NDN Blog

NDN's Greatest Hits

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

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.

Tapping the Resources of America’s Community Colleges: 7/26/07: By Robert J. Shapiro
Young Americans are increasingly adept at working with computers, but many American workers still lack those skills. Here, we propose a direct new approach to giving U.S. workers the opportunity to develop those skills.

The New Landscape of Globalization 6/20/07: By Robert J. Shapiro We can address the challenges of the 21st century economy without sacrificing the benefits of globalization and technological advance, principally by expanding public investments in critical areas and reforming health care and energy policies.

A Laptop in Every Backpack 5/1/07: By Simon Rosenberg and Alec Ross.  We believe that America needs to put a laptop in every backpack of every child. We need to commit to a date and grade certain: we suggest 2010 for every sixth grader.

America Not Winning, Bernie Stumbles and Biden Leads - Notes on 2020

The images that we see today of the Senate Impeachment trial and the President at Davos while in many ways distant from one another speak to the same story – the savaging of America and its democracy by the President and his party.  The President arrives in Davos a reviled global leader, unfaithful, unsteady, and increasingly seen as dangerous.  As conservative columnist Max Boot wrote last night: “The number of people abroad who express confidence in the US president fell from 70% in 2013 to 28% in 2018 while the number who see the U.S. as a threat climbed from 25% to 45%. More Germans now view Trump as a danger than Kim, Putin, Xi, and Khamenei combined.”

Here at home, the President’s illiberal disdain for our democracy and its inherent limits and virtues will be on full display over the next few weeks. While many had anticipated that Senator McConnell would “rig” the trial for the President, few anticipated the extraordinary lengths he has chosen to go and how closely he has aligned the once august US Senate with the President’s historic venality. This type of contempt for democratic norms and institutions is part of a broader embrace by the Republican Party of what we call "Moscow Rules" in our politics. Our hope is that GOP Senators and the presiding Judge improve the absurd package McConnell has proposed, and allow a fair hearing of what sure appears to be extensive crimes committed by the President and many who work for him. 

Over the past few weeks we’ve argued that it was going to be far harder for McConnell to get the Senate to acquittal than conventional wisdom holds, and his actions in the last 24 hours actions are not those of a leader confident of winning.  A just released CNN poll shows that Mitch is right to be worried, as it confirms that he and the President are losing the big arguments that they need to win this Impeachment fight - 69% of Americans want to hear from new witnesses; 58% believe that he abused his power; 57% believe that he obstructed Congress; by 51%-45% Americans want the Senate to remove him; his job approval is 43% approve, 53% disapprove; Americans disapprove of the GOP's handling of the Senate trial by 54%-39%; and only 37% approve of Trump’s handling of the Senate trial.  These are shockingly poor numbers on issues of such importance to the President (ones consistent with the last few weeks of polling) and suggest that whatever the outcome of the trial, the President has become a spent force in the life of our country. A majority of Americans are ready to see him go. 

As for the Democrats, we share 538’s assessment that Joe Biden has the best chance of winning the nomination.  The last two polls taken in Iowa have him ahead, and 538 has him leading in all four early states right now. Bernie Sanders’ attacks on Biden and Warren have felt desperate, were poorly executed, and probably have done him more harm than good. It is a reminder that as someone who isn’t now and has never been a Democrat, Bernie has never shied from attacking Democrats and the Democratic Party itself. It remains a bit shocking that a career politician who has spent his career outside the Democratic Party believes he could ever effectively lead it. 

Parnas, Impeachment and McConnell's Weak Hand

This essay was originally published on Medium on Thursday, Jan 16. 

In the coming days, Senator McConnell is going to discover there are three reasons getting his colleagues to acquittal will be far harder than he and the President hoped:

The President is clearly guilty, and the evidence is overwhelming — A reminder that every witness who has been called works/worked for the President, including Lev Parnas; the House investigation began only after two Trump appointees, the General Counsel of the CIA and the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, raised alarms about what the President had done, labeling it a matter of “urgent concern;” and the current SDNY/FBI investigation which arrested Lev Parnas was launched by another Trump appointee, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

 

The scandal was discovered by people who work for the President; the investigations were originated by people who work for the President; every witness has been someone who works/worked for the President. All the House has done is let these people talk and tell their story — and a damning story of lawlessness and criminality it is, without peer or precedent in our history. In that regard there is no such thing as Democratic or Republican witnesses — there are only witnesses. And remarkably the President has yet to produce a single witness capable of rebutting the testimony of the cascade of Administration officials who have already testified. They may have people who can talk about things unrelated to the scandal but it would be wrong to call them witnesses to the crimes the President has been charged with.

Trump and “innocence” can’t be used in the same sentence — It remains difficult for us to understand what explanation a Senator will be able to use if they vote to acquit…..was the President innocent of the charges? Is it okay for a President to use the awesome power of the Presidency to threaten and shake down a foreign leader for his own political advantage? Did the Senator not believe the eyewitnesses including Ambassador Sondland who said it was a quid pro quo? Why did the President block documents and witnesses — and refuse to testify himself, as Bill Clinton did — if he was innocent? How could this man, already an unindicted co-conspirator in 2016 felony level election law violations, be considered “innocent” when 3 of his top aides — Flynn, Gates and Stone — will be joining Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen in being sentenced to jail; two more — Parnas and Fruman — were arrested; and there are at least two federal investigations looking into Rudy Guiliani?

As long time political players, it is really really hard to understand how one gets to “innocence” when talking about Donald Trump and what happened here; and we are sure that all the GOP Senators have taken note of how ineffective the President has been in recent weeks of convincing the American people about Impeachment and his recent skirmish with Iran, something we review in this new analysis.

The SDNY/FBI Parnas Investigation will make it impossible for McConnell to make the Ukraine scandal disappear — Last fall SDNY/FBI launched a new formal investigation into Trump and Ukraine that, like the President’s activities in 2016, has once again begun arresting his current set of his aides. The man at the center of this investigation, Lev Parnas, let it be known last night that he believes that not only was Trump directing the illegal shakedown of Zelensky, but Rep. Nunes, Pence, Pompeo, Barr, Rudy, and other top White House officials were involved in the illegal conspiracy too. What this means is that this SDNY/FBI investigation has become a federal investigation into the President and most of his senior team, including the Vice President; and even if acquitted, the President will be running for re-election while under another federal investigation which could at any moment begin arresting or indicting potentially dozens of people involved in these illegal activities including some of the most important leaders of the Republican Party.

Imagine voting for acquittal and then see Rudy, Mulvaney, Nunes, or Pompeo indicted? How do you explain that to your voters?

Impeachment, Biden Leads, McConnell's Carnage - Jan 13th Notes

Notes On 2020 – Iran/Iraq, Impeachment, State of the Union/Budget, IA/NH/NV/SC, Booker dropping out, many Democratic debates - our system is about to get overloaded and polling, which has been pretty stable in 2019, could get awfully bouncy and volatile in the days ahead.  But let’s look at what we know now. 

Biden remains in the strongest shape of any Democrat and given the increased sparing in recent days we should expect a feisty debate tomorrow night.  One note on the current “electability” discussion – the Justice Democrats, the group aligned with AOC and thus loosely with Sanders, only won 7 of 79 of its 2018 races and only 4 of 76 if you remove three safe incumbents.  They didn’t win in a single Trump district – only safe Democratic ones. 

Trump - we know he is an historically unpopular President, and was been beaten badly in the three elections from 2017 to 2019.  But what has been very suprising to us in the past weeks is the President's struggle to persuade the American people about the two big new issues he faces - Impeachment and Iran.  Look at the numbers which follow - lots of 20s and 30s, not so many 40s and no 50s. 

Highlights from recent polling on the Iran conflict:

      Approve of Trump’s handling 43/56

      Less/More Safe 52/22

      Trump's behavior w/Iran reckless 52/34

      Divert from Impeachment 47/39

      Congress should limit Trump's war powers 55/33

Impeachment polls taken at the end of 2019 tell a similar story (Politico/Morning Consult and Fox News):

      Approve Convict and Remove/Don't Approve 52/42 (P/MC)

      Witnesses/No Witnesses 54/27 (P/MC)

      More Likely to Vote for Member Who Vote to Impeach/Less Likey 43/34 (P/MC)

      Abused His Power?  Yes/No 53/38 (Fox)

      Obstructed Congress? Yes/No 48/34 (Fox)

      Committed Bribery Yes/No 45/37 (Fox)

      Wrong to Ask Foreign Leader to Investigate Rival Yes/No 60/24 (Fox)

      Democrats Running Inquiry Fairly? Yes/No 45/42 (Fox)

All of this suggests the President is a bit of a spent force now.  Failure to convince the public about these two issues, or even get close to parity, has to be extraordinarily worrisome to those running the 2020 elections for the GOP.  The public has grown weary of him, and a majority are ready for him to go. 

Impeachment - What is perhaps most shocking about the last few weeks is that the President is either so desperate or out of control that in the Iran conflict he did exactly what the House has Impeached him for – he appears to have once again broken US laws/abused his power in the conduct of US foreign policy; and is once again obstructing reasonable oversight into what took place.  Like the Ukraine affair, it is far easier to understand how the President’s recent actions in the Middle East have benefited Russia’s ambitions than our own, which is the principal reason NDN has called on the House to conduct a broad review of the President’s national security decisions over the past year. 

Given the totality of what has happened – serial lawbreaking by the President, his top aides going to jail and a new investigation and more arrests, years of clearly criminal obstruction, and behavior more befitting of a King than a President – it is just outrageous how Mitch McConnell is approaching the impending “trial.” How can one have a trial without witnesses? There is and has never been such a thing.  How can the Senate actively enable and encourage the suppression of testimony and witnesses given months of complaints from the GOP about reliance on hearsay? The whole thing is beyond absurd and beneath this great country.  Mitch McConnell is in the process of degrading one of the most important tools for advancing democracy mankind has ever created, the US Senate. There is no win here for McConnell, no claims of “innocent” for our corrupt and venal President; there is disgrace, dishonor, and what will be a far harder election this Fall than any of them currently understand.  

Simon's Notes On 2020

Each week, Simon publishes his thoughts on the state of the Democratic presidential campaigns, general election polling and new developments, and recent actions by the Trump administration on issues of both foreign and domestic policy. Below you can find an up-to-date archive of these notes over the past several months.

You can also receive these analyses through our weekly newsletter, NDN News. To get it in your inbox each Monday, visit here - and thanks for being part of our extended family. 

America Not Winning, Bernie Stumbles And Biden Leads - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/21/20 - The Senate Impeachment trial begins with McConnell and Trump continuing to savage our democracy and the cause of democracy and liberty everywhere in the world.  With Iowa looming, Biden leads and Bernie stumbles. 

Impeachment, Biden Leads, McConnell's Carnage - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/13/20 - In his weekly take on the 2020 election, Simon takes a deep dive into recent polling on Impeachment and the President's handling of Iran, and challenges Mitch McConnell to honor our Senate and democracy by convening a fair trial. 

Game Time For Democrats, Bidens Leads - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/7/20 - As we head into a very intense period on the Democratic side, former VP Joe Biden enters this stretch in the best shape of all the Democratic candidates, while the President’s standing with the public remains historically low for a President at this point in their first term.

McConnell's Weak Hand, Trump Russia Returns - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 12/23/19 - McConnell’s corrupt threat to rig the Senate trial has been made far more challenging by Trump’s unceasing criminality, exemplified by the expanding SDNY criminal investigation into the Ukraine scandal which has already started arresting close Trump aides.

Trump Is Losing The Argument On Impeachment - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 12/16/19 - Simon makes the case that all there is for Trump and Republicans is bad news.  The President is historically unpopular and got beat badly in elections in 2018 and 2019. McConnell’s promise to rig the Senate trial is a sign of panic and weakness, not confidence and strength.

Syria Fiasco Makes The Case For Removing Trump Far Stronger - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 10/15/19 - Trump’s decision to surrender Syria to Russia and Turkey has made the case for his removal far stronger. For we now have clear evidence of the threat posed by leaving him in office – Russia strengthened, ISIS revived, and America humiliated.

Our Mad King - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 10/7/19 - The President’s recklessness on his Syria withdrawal, and his making big calls which do not clearly advance the interests of the United States, is why his removal from office is an urgent national priority now.

Countering Illiberalism's Rise

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

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

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

Our Mad King and Impeachment

NDN has written extensively on the House's impeachment inquiry against the President, the President's lawlessness in the Ukraine affair, public opinion and polling surrounding impeachment, and the coming Senate impeachment trial. Below you can find links to all of our work on this important subject. 

Parnas, Trump, And McConnell's Very Weak Hand - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/16/20 - McConnell is going to discover that getting his colleagues to acquittal will be far harder than he had hoped because the President is clearly guilty, the evidence is overwhelming, and the SDNY investigation of Parnas and Giuliani is only just beginning.

Impeachment, Biden Leads, McConnell's Carnage - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/13/20 - In his weekly take on the 2020 election, Simon takes a deep dive into recent polling on Impeachment and the President's handling of Iran, and challenges Mitch McConnell to honor our Senate and democracy by convening a fair trial. 

Iran, Our Mad King, And Impeachment - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/6/20 - The President's wild and reckless behavior these past few weeks has strenghtened the case for his removal, and is making it far harder for any Senator to claim this desperate man is "innocent" and fit to serve. 

Acquitting Trump Will Be Harder For The Senate Than It Appears - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 12/21/19 - McConnell's hand is far weaker than it appears, and a renewed focus on the unprecedented criminality of the President is going to make it impossible now for the Republicans to assert "innocence."

NDN Calls On The House To Conduct A Broad Security Review - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 12/21/19 - As the Senate takes up Impeachment, the House should launch a formal security review of the President's foreign policy, helping create a better understanding of the damage done to our standing in the world and our national security. 

The House Should Consider Breaking Impeachment Into Three Parallel Tracks - Simon Rosenberg, GEN, 12/1/19 - In a new essay, Simon makes the case that the Impeachment process should be broken into 3 parallel tracks: 1) the crimes 2) the co-conspirators 3) A security review. 

New Polls Show Impeachment Moving Into Dangerous Territory For Trump - Chris Taylor, NDN, 10/1/19 - The first round of polling since the beginning of the impeachment inquiry represents very dangerous territory for the President. Larger numbers of Americans want him impeached than not, and this is before the House of Representatives conducts new impeachment hearings.

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

Protecting Our Elections, Countering Disinformation

In the 2018 election cycle, NDN's Simon Rosenberg built and oversaw the countering disinformation operation at the DCCC - the first ever of its kind at a national party committee. 

Over the past year NDN has been at the forefront of the discussion about how best the US and other nations can protect their elections, domestic discourse and citizens, working to prevent "Moscow Rules" from becoming the norm here and in democracies throughout the world.  While some progress has been made, we an awful lot of work to do.

There is a lot of material below, but if you are interested in learning more about our thinking start with national security expert Richard Clarke's interview with Simon on his Future State podcast (episode 20).  It does a good job at covering most of the major issues we are wrestling with these days. 

Top Lines

Trump Needs To Re-Open The FEC Right Now - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 10/9/19 - On the same day that the Administration learned about the whistleblower complaint alleging felony level US election law violations by the President in the Ukraine scandal, the independent body overseeing US election law was shut down.  It must re-open. 

Re-imagining the Parties In An Age of Hacking, Disinformation - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 9/7/19 - New digital threats will require US political parties to start seeing themselves as front line actors in our national effort to protect our elections and discourse.  Some thoughts on how the parties can re-imagine themselves to meet these challenges head on. 

GOP Bringing “Moscow Rules” on Disinformation to American Politics - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 7/26/19 - A series of events over the past several months raises questions about whether using Russian style disinformation tactics has become a core part of the GOP’s electoral strategy in 2020.

Biden, Democratic State Parties Embrace Call to Forgo Illicit Campaign Tactics - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/18/19 - Vice President Biden and the Chairs of the State Democratic Parties have now advanced the idea of a pledge to forgo illicit campaign tactics.  Is another encouraging sign that American has begun to take the necessary steps to combat foreign manipulation of our democracy.

Three Things We Need To Do Now To Protect Our Elections In 2020 - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 4/10/19 - America’s leaders should prioritize three things to protect our elections in the run-up to 2020: require paper ballots and audits, protect candidates from hacking and disinformation, and enter a pact to forgo the use of illicit campaign tactics.

Protecting the 2020 Dem Primary from Disinformation, Bots and Hacking- Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 1/29/19-  Democrats must come together now to prevent what happened in 2016 from happening again this time.  NDN is calling for all 2020s to sign a pledge forgoing use of illicit campaign tactics in the Democratic Presidential Primary.

Trump Doesn't Take Russian Electoral Interference Seriously. This Is What Democrats Did To Oppose It In 2018 - Simon Rosenberg and Aaron Trujillo, NBC News, 12/18/18 - The U.S. and its politics are not powerless to stop the kind of foreign hacking and disinformation tactics we saw in 2016. In the 2018 midterms, the DCCC developed a series of tools and strategies for reducing the influence and impact of malicious actors. Far more can now be done to protect our democracy and our discourse — and doing so should be a very high priority for the new Congress in 2019.

Other Materials

ASDC Resolution on Protecting our Elections from Foreign Manipulation - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/19/19 - This is the resolution passed unanimously by the Association of Democratic State Chairs (ASDC) on June 15th in Santa Fe, New Mexico which addresses foreign manipulation of our democracy and elections.  

NDN Hails Progress Made Towards 2020 Pact on Disinfo, Hacking – Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 4/23/19 - This post is a roundup of all the recent developments in the establishment of a new pact or pledge to forgo the use of illicit campaign tactics in the 2020 elections.  It includes links to the pledge which many European political parties and Vice President Biden have signed on to, and recent statements from the DNC, State Parties, and the Gillibrand campaign. 

The Country Needs to Stop Downplaying The Enormity of the Russian Intervention in 2016 - Simon Rosenberg, Twitter Thead, 1/25/19.  In a widely shared thread Simon goes through what Russia did in 2016 and concludes that the campaign was far bigger and more impactful than conventional wisdom holds, and clearly delivered a very close election to Donald Trump. 

The RNC's Russia Problem - Simon Rosenberg, US News And World Report, 4/14/17 - The Republican National Committee has a particularly important role to play in future efforts to protect America's elections. For as we've learned over the past two years, the RNC was at the center of two of the most important components of the Russian campaign – the penetration of Trump's campaign by the Russian government, and the normalization and use of Russian disinformation.

Media Citations:

Our Next Election Is Dangerously Vulnerable, A Top Democrat Warns. Does Trump Care?- Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 6/25/19 - In a piece in which Greg Sargent links to NDN work on cybersecurity, he examines the question of whether Trump will warn Putin at the G20 against launching another attack on our political system. 

Simon In Richard Clarke's Future State Podcast On "The Future Of Hacking Democracy" - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/19/19 - Simon talks with Richard Clarke about what Russia did in 2016, new trends and threats we've seen in the past few years, and what steps we should be taking now to prevent foreign governments and domestic actors from manipulating our elections and discourse.

Will It Use Hacked Materials Again? Trump Campaign Will Not Say - Sean Sullivan and Michael Scherer, The Washington Post, 4/26/19 - Key passage: "Refusal to forgo both hacking and the use of hacking materials is a great start, but clear stances on use of fake social media accounts, fake websites and images, high-volume bots, troll farms, and other illicit tactics in common use today by Russia, Saudi Arabia, China and other authoritarian nations will also be necessary," said Simon Rosenberg, who was senior advisor to the House Democratic campaign arm in 2018 and helped run a program to search for online election interference. 

Simon Discusses How To Protect Our Elections On CNN's Situation Room - Simon Rosenberg, CNN, 4/24/19 - Simon appeared on CNN's Situation Room earlier this week to discuss how the Trump administration is actively hindering efforts to protect our elections in 2020, and what our political leaders must do now to prevent what happened in 2016 from happening again next year.

Trump, GOP Won't Act On Election Interference Warnings - A.B. Stoddard, Real Clear Politics, 2/25/19 - Key passage: “Trump’s denial the Russia attack ever took place,” [Simon Rosenberg] told RealClearPolitics, “has suppressed the normal immune response which would have kicked in to protect ourselves from future attacks.  Bills have been blocked, common-sense steps not taken, some important government capacities have even been unraveled. All of it has left us unprepared for what is coming this election cycle, and it is important that both parties in Congress come together in the days ahead around a few simple, achievable things which can make it less likely foreign governments can once again manipulate our elections for their advantage.”

Top Democrats Want 2020 Candidates To Sign Non-Aggression Pact - Natasha Korecki, Politico, 2/26/19 - Key passage: “If we know the campaigns aren’t doing it, it’s going to be much easier to find it and make it go away. If this becomes widespread, it will become truly impossible to root out what’s coming from foreign powers. There’s something bigger than all of us here, and that’s our democracy. Democrats should make a clear stand, understanding that if we don’t set clear norms and rules soon, we could see a proliferation of this illicit tactics that could do permanent and lasting harm to our democracy and other democracies throughout the world.”

Pelosi Just Challenged Trump's Corruption And Lies. Here's What Should Come Next - Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 2/22/19 - Key passage: Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, a leading advocate for this approach, argues to me that the 2020 Democrats should join in a pledge condemning all tactics of disinformation warfare, such as "fake accounts, trolls, hacking, and the use of hacked materials." He adds that this can be part of a broader project of making "the repair of our democracy central to the conversation they are going to have with the American people."

Simon Discusses Protecting The Democratic Primary From Disinfo And Hacking On MSNBC's Joy Reid - Simon Rosenberg, MSNBC, 2/2/19 - Simon appeared on Joy Reid’s MSNBC show last Saturday to discuss his ideas for how Democrats should be working to protect the 2020 Presidential primary from bots, disinformation and hacking.

Game Time For Democrats, Biden Leads

As we head into a very intense period on the Democratic side, former VP Joe Biden enters this stretch in the best shape of all the Democratic candidates.  He has a 10 pt lead nationally, is essentially tied in IA and NH, and has commanding leads in NV and SC.  He has started to rack up significant endorsements, and as we saw with Iowa freshman Rep. Abby Finkenauer campaigning by his side in Iowa this past weekend, he is using them well.  While things can and will change, the advantage right now appears to be with Biden.  Let’s review the upcoming schedule:

Jan 14 – Dem Debate in Iowa

Feb 3 – Iowa Caucus

Feb 7 – Dem Debate in NH

Feb 11 – NH Primary

Feb 19 – Dem Debate in NV

Feb 22 – NV Caucus

Feb 25 – Dem Debate in SC

Feb 29 – SC Primary

March 3 – AL, AR, CA, CO, MA, ME, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA

March 10 – ID, MI, MO, ND, WA

Whoa….yes, this is going to be an intense next two months, all with the backdrop of great volatility in the Middle East, an Impeachment trial, more Trump associates being sentenced to jail and on trial, and the roll out of the President’s budget and legislative agenda.  We offered our thoughts on Iran and Impeachment yesterday in this new analysis – the bottom line is that we think McConnell’s hand is much weaker than conventional wisdom holds right now, and all of this is far more likely to break against Trump than for him. 

Undergirding our belief that the President is in deep trouble politically is that his standing with the public remains historically low for a President at this point in their first term, particularly given how much money he and his allies have spent and how powerful his day to day noise machine remains. 538 has a good new piece out this morning showing just unpopular Trump is - his job approval remains below -10, landslide territory; he is underwater on Impeachment/removal; his standing in the 2020 battlegrounds is far weaker than conventional wisdom holds right now; the Congressional generic is plus 6-7 for the Democrats and the Senate has become a true toss up; and when Trump actually led his troops into battle in 2017, 2018, and 2019, Republicans ended up with near worst case electoral outcomes each time. 

A simple stat to consider – using 538’s tracker, the President’s job approval on election night 2018 when Rs lost the national vote by 8.6 points was -10.4.  Today it is -11.2.  Which means that the basic structure of the race, the bones, still remains about where it was in 2018, which was a wipeout, or 2019, which saw Rs lose KY and LA and the GA governor reject Trump’s choice to fill an empty US Senate seat.

Iran, Our Mad King, And Impeachment

This essay was first published on Medium this morning. 

Earlier this year, NDN advanced an argument that Congress was obligated to remove President Trump from office for a simple reason — his understanding of his role was far more akin to a king or dictator than a President in a democracy. We argued that Trump’s shredding of laws and norms required to make a democracy work was perhaps the greatest “high crime” of all — a betrayal of the idea of America itself with no analog in our history.

We also worried that the President’s horrific poll numbers, repeated poor electoral performances, and mounting legal problems would cause him to take extraordinary and desperate steps to remain in office — working once again with a foreign power to sully his domestic opponent, ill-considered wars, emergency decrees……

Well, my friends, we are here now. In the past few months, the President’s actions have been increasingly wild and dangerous — the illegal extortion of Ukraine, the about face in Venezuela, an escalating appeasement of Putin including the hi-jacking of the G7 summer meeting for Russia’s benefit, the abandonment of the intrepid Kurds and the gifting of Syria to Iran and Russia, the fanning of ever more deadly white supremacist and anti-Semitic violence, the degradation of the WTO, his failed trade war with China…..and now Iran. What may be the first overt assassination of a foreign government official by the US since WWII. The threatening of war crimes in Iran, and the re-occupation of Iraq. The shuttering of the anti-ISIS coalition. An Iranian nuclear break-out. Thousands of troops heading to the region. Intemperate threats from his winter residence, incoherent explanations from what is left of his Administration — all without any kind of sustained coordination with our allies, or Congress. Mr. Trump is simply no longer acting like a leader of a democracy. He is in every way acting like a Mad King, or dictator, the very thing the Founding Fathers feared the most — which is why Congress must now remove him before he can do even more damage to the world and the national interests of the United States.

Before the holiday break, I wrote that it was going to be far more challenging for Senators to declare this increasingly lawless and untethered man “innocent” than was conventional wisdom at the time. I think that is even more true today, which is why we must continue to demand a fair trial in the Senate, one with relevant witnesses and documents (as all trials are conducted).

 

As Congress works to remove him in the coming days, it must also take two other important steps: 1) launch a formal security review to assess the damage to our national security this President has wrought, and begin to chart a path to repair the damage which has been done and move our nation and the world beyond this terrible moment; and 2) establish a process to refer the President’s co-conspirators in the vast and illegal scheme to extort Ukraine for the Republican Party’s benefit to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution. A SDNY/FBI investigation into the Ukraine scheme has already begun arresting close associates of the President, again. So the mechanism to ensure that justice is done has already been established.

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