New Progressive Politics

Thursday New Tools Feature: The Multi Media

According to a new Deloitte survey on the state of the media, we are now living in a diverse media ecosystem where no one type of media is dominant. Unsurprisingly,

The millennial generation — ages 14 to 25 — is leading this charge now as it accesses content on all sorts of new devices and distribution platforms using a variety of pricing schemes and advertising models. The millennials consume the most media and are more likely to get entertainment from multiple media sources and applications. That’s in contrast to a few decades ago, when media was more expensive and so was consumed most often by older generations with more disposable income...

Millennials are less likely to watch TV or use conventional news sources, and "their preferred way of absorbing content is watching video on the web and handheld devices or listening to music on mobile phones and MP3 music players." The survey also found that "the iPhone has had a big impact on how users communicate, get their news, and entertain themselves. Many young people are using it as a replacement for a laptop." Within the next few years, many more affordable phones will have functionality comparable with the high-end iPhone. 

Along with the Deloitte survey, another just-released study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that 18% of households are now cell-phone only, with migration being accelerated by the recession. 

These two studies reinforce NDN's message that understanding and adapting to this new media environment is essential for survival in this political day and age. President-elect Obama's media team understood this, and its "any and all" approach to media, advertising and outreach was in tune with Americans' media consumption. To learn more about how to use these tools effectively, check out our New Politics Institute New Tools campaign, featuring great papers like Go Mobile Now, Buy Cable, Advertise Online, Leverage Social Networks, and Reimagine Video.

Monday Buzz: Coalitions, Maps, and More

Lots of press this week relating to the themes of NDN's event last week, "A New Coalition and a New Map." In addition to event write-ups in the DC Examiner and Blue Commonwealth, articles in the Washington Times and the Huffington Post highlighted our arguments about immigration and the Latino vote. From the Huffington Post piece by Sam Stein:

...The leading Republican presidential candidates this cycle famously shunned an African-American themed debate, much to the chagrin of moderates like Jack Kemp, who worried that the party had become too country club. The handling of immigration reform and other related issues, meanwhile, has led students of the political process -- like NDN Simon's Rosenberg -- to seriously consider the idea that Democrats will have a generational lock on the growing minority vote.

On the economic front, Rob Shapiro is quoted in Grist on the prospects of a carbon tax, and in the San Francisco Chronicle on the Bush bailout. From the Chronicle:

Paulson has run through $350 billion veering from one strategy to another. The money may indeed have prevented a banking collapse, but it has not unglued credit markets as much as expected. His rescue of banking giant Citigroup came under fire for its lack of transparency, generous terms and taxpayer assumption of close to $300 billion in debt.

"The value of these measures thus far has been to stave off a total meltdown, which we flirted with," said Robert Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs in the Clinton administration and now head of Democratic think tank and advocacy group NDN's globalization initiative. Shapiro argued, however, as do many Democrats, that Paulson has failed to tackle the underlying problem of housing foreclosures that is causing banks to rein in lending.

Finally, Simon was quoted in the Financial Times and Brand Republic about how President-elect obama will continue to use his network of supporters for advocacy:

Will US president-elect Barack Obama live up to the marketing promise of his election victory and use direct channels to make government more transparent and interactive? "There has been an expectation created," concedes one person who has been advising the Obama team on its use of the internet, the Financial Times reports. Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a progressive think-tank, predicts that the internet will become a central medium for Obama to communicate with voters and test policy ideas. "It allows him to speak more directly to his people than ever before," he says.

How to make use of the campaign database containing 13 million email addresses, including details of 3 million donors - is the immediate question for the Obama camp. Rosenberg says the new president is likely to use it as an "advocacy network" to further his policies: "He will call on the American people to help him pass his agenda." Financial Times, 8 December 2008

The Reinvention Of Television, Continued

From today's NY Times, some rather remarkable words about the profound change coming to television, what had been the dominant media of politics for the last 50 years:

With one sweeping shift this week, the ailing NBC network reordered the playing field of prime-time television. The introduction of a five-night-a-week program starring Mr. Leno, beginning next fall, was a concession that TV norms cannot continue, at least not at fourth-place NBC.

The programming and viewing habits of the last 50 years - exemplified by the checkerboard of competing programs on the broadcast networks - are being replaced by an Internet-influenced time-shifting model of scheduling. As a result, the very definition of prime time may be changing.

"We do have to continue to rethink what a broadcast network is," Jeffrey Zucker, the chief executive of NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric, said at an industry conference Monday, hours before the news of Mr. Leno's new assignment emerged. He warned that if changes were not undertaken, "the broadcast networks will end up like the newspaper business or, worse, like the car companies." Maybe Mr. Zucker has seen the future; after all, his network has lost 50 percent of its 10 p.m. audience in the last three years.

For the past several years we've written and discussed how the old model of a campaign - large donors, lots of TV - was being replaced by a new bottom up always on model.  For anyone in the advocacy business these trends are ones that need to be closely followed, as a whole new era of political communications is dawning.

For more on this visit our affiliate, the New Politics Institute, or check out the video and transcripts from our April event, "The End of Broadcast."

A New Coalition and a New Map

Today, NDN held an event with NDN President Simon Rosenberg, Vice President of NDN Hispanic Programs Andres Ramirez, and new NDN Fellow Morley Winograd to discuss the new 21st century coalition and Electoral College map that President-elect Obama used to win, and the implications for the future of American politics. In particular, the presentations focused on the rise of Millennials and Hispanics and the impact of these ascendant demographic groups.

In his presentation (PowerPoint available in PDF format here), Morley explained why he believes we are at the start of a new cycle of American politics, with a new "civic" generation entering public life for the first time since the 1930s. He argued that young voters' overwhelming support for President-elect Obama was not a flash in the pan, but rather an indication of the generation's political and social attitudes and beliefs -- attidutes and beliefs that, among other things, make them much more likely to self-identify as Democrats than Republicans. 

Andres then gave an excellent presentation (PDF available here) on the growing clout of Latino voters. Like Millennials, Hispanics significantly increased their turnout this election cycle, and voted in huge margins for President-elect Obama. Andres showed how the Latino vote was the decisive factor in four key swing states, and argued that Latinos are also poised to make other states (even Texas!) competetive in future elections. 

Finally, Simon put this all in a larger context, explaining how these developments, culminating in this truly historic election, mark the end of the Southern Strategy as a way to win Presidential elections.   

Thursday New Tools Feature: "Open for Questions" Now Open for Business

Back in October, I discussed the possibility of President-elect Obama embracing or recreating tools like as a way to make government more interactive and participatory. This week, Obama's transition site,, did just that by introducing its newest feature, a section called "Open for Questions." Built using the Google Moderator platform, Open for Questions allows users to sign in, submit their own questions, and vote on other people's questions. The top-rated ones will be answered by the transition team.

A few kinks remain to be worked out. After being up for only a couple of days, there are already more than 600,000 votes on more than 7,000 questions. However, the front page displays only the top-rated questions, except for one randomly-selected question at the top. This means that navigation of the questions is difficult, and it's easy for new questions to get quickly buried.  

Even so, this is a very promising system, and a lot of the top-rated entries are really excellent -- big, important questions that don't often get addressed on the campaign trail or in televised debates. Of course, the first thing on everyone's mind is the economy, and the first-rated question is

"What will you do to establish transparency and safeguards against waste with the rest of the Wall Street bailout money?"

But there are a lot of other interesting questions, too. A few examples from the top 20 questions that you might not have heard from George Stephanopoulos:

"What will you do to end the use of mercenary forces (ie Blackwater) by our military?"

"Will you consider legalizing marijuana so that the government can regulate it, tax it, put age limits on it, and create millions of new jobs and create a billion dollar industry right here in the U.S.?"

"Why are we rebuilding our national highway system instead of building high-speed passenger rail and revitalizing our cities and towns through the development of mass transit? Is this not key to our long-term economic and environmental well being?"

"Our agricultural policy, formed by Pres. Nixon, has resulted in our being both overfed and undernourished. Will you appoint a Secretary of Agriculture who understands that we have been operating using unsustainable/unhealthy farming practices?"

If they can get the navigation issues worked out, I think this feature has the potential to really shake up the debate and breathe some new life into the American political process. Of course, part of being a leader is prioritizing and making decisions, but I really hope that the Obama Administration works hard not just to ask for our input, but to thoughtfully answer the important questions that the American people are asking. 

Thursday New Tools Feature: *(Remix!)*

Today,  the Washington Post ran an excellent piece by Ceci Connolly about how President-elect Obama's incoming administration has "begun to draw on the high-tech organizational tools that helped get him elected to lay the groundwork for an attempt to restructure the U.S. health-care system." From the article: 

The Obama team, which recruited about 13 million online supporters during the presidential campaign and announced its vice presidential selection via text message, is now moving to apply those tools to the earliest stages of governing.

"This is the beginning of the reinvention of what the presidency in the 21st century could be," said Simon Rosenberg, president of the center-left think tank NDN. "This will reinvent the relationship of the president to the American people in a way we probably haven't seen since FDR's use of radio in the 1930s."

This is something that NDN has been talking about for some time: indeed, healthcare was the specific example used at our October 28, 2008 forum with Simon and Joe Trippi (for the C-SPAN footage, click here). It is good to see that the Obama administration is working to live up to its promise of a more open, bottom-up government. As the Washington Post article reports,

The Obama team chose to begin its high-tech grass-roots experiment on the issue of health care because "every American is feeling the pressure of high health costs and lack of quality care, and we feel it's important to engage them in the process of reform," said spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter.

It started with a simple 63-second video posted on, in which health advisers Dora Hughes and Lauren Aronson posed the question "What worries you most about the health-care system in our country?"

That triggered 3,700 responses, from personal tales of medical hardship to complaints about "socialized medicine." The cyber-conversation was interactive, allowing individuals to reply to one another and rate responses with a thumbs up or down. The top-scoring comment, a pitch for a "paradigm shift" toward prevention, had 82 thumbs up.

This is not the only good sign for open-source government coming from the Obama camp. This week, the transition site eliminated its old, traditional copyright policy and implemented "an Attribution 3.0 Unported License which allows anyone to use and even 'remix' whatever's found on the site, just as long as they tip their hat to the transition project as the original source of the material," according to TechPresident.

This approach of letting anyone use the content in creative ways has already paid dividends; separate versions of have been created for the iPhone and for other mobile devices, as well as an embeddable widget (below).

For more on how Obama will reinvent the Presidency as we know it, please see:

Monday Buzz: "Millennial Makeover" in NYT's Top 10 of 2008, the New Voters, Electron Superhighways, and More

It was a banner week for NDN fellows Morley Winograd and Mike Hais: their book, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube & the Future of American Politics, was named one of the top 10 books of 2008 by New York Times' Michiko Kakutani. From the Times feature:

In what turns out to have been a highly prescient book, the two authors predicted that 2008 would be a “change” election, informed by new technology and by the outlook of a new generation of millennial voters, who tend to be more inclusive, optimistic and tech-savvy than their elders.

Their work on Millennials was also featured in MarketWatch, the Toledo Blade, and the National Journal. The National Journal piece, "Where are the New Voters?", also features NDN's work on Hispanic issues:

"It's another indication that America went through a civic realignment in 2008," said Morley Winograd, a fellow with the progressive think tank and activist group NDN, and co-author of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics. Hispanic voters, too, have swung decisively to Democrats, NDN experts note, and increased their share of the electorate by 62 percent in Colorado, 50 percent in Nevada, and 28 percent in New Mexico.

Michael's recent essay, "Building the Electron Superhighway," was featured in the Huffington Post and Grist.

Rob was quoted in Forbes on President-elect Obama's economic team:

Rob Shapiro, an economist who was a top official in Clinton's Commerce Department, said Obama's selection of Geithner and Summers, as well as his wooing of Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, reflect Obama's interest in attracting expertise and people of strong will.

"It tells you that not only does President-elect Obama have respect for expertise, but that he is very comfortable in an administration with very major figures," said Shapiro, now an official with NDN, a think tank formerly known as the New Democratic Network.

Rob also was featured in the Huffington Post, Carbon Tax Center, and Computer Weekly.

Monday Buzz: "The Wired Whitehouse," Millennials' and Hispanics' Growing Electoral Clout, and More

In tandem with our enlightening event last week on the New Politics of the Obama Age, NDN also appeared in several stories over the past several days talking about how Obama is using technology to reinvent the presidency, including a front-page story on MSNBC, as well as stories in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Future Majority, News24, and Fox. The MSNBC article, which also embedded Simon's recent video blog on how Obama will Reinvent the Presidency and quoted our Obama Age forum panelist Scott Goodstein, began like this:

After a historic presidential election, the tech-savvy campaigners who helped put Barack Obama in the White House say the nation is in for an equally historic four years of tech-savvy governance.

The way the Obama campaign used blogs, texting, social networking and other Web 2.0 tools to win this month's election is just "the tip of the iceberg," said Simon Rosenberg, president and founder of the political advocacy group NDN.

Rob was quoted on subjects ranging from the proposed auto industry bailout to the impending economic stimulus in the Telegraph, CNN Money, The Age, the Daily Mail, and the Independent. From the Independent article:

Robert Shapiro, an economic adviser to Barack Obama's campaign and former US under-secretary of commerce for economic affairs, was particularly helpful to the Prime Minister. When Nick Robinson, the BBC's political editor, asked him what was the risk of a big stimulus package, he said there was "no risk, there is a cost – but there is a very large risk if we choose not to do it".

Our work  on building a durable 21st century majority coalition also made its way into the media narrative this week, with New York Magazine wondering, "Can Obama Hang On to His Youth Coalition?" and Crooks and Liars asking, "The Latino Vote: Can Democrats Lock It Up for a Generation?" Morley and Mike's work on Millennials also got play from DailyKos and the Jackson Free Press; NDN's work on immigration and Hispanic issues was featured in the Guardian, the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, the Reporter, Hispanic Trending, the Latino Journal, and Immigration Daily.

From the New York Magazine article:

this particular generation of young people are aligned with Obama on social issues. As a group, the "Millennial Generation" — those who will make up the under-30 crowd in the next several elections — are reliably more liberal on issues like gay marriage and stem-cell research than any other generation — and that's not likely to change, said Michael D. Hais and Morley Winograd, authors of Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics. They predict that young people will continue to vote Democratic, catalyzing a "political realignment" in this country that will play out in the next thirty years.

And from the Denver Post article, "Texas as a Swing State?":

Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, a veteran of the Clinton administration, said that Republicans have alienated Latinos largely because of the immigration issue. Rosenberg is the founder and president of NDN, a Democratic think tank that studies immigration and other issues.

He said that Republican rhetoric surrounding recent immigration bills in Congress offended all Hispanics. A major measure that would have given illegal immigrants a path to citizenship failed last year after a revolt from conservatives, who denounced it as an amnesty for lawbreakers.

"If they do that again, it’s going to be catastrophic for the Republican Party," he said.

Rosenberg said that Texas could become a swing state as early as 2012 depending on the level of Latino participation and whether the Democratic Party will continue to make investments in the community.

Finally, Simon's recent essay, The Long Road Back, was featured on DailyKos in Kos's Midday Open Thread, and our report on computer training for American workers was featured in Progressive States.

NDN to Host a Forum on Latin America and the Current Economic Crisis

NDN is proud to host the Honorable Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank and former Ambassador of Colombia to the United States, to discuss "The Current Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Latin America." This briefing will take place on Thursday, December 11, at 3 p.m. at NDN, 729 15th St., NW, 1st Floor.

Please RSVP as soon as possible. The event is open, but space is limited. Refreshments will be served. Please visit our Web site to view past events with the Ambassadors of Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and the Vice President of Panama.

Obama Pledges to Pass Economic Stimulus in Weekly YouTube Address

In his weekly YouTube address today, President-elect Obama addressed the worsening state of the economy, and vowed to pass a sweeping economic recovery bill as one of his first acts in office. Listen to his full statement here:

NDN has been a strong advocate for a stimulus package that invests in our long-term economic future as well as focusing on short-term recovery. To read some of our recent writing on the topic, check out Simon and Rob's essay, A Stimulus for the Long Run, and Michael's essay, Accelerating the Development of a 21st Century Economy.

Aside from the policy Obama is proposing, one interesting thing about this Web video is that Obama is now using the medium to build support for his initiative, using the internet as a powerful tool to advance his agenda by employing and expanding the base of supporters he built through the election.

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