOP candidate continue to struggle to raise money - a bit of a shocking development for a party that suppossedly had all the mo'. 

Hard to find a Republican at or above 50 - As I wrote in an earlier version of this analysis, it's just hard to find a public poll with a Republican in a potentially competitive race in a strong position.  As we saw in our May Hispanic polling, what you see almost everywhere you look - GA, IA, MI, NE, OH, PA, TX, WI - is GOP underperformance.  I call this the MAGA hangover.  Since Trump won the nomination in 2016 Republicans have not gotten higher than 47% of the national vote, and current data suggests that they are struggling to break above that this time too. A strong and durable anti-MAGA majority really may have emerged in America, one which could keep the Rs from power - as long as they remain MAGA - for years to come.  

In recent polling Abbott (TX), Rubio (FL), Gov. Reynolds and Grassley (IA) and Gov Stitt (OK) are all under 50, and Budd (NC), Johnson (WI), Oz (PA) and Vance (OH) are closer to 40 than 50 in GOP held Senate seats.  Even GA's incumbent Governor Kemp is now polling regularly under under 50. Democrats, on the other hand, are hitting 50 and above across the country in post Roe polling.  You can find Dems at 49/50 and above in the following races - Barnes (WI), Cortez Masto (NV), Fetterman (PA), Healy (MA), Hobbs (AZ), Hochul (NY), Kelly (AZ), Murray (WA), Pritzker (IL), Shapiro (PA), Sisolak (NV), Walz (MN) and Whitmer (MI).  If this was such a good GOP year why aren't we seeing better GOP numbers? Why are their candidates struggling to raise money?

We are finally starting to get some district specific House polling, and here too we find chronic GOP underperformance.  Consider these 7 GOP held seats from 538 polling data - everyone under 50, 2 candidates under 40, only two even leading.  All sorts of signs of GOP struggle, underperformance here:

        PA-10 Daniels (D) 44 Perry (R/INC) 41

        NE-2 Vargas (D) 46 Bacon (R/INC) 47

        CA-22 Salas (D) 43 Valadao (R/INC) 35

        TX-34 Gonzalez (D) 47 Flores (R/INC) 43 (yes that Rep. Flores)

        FL-27 Taddeo (D) 34 Salazar (R/INC) 39

        IA-3 Mathis (D) 44 Hinson (R/INC) 44

        NM-2 Vasquez (D) 45 Herrell (R/INC) 44

Want to put some emphasis on this point - there are currently no major races where Republicans are overperforming or in comfortable positions.  While on the Democratic side there are many competitive races where we are overperforming or in comfortable positions.  Any fair look at publicly available polling data of actual candidates this cycle will not find that there was ever any evidence of a red wave.  A lot of folks jumped the gun, and made assessments outside of what the data was telling us. 

4 Polls Have Dems Improving Their 2020 Numbers with Hispanics - In a new thread NDN lays out why we are skeptical of the Hispanics moving to the GOP narrative.  In this thread we review large sample size Hispanic polls taken this spring which show movement from 2020 towards the Democrats, not towards Republicans, in AZ, NV, PA and TX.  Yes, even Texas. 

Guns/Gay Marriage - The recent Congressional GOP embrace of gun safety and gay marriage is a sign that Republicans are not comfortable with where they are in the 2022 election, and had to make huge concessions to Democrats on issues that matter to them.  These are signs of weakness, not strength for the GOP. 

- Simon

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better (7/15/22)

To help celebrate and promote Joe Biden's far-sighted economic agenda and important accomplishments, NDN has rebooted its signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, and will be showing it once or twice or a month throughout 2022.

With Dems is updated with every showing, so it is always new and fresh. We will be annoucing our fall dates soon, but in the meantime you can watch our latest presentation recorded on Friday, July 15th. 

To learn more about the big arguments in With Dems start with our recently published analysis The Biden Boom and 43m Jobs 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!

You can find even more background below.  Thanks for your interest, and we hope to catch you at one of our upcoming presentations!

Background on With Dems

The impetus for With Dems comes from the big argument Donald Trump started making in his 2016 campaign - that this new age of globalization ushered in after the end of the Cold War had weakened the United States, leading to his infamous phrase "American carnage."

At NDN we always found that argument misguided and wrong. When Trump came to office the US had a very low unemployment rate, record high stock market, declining deficits and rapidly growing incomes for American workers. The uninsured rate was the lowest of the modern era, crime rates were half of what they'd been, and the flow of undocumented immigrants to the border was a fraction of what it was in the Bush and Clinton years.  The world was largely at peace, a great deal of the world was modernizing and growing, and a global effort to address climate change was picking up steam.  While things weren't perfect, what President Trump inherited when he came to office were some of the best overall geopolitical, societal and economic conditions America had seen in decades.  It is something Simon discusses at length in this Medium essay.

So over the past few years we've been talking about just how wrong former President Trump was about this great country and its achievements.  It has driven a great deal of our research and advocacy and the creation of an earlier version of With Democrats Things Get Better called Patriotism and Optimism.  In the spring of 2020 we retooled Patriotism and Optimism into our new presentation, With Dems, which is a data filled look at America during this age of globalization, and how each party has navigated its challenges while in the White House. 

Central to this presentation is the notion that the Democratic and Republican parties aren't mirror images of one another, but rather that they have followed separate, organic pathways in a big, diverse country like the US. The result of this differing evolution is that the Democrats have been a remarkably successful governing party since 1989, while the Republicans have presided over three straight recessions, historic foreign policy failures and a deeply dangerous embrace of illiberalism.  

One thing we discuss in With Democrats is how Americans who have grown up in this post-1989 era - those under 45 - understand this divergence, and view the parties very differently as a result. In 2018, voters under 45 voted for Democrats by a margin of 25 points, whereas in the seven elections from 1992 to 2004, voters under 45 (who had grown up in a fundamentally different political era) voted for Democrats by an average margin of just 0.3 points. 

We hope you enjoy this new project and do note that one of our existing programmatic areas, Countering Illiberalism's Rise, has some overlap with the work you will find here.  We are pleased that CNN Commentator Maria Cardona featured our work in her recent column in The Hill, and it got a wonderful rave from Mike Tomasky in a new Daily Beast column, writing  "It is fascinating. You need to know about it. The entire country needs to know about it." 

Simon recently published an essay, "Build Back Better/Reconstruir Mejor - Joe Biden's Historic Opportunity" in the Mexican-based intellectual journal Letras Libres.  It addresses many of the themes we explore in With Dems and offers some thoughts on the big challenges ahead for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. A passage: "A President Biden would have an extraordinary opportunity to do what he calls “build back better” here in America, and around the world.  It would be wise for Biden to view this moment as the beginning of a new era, a generational long project to reset America and the world after a collective trauma.  Perhaps the most analogous moment in our history would be the years after World War II in which new institutions were established around a new vision for humankind."

We hope you enjoy With Dems, and if you do, please invite others to come experience it too. It is free and open to the public – all are welcome. 

Background Readings

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). 

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. 

Americans Under 45 Are Breaking Hard Toward The Democrats - And For Good Reason - Simon Rosenberg and Chris Taylor, NDN, 8/2/19 - Among the most significant political developments of the Trump era is the dramatic shift of under 45 year old voters towards the Democrats. From 2000 to 2016 D margin w/under 45s was 6 points. In 2018 it was 25. 

In New Global Age, Dems Have Produced Prosperity, the GOP Decline - Chris Taylor, Medium, 1/29/19.  Since 1989, Democrats have overseen strong and inclusive economic growth when in the White House, while the Republican Presidents have repeatedly seen economic under-performance and even recession and decline. 

The Case for Optimism: Rejecting Trump's Poisonous Pessimism, Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 6/2/17. In an essay that originally was published on Medium, 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. 

Chin Up, Democrats, Simon Rosenberg, US News and World Report, 1/20/17. In his column, Simon argues that Democrats should have pride in their historic accomplishments and optimism about the future of their politics. This one is very relevant to the presentation itself. 

A Center-Left Agenda for the Trump Era - Simon Rosenberg, US News and World Report, 12/9/16.  In the early days after Trump's election, Simon layed out a possible agenda for the Democrats centering on prosperity, security, shoring up the American led liberal order and ambitious efforts to reform our political system. 

Older, Related Work

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. 

TIME Features NDN Economic Analysis, Chart, Labels It "Most Important Chart in American Politics" Feb 5, 2013 - Michael Scherer of Time reports on the influence Dr. Rob Shapiro's analysis has had on shaping recent thinking about how the American economy is changing.

"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.

Crafting an American Response to the Rise of the Rest, January 21, 2010, Cross posted on NDN.org and Salon.com.  Simon argues that the second generation Obama narrative must be a strategic response to the most significant transformation taking place in the world today, the rise of new global economic powers, or what Fareed Zakaria has called the “rise of the rest.”

The 50 Year Strategy, November/December 2007, Mother Jones. Simon and Peter Leyden offer a landmark vision for how progressives can win and prosper in the decades to come.

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