NDN Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

·      There are 5m more job openings than unemployed people 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

42m of 44m New Jobs Since 1989 - 96% - Have Come Under Dem Presidents

In preparing our monthly look at the US jobs report, we’ve come across a set of statistics we just can’t stop thinking about: of the 44 million new jobs America has created since the Cold War ended in 1989 and a new age of globalization began, 42 million of those jobs – 96% - have come in the 17 years of 3 Democratic Presidents, Clinton Obama and Biden.  Only 2m of those jobs were created in the 16 years of GOP Presidents, 2 Bushes and Trump (see the graph below). 

As we write in our analysis accompanying these graphs, we think this jawdropping asymmetry in performance is critical to understanding some of the core dynamics driving American politics today; most importantly, that the Republican Party has failed to keep up with a changing world and has in essence become a failed party - angry, reactionary, illiberal, MAGA.  Democrats, meanwhile, have repeatedly done their part, modernizing, creating growth, jobs, rising wages, a booming stock market and a better America.  


June Jobs Report - Biden Boom Keeps Booming, 42m Dem Jobs

Friday, June 3rd, 2022  - The June BLS jobs report is out, and it shows almost 400,000 jobs created in May, another incredibly strong month.  NDN's monthly jobs tracker comes in at:

33.8m jobs - 16 years of Clinton, Obama

8.7m jobs - 16 months of Biden

1.9m jobs - 16 years of Bush, Bush and Trump

Biden's 8.7m jobs is 4 times as many jobs as were created in the 16 years of the last 3 Republican Presidencies, combined.  It is also millions more than were created in the entirety of any of their three individual Presidencies.  Many millions more. Since 1989 and the end of the Cold War, the US has seen 44 million new jobs created.  Remarkably 42 million of those 44 million were created under Democratic Presidents, 96%. 

We put some of this data into a new thread too. 

What this data tells us is that since this new age of globalization began in 1989, a modern and forward looking Democratic Party has repeatedly seen strong economic growth on its watch.  Republican Presidents, on the other hand, have overseen three consecutive recessions - the last two, severe. The contrast in performance here is very stark, it is not a stretch to state that the GOP’s economic track record over the past 30 years has been among the worst in the history of the United States.  

GDP growth tells a similar story:


And look at the jobs created per month over these Presidencies - Rs at just 10k per month over 16 years.  Biden is running at more than 50 times that so far.  Yes more than 50x, and twice as many jobs per day - 18k - as Rs averaged PER MONTH over 16 years. 

The bottom line is that Democratic policies have repeatedly been able to make globalization work for the American people in this new and challenging age.  GOP policies have repeatedly failed to deliver, as a national party Republicans have repeatedly failed to do their part.  For those looking for reasons why America has not made more progress in this era, reactionary Republican policies appear to be a very good place to start.   

Importantly, there is a growing recognition of both the very strong economic performance of the economy under Biden, and under the Democrats more broadly.  On 2021 being one of the best economic years in recent decades see these analyses by Rob Shapiro, Matthew Winkler, Paul Krugman and David Rothkopf.  For the the bigger asymmetry in performance between the two parties see these smart pieces by David Leonhardt and Mike Tomasky.  NDN has also published a piece which shows 2021 was also a record year for new business formation - certainly one of the best bits of data in a year full of very positive economic news - and a new compendium of our recent work around the Biden Boom can be found here

The Washington Post has published a very good editorial talking about the significance of all these jobs being created, writing "The jobs recovery has been unusually strong.....More than 6.5 million jobs have come back in the past year, one of the greatest employment rebounds in U.S. history. Women and minorities have made especially large gains. For all the concerns about the "She-cession" early in the pandemic, women have come surging back into the workforce in recent months, especially as schools and day cares have reopened. Women’s labor force participation, especially for ages 25 to 54, has now recovered as much as men’s. And the share of African Americans working is almost back at a two-decade high."

It is our firm belief here at NDN that the current radicalization of the GOP is intimately linked to its repeated failure to handle the challenges of the post-Cold War era.  The rigid ideological approach of the modern GOP has left it unable to govern in a time of rapid change; and those repeated failures have left many Republicans angry, reactionary and willing to do the unthinkable to stay in or regain power.  The modern GOP has no answers for many of the most important challenges America faces today, and rather than modernizing, adapting, as all institutions must in a time of change, the GOP has decided to fight the future by rigging the system to remain in power while the country and its people drift from their narrow grasp. 

It is why Democrats must fight so hard to prevent Republicans from once again cheating their way into power, and establishing a sustained period of minority rule.  It is not just a betrayal of the great American experiment, but it will guarantee, as the data here strongly argues, a period of extended decline as much needed progress on the big challenges we face will be further delayed. 

This argument – about the success Democrats have achieved through modernization, and the failures of the GOP for their refusal to do so – is at the very core of our presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better.  Our next live presentation is Thursday, June 8th. You can learn more about these arguments, sign up to see this next With Dems, or watch/listen to a recording of May presentation here

If you liked this analysis, you will love With Dems.  Join us, and invite friends and welcomes.  All are welcome.

Election And Political Analysis

Election and political analysis has been a major program area for NDN over many years now. Here you can our work on the new Biden era, Trump's failed efforts to overthrow the 2020 election, the 2020 general election and Democratic primary and detailed geographic/demographic analysis.

You can also find NDN’s analysis in various recent articles and pods here

Biden, A New Day

With Roe Vote 2022 Is Now a Choice Election 5/3/22 - With the coming end of Roe the anti-MAGA majority in the US has been given a very vivid reminder why they need to once again vote and keep America's far right from gaining further power.

The Center-Left Rises in the West, The Right Is In Retreat - 4/25/22 - The political space for the Putin allied far right is disapearing in the West, and a new center-left of liberals, social democrats and greens is rising.  Can US Republicans buck the trend in 2022?

Some Thoughts on Democrats and "Loudness" - 4/18/22 - In a new memo about the current political landscape and the 2022 elections, Simon offers three reasons why, despite Biden's current polling dip, the 2022 mid-terms are likely to be much more competitive than conventional wisdom holds right now.   

NDN’s Saliency Index, 4th Edition – COVID, Economy Top Issues, Inflation Secondary For Dems - 2/22/22 - In the 4th edition of our new Saliency Index, we find the top issues for voters in the Democratic elecorate to be COVID, jobs and the economy, health care and climate.  In the analysis we discuss why inflation may be a seconday concerns for Democratic voters right now. 

“Mr Biden, Your Good Economy Won’t Sell Itself” – On Selling the Biden Boom - 2/21/22 - In the past few weeks NDN's thoughts on the path forward for Joe Biden/Dems have been cited in the WaPo, NYTimes, the Cook Report and other top media outlets. We've put this recent impacful work all in one place to make it easier for you to access. Enjoy!

Memo: Dems Need To Focus On Winning The Economic Argument 1/27/22 - Despite decades of strong economic stewardship, Ds trail Rs on perceptions of who can best manage the economy.  It is our belief that closing that gap, and even getting ahead of Republicans on this vital measure is now the highest political priority for Dems in the coming months. 

Saliency Index #3 – COVID concerns rising, inflation still secondary concern in Dem electorate - 12/17/21 - In the new edition of our Saliency Index, we find rising concerns about COVID in both the Dem and GOP electorates.  Inflation while a major concern with Rs remains a secondary concern in the Democratic coalition. 

Defeating COVID Remains Job #1 - 11/26/21 - We think it is time for the President to a do prime time check in with the American people about COVID.  Review the progress which has been made, talk about the challenges ahead, lay out the plan for defeating it here and everywhere.

My Warning To Dems About MAGA and Schools This Fall - 11/2/21 - In July Simon warned Democratic Party officials that MAGA was going to wage a huge war around schools this fall, and we needed to be ready.  We weren't. 

Memo: 3 Reasons Why 2022 Won’t Be 2010 - 11/1/21 - In a new memo about the current political landscape and the 2022 elections, Simon offers three reasons why, despite Biden's current polling dip, the 2022 mid-terms are likely to be much more competitive than conventional wisdom holds right now.

Catch Simon on That Trippi Show, In The Atlantic, Politico and More - 10/6/21 - Simon's big strategy memo "Time for Dems to Come Together" got a lot of attention this week.  You can read the stories or listen to Simon talk about it on pods and in a TV interview. 

Memo: Time for Dems To Come Together - 10/6/21 - Since the debate over the President's post-ARP agenda began, the President's approval rating has dropped almost 15 points, endangering Dem 2022 election prospects.  It is time now for all Democrats to come together and end this debilitating, rancerous period.

Memo: 2022 Dem Election Narrative Begins to Take Shape - 9/16/21 - An early version of a possible Dem election narrative has begun to emerge - Dems tackle the big challenges, GOP too radical and extreme to once again trust with power.

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

Memo: A Fall To Do List for Democrats - COVID, A Growing Economy, Climate, Immigration - 8/30/21 - In a new memo, Simon writes that Democrats have four priorities this fall - defeat COVID/improve health care, creating an economy which works for all, tackle climate change and modernize our an mmigration system. 

Biden at 47% - 8/25/21 - Joe Biden has seen a nine point job in his approval rating over the last month.  Much of it is due to his declining approval on COVID.  Drawing from 2 recent essays, Simon offers some thoughts on what Biden can do now to reclaim his standing and win the fall. 

Memo: A Stronger Response To Delta Is Required Now - 8/21/21 - In a new political memo, Simon reviews recent polling data and finds rising fears over delta, and growing support in the public for aggressive steps to stop its spread.  The President should seize the moment and launch a stepped up campaign to defeat COVID once and for all.

Memo: Some Thoughts on Afghanistan, What Comes Next - 8/17/21 -  While the endgame in Afghanistan has been a significant setback for the President, he should use these next few months to reacquint the American people with his forward looking agenda and make significant progress in enacting it. 

Biden Should Consider "A Fireside Chat" About COVID - 8/4/21 - It may be time for a prime time Presidential address about COVID, a fireside chat, where Joe Biden can update us on the progress made, the challenges ahead and make clear what his plan is to defeat the pandemic here and everywhere. 

Bold Action on Evictions, But Also A Reminder That Governing is Very Hard - 8/4/21 - The President told bold action this week to prevent mass evictions in the midst of a public health crisis, but the program's struggles should be prompt action to make sure all the President's ambitious programs are well designed, aggressively implemented and successful. 

Memo: Some Thoughts on The Path Forward - 6/28/21 - In a new essay, Simon offers some thoughts on the path forward for the center-left as we head into the July 4th holiday.  Three priorities now - defeat COVID, keep creating jobs, defend democracy.  Get infrastructure to the President's desk by August.

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

Memo: A Summer To Do List for Democrats - Defeat COVID, Defend Democracy, Keep Creating Jobs -  6/9/21 - Democrats have important work to do this summer - defeat COVID, defend democracy and make sure the American people know the recovery has come about through Joe Biden's smart and effective economic plans. 

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

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

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

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

Video: NDN Talks The Hispanic Vote w/Fernand Amandi (3/2/21) - Join us for an indepth look at the all important Hispanic vote with Fernand Amandi, pollster and a pioneer in creating campaigns to speak to Hispanic voters in the United States.  It was a terrific discsusion - hope you can catch it soon. 

Simon In The NYT on Dem Management of Their Senate Majority - 3/1/21 - In a new NYTimes analysis, Simon offers extensive commentary about the how the Democrats might be able to get their agenda through the Senate this cycle.

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

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

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

2020 Election

Every Thursday (and some Fridays) in 2020 NDN published its Poll Roundup, a deep dive into recent polling and political trends. Below is some of our late 2020 work.  Feel free to review previous editions too.  

Analysis: There's A Whole Lotta Voting Going On! - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 10/15/20 - Enormous numbers of people are voting early this year, in person and via mail.  It is a welcome sign for our struggling democracy; and practically, all this voting is going to make it harder for Trump to manipulate the election outcome. 

Analysis: It Has Been A Very Bad Week of Polling for Trump and the GOP  - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 9/29/20 - Despite desperate tactics, Trump isn't gaining ground against Biden.  If anything the race may be beginning to slip away.   

Analysis: Is McConnell leading the GOP off an electoral and political cliff? - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 9/21/20 - Mitch McConnell's craven rush to replace RBG looks like a huge mistake, and raises further questions about whether McConnell's repeated mistakes this year is leading his conference off an electoral cliff.

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

Demographic/Geographic Analysis

Trump Has a Serious Young Voter Problem (Updated) - Simon Rosenberg, Medium, 9/25/20 - As more data comes in it's becoming clearer that Trump has a serious young voter problem.  He's way below his 2016 numbers, and Biden's margin rivals the largest we've ever seen with 18-29 year olds in recent history.

Analysis: Should Dems Go For It? - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 7/10/20 - The Biden campaign faces a big strategy choice in the coming days - how manystates to play in? How big shoulld the battlefield be? Argument for going big is very compelling right now. 

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. 

Dems Have Already Won Back Voters In The Rust Belt. It's Trump Who Needs To Win Them Back Now - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 6/5/19 - It is a myth that Trump's anti-immigrant and protectionist policies have made it difficult for Democrats to win in the Rust Belt in 2020.  Trump is trailing badly there now raising questions about Trumpism itself has become a grand failure. 

Notes On The GOP's Erosion In The Southwest - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 2/11/19 - The dramatic erosion of the GOP brand in the heavily Mexican-American parts of the country over the past two elections is one of the biggest stories in American politics.  Trump's border extremism has cost the GOP dearly, and it hasn't kept the industrial north from slipping away. 

In All Important Florida, Democrats Lost Ground With Hispanic Voters - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 11/9/18 - In a year when Democrats made gains with Hispanics across the nation, Florida Democrats saw their performance with Hispanics decline.  Work has to be done to figure out why. 

Among "New Coalition" Voters, Democrats Have Best Performance Ever - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 11/9/18. In the 2018 elections Democrats had their best showing ever with 18-29s, 18-44s and Asian-Americans, 2nd best with Hispanics.  Bodes well for 2020 and many elections to come. 

$38 Million For Beto, And Why It Matters - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 10/30/18 - Democrats have been raising a lot of money this cycle.  This is not just about fear of Trump - it is about the broad adoption of a more authentic people based politics suited for the digital age championed by Dean, Obama, and yes even Trump himself.


Europe's Elections: Liberals and Greens Make Gains, Right Loses Ground - Simon Rosenberg, NDN, 5/28/19 - In both Europe and the US, a new politics is emerging in opposition to the extremism of the far right. It emphasizes political pragmatism and the embrace of trade and immigration, while also focusing on the significant threat of climate change.

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

Iowa, Trump, and the Politics of Globalization/Tariffs - Chris Taylor, NDN, 10/12/18 - Trump’s trade policies are hurting the Iowa economy. His tariffs are unpopular there, and his party is performing badly in the fall elections. Some thoughts on what this means for the Democratic presidential race starting soon.

Media Citations: You can find NDN in recent stories about the national political landscape in the AP, Hearst Media/San Antonio Express News, NBC News, Washington Monthly and Washington Post (here, here, here).  Our most important recent citations are below. 

Joe Biden Identifies The No. 1 Threat: Trump - Greg Sargent, The Washington Post, 4/25/19 - Key passage: As Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, who worked on House races in 2018, told me, Democrats realized that both Democratic and swing voters wanted candidates who offered a "safe port in a storm" at a moment of perceived extreme danger in the form of Trump, which is why Democrats recruited many candidates with records of accomplishment and an aura of solidity and competence. 

The Biggest Field Yet. No Frontrunner. A Divided Base. Welcome To The 2020 Democratic Primary - Molly Ball and Philip Elliott, Time Magazine, Cover Package, 2/21/19 - Key passage: “The Democratic Party is going through a very large transformation,” says party operative Simon Rosenberg, who’s backed the winning candidate in every primary since 1988 but has no favorite this time. “The era of Clinton and Obama is ending and ceding to a new set of dynamics. A new Democratic Party is being forged in front of our eyes.”

This Is Why Republicans And Democrats Aren't Talking To Each Other In Washington - Ron Brownstein, CNN, 1/8/19 - Key passage: "It's fair to say that the House campaign in 2018 executed on a politics that we first saw with Obama in 2007 and 2008: It aligned the House with the way that Obama began to reorient the Democratic Party," said Rosenberg, who consulted with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee through the campaign. "There were many people who were saying that Obama's embrace of this new coalition [that was younger, more diverse, better-educated, and more urbanized] was the cause of Democratic decline in the Senate and the House. It was never true. But what was true was that Democrats had never resigned themselves to having to lean into this new coalition that Obama constructed. Now they did in 2018 -- they leaned into it -- and look what happened."

With Roe Vote 2022 Is Now a Choice Election

The 2022 Election Begins Today – If you’ve been part of the NDN community, you know it’s our view that current global and domestic trends will make GOP success this year far less likely than conventional wisdom holds right now.  

Simply, since the rise of Trump/MAGA and its allies in Europe, Western countries including the US have been steadily putting center-left governments in power and defeating far right parties.  The threat of this new politics has been widely understood by the voters of the West, and today the far right is much further from power than it has been in years.  In the US for example the Democratic margin in the three elections since Trump took over the GOP has averaged 5 points.  In the last two elections the Dem margin averaged 6 points in historically high turnout elections.  More people have voted against MAGA in the US than any other political movement in our history.  

For Republicans to take control of either chamber in Congress this fall it would mean that an awful lot of people who voted against a radicalized right would have to stay home or switch over to the Republican side.  We think either of those scenarios is far less likely now, as overturning Roe may be the single most unpopular and out of the mainstream position this modern right holds today.  The polling on this issue is eyepopping.  Overturning Roe is opposed 69%-30% in a new CNN poll.  In a new Washington Post poll only 28% want to overturn Roe (28%!!!!!).  In a new Navigator poll 72% of pro-choice voters (almost 60% of the electorate) say they will be more likely to vote if Roe is overturned.  

The problem for Republicans is that confirmation of their extremism on any single issue opens the door for Democrats to expand the conversation with voters about the out of the main stream positions the GOP holds on many other issues – climate, health care, book banning, denigration of our democracy, support of Putin and authoritarianism, attacks on Disney, raising taxes on working people while cutting taxes on the wealthy, etc – and remind voters that this is the kind of politics rejected by record numbers in the last 2 elections.  It can wake up the clear anti-MAGA majority, once again get them off their couches and get them go out there and fight, and vote.  

2022 is now a “choice” election, between a party which has repeatedly made things better for the country and one that wants to tear it all down.   As we’ve been saying it is why when it comes to the 2022 elections we would rather be us than them.   But it is time now for Dems to turn their campaigns on, get loud, start spending and engage their opponents. It is time now. 

"It's extreme, like most MAGA things are."  Joe Biden, 5/4/22 (link)

The Center-Left Rises in the West, The Right Is In Retreat

The Center-Left Rises in the West, The Right Is In Retreat- Since the infamous Trump-Putin Helsinki summit in the summer of 2018, the far right extremist politics new this alliance represented has steadily lost ground in the West.  Democrats took the Presidency, the Senate and House in very high turnout elections in 2018 and 2020.  In the 2019 European elections Greens and Liberals were the big winners.  Social Democrat/progressive, center/liberal and/or Green parties now run the governments of Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the US.  Even in the UK, recent polling now has now Labour ahead of the Tories 40% to 34%, and Labour/Lib Dems/Greens lead the Tories/UKIP/Reform 56%-39%, a margin similar to Macron’s huge rout of Le Pen.  The center right and Putin aligned anti-Europe far right are now more out of power in the West than in any time in recent memory. The EU and NATO are expanding.  A new center/center-left is clearly ascendent. (May 21st note - Australian Labour wins, adding to his momentum). 

Russia’s aggression and barbarism in Ukraine has also become serious political problem for the Western right, including the GOP here in the US.  The Republican Party’s leading politician, Donald Trump, has deep ties to Putin and continues to praise him.  A leading institution of the American right, CPAC, heads to Hungary in a few weeks to create common cause with Putin’s last remaining major European ally, Victor Orban.  A record number of Americans voted against Trump’s illiberalism in 2018 and 2020 (Dem’s won these two elections by an average of 6.5 pts), and as we have argued, the GOP’s doubling down on MAGA/insurrection/illiberalism is going to create a very low ceiling for the Republican Party this fall, perhaps low enough to deny them a victory.  Voters in the West, including America, have been embracing a far more liberal and green politics in recent years, and it is hard for us to imagine all those voters who viewed MAGA as a big threat putting illiberal insurrectionists back in control of the House, particularly when all can see what savagery Putinism brings.  The political space for this kind of extremist politics is disappearing in the West, for good reason, and the GOP’s doubling down on it in recent months looks increasingly like a huge miscalculation. 

If American voters come to believe that a vote for the GOP helps Putin and weakens the West this could be a far more challenging environment for Republicans this fall than the current landscape suggests.  As a new Ron Brownstein CNN essay quotes Simon: “It is critical that Democrats take this radicalization we are witnessing and make it into a kitchen table issue. That has to be part of the discourse with the American people this year in order to make this into a competitive election.”

Some Thoughts on Democrats and "Loudness"

Getting Loud – In a new podcast with Joe Trippi, and in a recent Greg Sargent Washington Post article, I return to a big challenge we’ve been talking about for years – the need for Democrats to get louder in an "always on" information landscape. In these media appearances, and in these three essays (hereherehere), I lay out four ways Dems can get louder and hopefully begin to change the current political information landscape, particularly on the economy

·      DNC can make it their central job this year to educate the public about how much better things are, using all the tools the national party infrastructure has at its disposal – paid and organic media, in depth issue/language training of party leaders/groups across the country etc.  Brings the Party together, creates a single national goal for all Democrats. 

·      Dem campaigns turn on, start spending money now.  The risk of holding until the fall outweighs the risk of starting to engage now.  Can be low levels of media, but starting campaigns now will excite our supporters, start to draw out the opposition.  Think we just need to put our heads down and start engaging/fighting.  Change the dynamic.  Idea of starting volunteer GOTV phone banks now should be explored, tested.  Dems need to be given something to do, now.  

·      DNC/DSCC/DCCC can start holding a weekly Zoom based national fundraisers for battleground candidates.  Make it festive, celebratory, shoot to raise $1m each week.  Bring in celebrities, make it like a weekly Dem tv show showcasing a single candidate/patriot fighting to save our democracy.  Again, we need to engage our supporters, wake them up, give them something to do. 

·      Finally, we should reimagine the War Room.  The new War Room should be millions of people wired together perhaps to the DNC, amplifying core messages/narratives, making our family louder.  Right is highly networked and amplified.  We can do it in a single core place like the DNC but also campaigns need to start better organizing their supporters to be partners in the daily info war not just donors to the cause.  We have to put our people to work for the good of the country.  

Behind all these ideas is an understanding that the daily information battle is a national one.  Our networks and information flow are not geographically based.  Far more emphasis has to go on winning the daily national conversation, and not believing that localized content – ads, surrogate visits, local media – can overcome underperforming in the daily national back and forth.  Just as Dem volunteers can give money to a campaign and make calls for campaigns outside of where they live, they can also share information across their networks and reach voters outside of where we live.  We need everyone rowing in the boat, together.  

Video: With Democrats Things Get Better (4/8/22)

We are pleased to offer a recording of NDN's signature presentation, With Democrats Things Get Better, from Friday, April 8th, 2022.  This was a particularly lively session, with lots of great discussion and loads of new material.  Hope you will check it out. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Invite: June 24th - With Democrats Things Get Better

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

With Dems is updated with every showing, so it is always new and fresh. You can now register for our our next showing Friday, June 24th at 1230pm ET.  In the meantime feel free to watch a recording of our June 9th presentation which includes a lot of new economic analysis relevant to the current economic debate. 

To learn more about the big arguments in With Dems start with our recently published analysis The Biden Boom and 42m 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.

Video: Gretchen Barton On What's She's Heard Listening to the American People (4/12/22)

This was a great event, truly.  Hope you will watch.

On April 12th, 2022 we sat down with Gretchen Barton, a public opinion researcher who uses deep listening techniques – long interviews, multiday engagements, and use of visual imagery and multimedia - to understand the deep-rooted thoughts and feelings of Americans.  She has spent the last year listening daily to the American people about their lives, their struggles, their hopes, and their fears to find opportunities for better connecting with and engaging Americans.  She has taken all of this work and combined it with some more traditional polling from Future Majority and created a presentation about what’s she learned and what it means for center-left politics this year.  

We strongly encourage everyone to watch this presentation and our discussion afterwards.  Gretchen and Future Majority's work has heavily influenced our thinking about where are we right now, and what we need to do – and we are certain it will influence yours, too.  Future Majortiy released a companion memo to Gretchen's deck - read it here

More on Gretchen - Gretchen Barton is the Research Director for Future Majority, Principal at Worthy Strategy Group, LLC, and former policy lead at the Harvard-founded research firm, Olson Zaltman. With a special interest in the psychology underpinning behavior change, Gretchen has designed and delivered a number of initiatives in the policy space, including studies around poverty in America for the Gates Foundation and Gender Justice for Story-at-Scale. Her research over the years has spanned hazing behavior and how to stop it, trauma, cults, and tribalism. She has led research and served as a behavioral science strategist for major organizations and campaigns (e.g. NextGen, New Moral Majority, Ideas 42, Way to Win, and others), uncovering key messaging insights to turn out the youth vote, revealing voters’ deepest hopes and dreams for presidential campaigns, and uncovering deep insights in real-time to key organizers in the build-up to the 2020 election with the Yellow Brick Road study.  She recently completed metaphor elicitation studies of American swing-state voters across the nation and in Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Rural Wisconsin/Iowa/Minnesota, and Virginia, along with a deep dive into how Americans know what’s true.

Gretchen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and Planning Campaigns with distinction in research from Cornell University. She has written for the Journal of College Student Development and the American Journal of Health Behavior, and co-authored, Prevalence and Profiling: Hazing Among College Students and Points of Intervention. She recently co-authored “The Science of Winning with Stories: Using Agency, Urgency, and Community,” a reflection on the most effective messaging to engage and move a populace.

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