NDN Blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s look at some numbers. 

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

                Overall Hispanic Vote        Est D Share         Est R Share        Dem Margin                

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dem Senate Seats – 5 of 12 (42%) in 2004, 10 of 12 (83%) in 2020

Dem House Seats – 55 of 106 (52%) in 2004, 69 of 112 (62%) in 2020

Dem Govs – 2 of 6 (33%) in 2004, 4 of 6 (67%) in 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Related Readings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

·      There are 5m more job openings than unemployed people 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.  


2022 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

Memo: On This 2022 Election Eve Would Rather Be Us Than Them - 11/7/22 - Dems are crushing it in the early vote, the red wave has yet to materialize, and polls this past week were on balance good for Dems. 

We'd rather be us than them. 

A Good Week of Politics and Polling for Dems (10/10/22) - With GA melting down, generics moving our way, good polls in PA, huge cash hauls and women continuing to register in very high numbers this has been a very good polling and political week for Dems.

2022 Election Analysis: 5 Weeks To Go, It Is A Very Competitive Election - 10/3/22 - With 5 weeks to go we'd rather be us than them - Dems are favored to keep the Senate, have a clear shot in the House, Biden's approval has jumped more than 10 points and women are voting and registering to vote at very elevated levels. 

Video: Tom Bonier on The Surge of Women Voting/Registering Post-Roe (9/14/22) - Come watch a timely discussion of an important new development in the 2022 election - the surge of women registering to vote and voting.  If this trend holds it could have a big impact on 2022.

Video: NDN's New, Bluer Election Presentation (9/8/22) - We are pleased to share a recording of "New, Bluer Election" presentation.  It's 25 minutes of encouraging data.  Do watch, feel free to share with others and remember - we got a shot my friends.

Analysis: Dems w/2.4 Point Lead in 17 Polls - It's A Competitive Not A Wave Election 7/20/22 - 14 independent polls taken since Roe ended show the Democrats ahead in the Congressional Generic.  It is a new bluer, election now. 

Video: A New, Bluer Election - A Presentation About The Changing National Political Landscape - 7/8/22 - In a new 20 minute presentation Simon reviews recent polling data which shows an improving national political landscape for Democrats.  All talk of a wave must end - it's a competitive election now. 

Analysis: Democrats Make Big Gains in 3 New Polls – It’s A New Election - 6/28/22 - Three new polls show the election swinging towards the Democrats.  It is a new election. The chances of the anti-MAGA majority showing up again - as it did in 2018 and 2020 - have increased dramatically. 

Analysis: Red Wave? Hard To See One Now - 6/21/22 - Any fair read of current data in the big statewide races makes this look far more like a competitive election than a wave.  This is particularly true in the Senate, where Dems now have the edge. 

The Strategic Context For The 2022 Elections Is Changing - 5/31/22 - Russia’s ongoing aggression, mass shootings, the end of Roe, a more complete understanding of MAGA’s attack on our political system are together creating a new strategic framework or context for US politics, the 2022 elections.

NDN’s Saliency Index 5 – Jobs/Economy, Inflation, Health Care, Climate Change Top Dem Concerns - Our latest analysis finds that in the Dem electorate jobs/economy, inflation, health care and climate are top of mind.  Among Republicans its inflation, jobs/economy, immigration, national security. 

Memo: The Remarkable Success of the Democratic Party's Hispanic Strategy - 5/18/22 - Over the past 20 years the gains Democrats have made with Hispanic voters has transformed the Democratic Party and the nation.  It may very well be the most successful party-wide strategy in recent Democratic Party history. 

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 drop in his job 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.”

Syndicate content