New Politics

Thursday New Tools Feature: The New Politics Institute New Tools Kit

Just a brief new tools update for today (I'm busy working on an exciting project for NDN, to be revealed soon!). NDN and NPI created the New Tools series as an easy-to-understand crash course in new media for progressives of all stripes. With that in mind, we have assembled all of our New Tools papers in one place, organized by subject, to make things even easier. You can now find them all at

On a related note, we're updating and expanding the New Tools series for 2009. In addition to revisiting some of our older papers, we'll be adding a few to the roster. We've got some ideas, but we'd also like to know: what new media tools are you most interested in learning about or using more effectively? Please send your ideas for the next generation of new tools papers to, or leave them as comments below this post, and help us help progressives stay ahead of the curve!


Reflecting on How Our Concept of Race Is Changing

The Times has a wonderful piece today which takes a deep look into how the concept of race is evolving in America today:

MILWAUKEE — Although the civil rights movement gave Samuel Sallis equality under the law a long time ago, he was left wanting most of his life, he says, for the subtle courtesies and respect he thought would come with it. Being a working-class black man downtown here meant being mostly ignored, living a life invisible and unacknowledged in a larger white world.

Then Mr. Sallis, 69, noticed a change.

“I’ve been working downtown for 30 years, so I’ve got a good feeling for it,” Mr. Sallis said. “Since President Obama started campaigning, if I go almost anywhere, it’s: ‘Hi! Hello, how are you, sir?’ I’m talking about strangers. Calling me ‘sir.’ ”

He added: “It makes you feel different, like, hey — maybe we are all equals. I’m no different than before. It’s just that other people seem to be realizing these things all around me.”

As the readers of this blog know well we believe this nation is in the midst of perhaps its most profound demographic transformation since the arrival of the Europeans here in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries.   Due to large waves of non-white immigration over the past 45 years, America has seen its minority population triple, ending what was America's longstanding white-black, majority-minority racial construct.  Current projections have American becoming a majority minority country in the next 30 years. 

It was inevitable, given how our population was changing, that the America of the 21st century would end up having a very different - and much more tolerant - attitude towards race than any America that had come before. But the election and early success of our remarkable President, Barack Hussein Obama, the self-described "mutt," has hastened this process, allowing this nation to begin to truly realize, perhaps more than any time in our history, the radical promise of equality of opportunity offered by our Founding Fathers.

I was born in 1963, the last years of an America before the changes brought about by the Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Immigration Acts of the mid 1960s.   The legacy of this period, of Lyndon Johnson and JFK, of Martin Luther King Jr. and so many others is so profound that sometimes I am literally overwhelmed by all this.  But this week, as we saw images of President Obama horsing around in the Oval Office with Caroline Kennedy, we are reminded that the two beautiful children of our President today are not John-John and Caroline but Malia and Sasha - and what a different, and better world, this is today.

President Obama's Weekly Address Focuses on H1N1 Flu

In is weekly YouTube address, President Barack Obama explains what the federal government is doing to combat the spread of H1N1 and why they are doing it.


Obama also notes the very Web 2.0 steps the White House is taking to keep the American people informed about the spreak of H1N1. These very practical applications of social networking and twitter have been a great way to demonstrate the applicability of these new political tools to governing. Good information is key to both combatting the spread of disease and avoiding panic about it.

Thoughts on Obama's First 100 Days

See video

In this video blog, Simon reflects on the first 100 days of the new administration.

The Early Days of Obama with Michael Tomasky, Mark Schmitt and Franklin Foer

NDN is excited to invite you to a special forum this coming Tuesday, May 5, where we will be joined by the editors of three of the nation's smartest publications -- Franklin Foer of The New Republic, Mark Schmitt of The American Prospect and Michael Tomasky of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas -- to reflect on the early days of Barack Obama's young presidency and what lies ahead. 

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Tomasky, Foer, SchmittPresident Obama's poll numbers remain stratospheric. The Republicans are at a loss, a party plagued by infighting and an inability to respond to a popular president. The Administration has taken unprecedented action in the financial and auto industries, won passage of a massive economic recovery package, shifted America's foreign policy and been confronted by a global health crisis.

Joining NDN President Simon Rosenberg to talk about the new politics of the day will be Tomasky, who also is the American editor-at-large of The Guardian (UK), on whose Web site he writes a blog; Foer, who also wrote the international bestseller, "How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization," which has been translated into 27 languages—from German to Indonesian; and Schmitt, who was a senior fellow at the New America Foundation where he helped to develop a new initiative on The Next Social Contract, an effort to find the underlying principles and policies appropriate to the emerging economy.

So please join us Tuesday, May 5, at 12 p.m ET, with lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. If you're not in Washington or can't break away from work, the forum will be live Webcast at starting at 12:15 p.m. We also will be taking questions from our livecast audience and you can submit your questions online at  To RSVP for this event, please click here. For fuller bios, event location and other information, click here

Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday. In the meantime, please read these great articles written by Tomasky, Foer (and colleague Noam Scheiber) and Schmitt on Obama's 100 Days. Each has a unique and fascinating perspective.

100 Days: Setting the Tone for America, Michael Tomasky,, 4/29/09

The Nudge-ocracy: Barack Obama's new theory of the state, Franklin Foer and Noam Scheiber, The New Republic, 5/06/09

The Myth of 100 Days, Mark Schmitt, The American Prospect, 4/29/09

It's Official: Millennials Realigned Politics in 2008

The 2008 election not only marked the election of America's first African-American president, it also saw the strong and clear political emergence of a new, large and dynamic generation and the realignment of American politics for the next 40 years.

The first large wave of the Millennial Generation, about one third of the young Americans born from 1982-2003, entered the electorate to decisively support President-elect Barack Obama. Young voters preferred Obama over John McCain by a greater than 2:1 margin (66% vs. 32%). This is well above the margin given by young voters to any presidential candidate for at least three decades, if not at any time in U.S. history. In 2004, young voters preferred John Kerry to George W. Bush by a far more narrow 10 percentage points (55% to 45%). Moreover, the support of young people for Obama crossed all ethnic lines: he won the votes of a majority of African-American (95%), Latino (76%), and white (54%) young people.

Dispelling the myth that young people never vote, Millennials cast ballots in larger numbers than young voters had in any recent presidential election. About 23 million young people, an increase of 3.4 million over 2004, accounted for almost two-thirds of the overall 5.4 million increase in voter turnout. Their participation increased at a rate greater than older generations. As a result, young voters increased their overall share of the vote from 17 percent in 2004 to 18 percent in 2008. In contrast to previous recent presidential elections, a majority of young people voted in 2008 (53%), and in the competitive battleground states, youth turnout was even higher (59%). This was significantly above the 1996 (37%), 2000 (41%), and 2004 (48%) levels. In the earlier elections, "young people" were primarily members of Generation X, an alienated and socially uninvolved cohort; by contrast, the young voters of 2008 were mostly members of the civic-oriented Millennial Generation.

Their unified support for Barack Obama combined with their high turnout made the Millennial Generation the decisive force in his victory. Young voters accounted for about seven million of Obama's almost nine million national popular vote margin over John McCain. Had young people not voted, Obama would have led McCain by only about 1.5 percentage points instead of seven. Republican Internet guru Patrick Ruffini pointed out that without Millennials, Obama would not have won the combined 73 electoral votes of Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and North Carolina. While he may still have won in 2008 without young voters, Obama's margin and his political mandate would have been far narrower.

Contrary to the hopes of many Republicans, the Millennial Generation's support for Barack Obama is not a one-time phenomenon. Millennials are every bit as supportive of the Democratic Party as they are of Obama personally. Millennials identify as Democrats over Republicans by a 2:1 margin and Pew survey results indicate that they have done so since at least early 2007, well before Obama emerged as a well-known national political figure. More of them consider themselves liberals rather than conservatives (31% to 18%), as well. When it comes to policy, Millennials are liberal interventionists on economic issues, active multilateralists in foreign affairs and tolerant non-meddlers on social issues-a profile that most closely matches the Democratic Party's platform as well as the new President's agenda. Their propensity to vote straight Democratic was clearly evident in 2008 when young voters supported Democratic congressional candidates by about the same margin that they did Obama (63% vs. 34%).

What's more, as with previous civic generations, they are likely to vote a straight ticket for their preferred party for the rest of their lives. The Millennial Generation is ready to take its place as America's next great Democratic civic generation, just as their GI Generation great grandparents did nearly 80 years ago. Welcome to the Millennial Era.

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