Hopeful Start, Still Way Too Much MAGA - Thoughts On The First Day of the 118th Congress

A Hopeful Start, Still Too Much MAGA — Like many, I start the year hopeful, grateful for the progress we made in 2022. Our economy remains strong, resilient. Inflation is coming down. The 3 big bills Biden passed — infrastructure, CHIPs, climate — will start rolling out in earnest this year, and the wisdom of these far-sighted investments will become clearer to the American people. Our energy transition is accelerating. Putin has stumbled, badly. The global democracy movement had a good year, greater MAGA and global illiberalism did not. Democrats head into 2023 having had a much better election than expected. House Republicans are reminding us, already, how fundamentally unserious MAGA remains, and what a tragedy it is that we will have to endure two years of their performative silliness.

While I don’t know how much legislating will get done this year Democrats do have a lot to do. We will need to make sure the economy continues to grow, and prevent Republicans from dismantling the ACA, the 3 big new bills and other programs essential to our collective success. We need to keep supporting Ukraine, and hopefully force Putin to withdraw. We need to defend democracy and our freedoms here at home, and abroad. We need to give time and space — and lots of support — to the new Democratic leadership team in the House to find their footing, begin to put their stamp on a new era. We should work to find common ground on the border and immigration, and try to advance legislation which addresses the new challenges we face. Crypto needs a smart regulatory framework, and we should shoot to pass something by the summer. Will there be more? Let’s hope so, but just getting these things done over the next two years will make this a consequential Congress, and America will be better off.

Americans did not choose chaos in 2022. It was a status quo election, a get back to our lives and normalcy election, a put your head down and keep working election. The new MAGA-infused House GOP leadership feels very out of step with this sentiment. Already wild unpopular, it will be interesting to see how House Rs respond in the spring if their poll numbers are terrible, and Trump is even in more precipitous decline. Could calmer, more serious voices assert themselves at this point?

Let us hope.

NYT Features NDN Analysis in Front Page Look At The Red Wave Which Never Came — NDN gets a lot of air time in a NY Times article that looks at the GOP effort to flood the zone with R heavy polls which helped create the false impression a red wave had come in the 2022 election. NDN remains very proud of “close, competitive election not a wave” analysis, and our very aggressive challenging of the red wave narrative. To make it easier to access, we’ve put our most important work from 2022 into a single page our site. It includes this post-election memo which discusses what we think the Democrats stronger than expected showing means for the 2024 cycle. We also share a new essay, A Dose of Hopium To Start 2023, which talks about the need for the center-left and pro-democracy forces to get much more intentional about putting positive sentiment into our daily discourse to counter the unrelenting pessimism and selling America short coming from MAGA and the right.

Welcome back everyone. It’s going to be another action packed year in our nation’s capital. Good luck, and we look forward to working with all of you to make it a good one.

- Simon