Our Most Important Battle - Please Support the Good Work of NDN Today

Dear Friends,

For more than a decade now NDN has helped our elected leaders and policy makers better understand the big changes sweeping America and the world. We’ve helped lead ongoing conversations about demography, technology and media, globalization and its related geopolitics for over a decade now. Along the way we’ve had some inspiring victories and accomplished some important things. But no time in our history feels as important as today and these early days of the new era of Trump.

These past few months we’ve been heads down, helping create early understandings about what exactly we and the world are dealing with. We wrote early on about Trump’s worrisome and potentially treasonous relationship with Russia; his unprecedented corruption and willingness to ignore long held Democratic norms; his dramatic reluctance to align himself with the West and its values; his reckless economic policies and betrayal of the voters who elected him; and his inhumane immigration crackdown. In each of these areas NDN has made early and sustained contributions to creating a better understanding of what was indeed happening.

But it has not all been about Trump. We’ve offered a series of pieces about the future of the Democratic Party; about the need for Democrats to embrace their sound economic stewardship over the past generation as the critical first piece of the development of a new and compelling agenda; about the need to let the Democrat’s generational wheel turn and a new wave of promising leaders to step forward; about the need to be patriots now not partisans; and about the urgency of Democrats to assume responsibility for the global order built by previous generations of Americans and work to both modernize and preserve it for our kids and theirs. We can’t beat something with nothing as has been said, and we are also trying to do our part to help ensure what comes next for the center-left is even better than what we’ve had.

So, yes, we’ve been busy. But that’s what we are here for, and why we need your support today. There is a lot of work to be done. And your support is what makes it all possible. I hope you will step up with a contribution of whatever amount makes sense – $25, $50, $100, more. As you know well it is the generosity of our community that makes all this cutting edge and impactful work possible.

So please do give today. We don’t have a grassroots army or compelling television ads. But we do have years of experience, resilient keyboards and powerful insights – and those too have their place in our current and extraordinary struggle. Your support will ensure the good work just keeps on coming at this critical time.


Is America Still a Top Destination for Immigrants?

American exceptionalism has become a theme of our immigration debate.  From both sides, we hear that America is a uniquely desirable place that, for good or ill, draws an outsized share of the world’s immigrants.  The truth of this matter is that large-scale immigration is a worldwide phenomenon tied to contemporary globalization.  Porous borders and rising education levels have allowed tens of millions of people in developing societies to become more mobile, and new communications and transportation technologies give everyone access to information about other countries and ways to get there.  Perhaps most important, rising global demand has created vast new opportunities for foreign labor – whether it’s to bolster shrinking labor pools across much of Europe, provide services in thinly-populated, oil-rich countries in the Middle East, or cater to wealthy global elites in dozens of tax havens.

So, despite dire warnings that U.S. immigration reform will set off another invasion of America by new immigrants, the data show that many other countries are stronger magnets for foreign workers than the United States.  In fact, when it comes to foreign-born residents, America looks fairly average.

It is true that more foreign-born people live in America today than anywhere else.  But that’s mainly because we are a very large country, with more native-born people as well than anywhere except China and India.  And most of our immigrants came here with our permission: Two-thirds of all foreign-born people living in the United States are naturalized citizens or legal permanent resident aliens, and another 4 percent have legal status as temporary migrants.  That leaves about 30 percent who are undocumented.   

Consider the percentages of foreign-born residents living today in various nations:  America with just under 13 percent of its population foreign-born, according to U.N. data, ranks 40th in the world for immigrants as a share of the population.  By contrast, across the 10 most immigrant-intensive countries, foreign-born people account for between 77 percent and 42 percent of their total populations. 

These unusually high proportions of immigrants appear to be generally linked to global trade and finance.  In the top 10, for example, we first set aside the special cases of Macau and Hong Kong, whose Chinese populations are counted as foreign-born, and Vatican City.  Of the remaining seven nations, four are in the Middle-East – Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Bahrain – where tens of thousands of foreign workers are needed to help meet global demand for oil and provide services for native populations grown wealthy off of their oil.  The other three countries in the top 10 are global tax havens and financial centers – Andorra, Monaco, and Singapore -- that draw thousands of global elites followed by foreign workers to provide their services.  

The next 10 most immigrant-heavy countries, where foreign-born persons comprise between 42 percent and 22 percent of their populations, include five more tax havens (Nauru in Micronesia, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, San Marino, and Switzerland) and three more oil rich, Middle Eastern countries (Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Brunei).  The two others in this group are the special cases of Israel, where Jewish national identity is the draw, and Jordan, home to tens of thousands of people displaced by the Iraqi and Israel-Arab conflicts.

Beyond the top 20 countries for foreign-born residents, numerous other nations that more closely resemble the United States, in economic opportunities and social benefits, also draw immigrants in greater relative numbers than America.  For example, some 19 percent to 20 percent of the populations of Australia and Canada are foreign-born, compared to our 13 percent.  Austria, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway also lead the United States in immigrants as a share of their populations, as do the smaller and less-advanced nations of Estonia, Latvia, Belize, Ukraine, Croatia, and Cyprus.   A similar pattern emerges from OECD data covering 25 industrialized countries from 2001 to 2010.  Over that decade, the share of the American population born somewhere else has averaged 12.1 percent.  By this measure, the United States trails not only such countries as Australia, Austria, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Israel, as noted above, but also Sweden, Germany, and Belgium. 

This pattern also does not change much when we look at the most recent, annual “net migration rates” of various countries (2012).  That’s a standard demographic measure calculated by taking the number of people coming into a country, less the number of people who leave, and divide by 1,000.   Using that measure, the United States ranked 26th in the world.   At 3.6 net immigrants per-1,000 in 2012, we trail far behind three oil-rich countries averaging 24.1 net immigrants per-1,000 (Qatar, UAE, and Bahrain), 13 tax havens averaging 10.8 per-1,000 (from the British Virgin Islands and the Isle of Man, to the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg), and two countries that have become sanctuaries for refugees (Botswana and Djibouti at 14.9 per 1,000).  In addition, at least four other advanced countries also had much higher net migration rates last year -- Australia, Canada, Spain and Italy, averaging 5.3 net immigrants per-1,000 or a rate nearly 50 percent higher than for the United States.

Given the role of labor demand in migration flows and the particular demand in the United States for skilled workers, it is also unsurprising that, according to the Census Bureau, almost 70 percent of foreign-born people residing here, by age 25 or older, are high school graduates.  In fact, nearly 30 percent hold college degrees, the same share as native-born Americans.  On the less-skilled part of the distribution, of course, we find many undocumented male immigrants.  But as we showed in a 2011 analysis for NDN and the New Politics Institute,  undocumented male immigrants also have the highest labor participation rates in the country:  Among men age 18 to 64 years, 94 percent of undocumented immigrants work or actively seek work, compared to 83 percent of native-born Americans, and 85 percent of immigrants with legal status.

On balance, the data show that the United States is not home to an unusually large share of immigrants, legal and otherwise.  As globalization has increased the demand for labor in dozens of countries while lowering the barriers to people moving to other places for work, America has become fairly average as a worldwide destination.   

This post was originally published in Dr. Shapiro's blog


Center-Right Nation?

New Gallup study shows:

- Democrats still hold a substantial national Party ID advantage: 49-41%.

- 33 states show substantial Democratic Party ID advantage.   Only 5 show substantial GOP Party ID advantage. 

And make sure you take a look at the map in the study.  It is amazing rebuke of the everything going the right's way narrative so hot in DC right now:

Gallup Map

Immediate Job Opening at NDN/NPI - Editor, Writer

We will be announcing several new openings this week.  This one is the first:

Editor, Writer - NDN and the New Policy Institute seek an experienced editor to manage our content, oversee the execution of web communications strategies, and engage with our readers and supporters. Specific responsibilities include: maintaining and managing several websites and ensuring effective placement of content; promoting and distributing major work to the media and other interested parties; managing social media presences (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.); tracking and analyzing traffic trends; and writing for the NDN and New Policy Institute sites and blogs.

Job Requirements:

  • 2+ years of previous experience as an editor with significant experience working with web content
  • Excellent writing skills and experience writing for web
  • Experience using content management systems and familiarity with Drupal and WordPress
  • Functional knowledge of HTML/CSS (some PHP experience a plus)
  • Organizational, communications, and multitasking skills, and a strong ability to work independently

Additional Qualifications:

  • Experience using social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, preferably for specific organizations, causes, or campaigns
  • Previous experience in center-left politics 
  • Visual/Graphic design experience

Salary and benefits package commensurate with experience.

Send cover letter, resume, 2 clips or writing samples and references by Feb 10th to jobs@ndn.org.

Alicia Menendez Joins the NDN Team

I am excited to announce a wonderful new addition to the NDN/NPI family - Alicia Menendez.   Alicia is a good friend, a thoughtful television commentator, and has spent years working on issues and strategies complementary to our work at NDN.  She will be coming on board to help advise me and the NDN team on a wide range of strategic issues, represent us in the media and in public and private gatherings, and continue her advocacy for and study of the Millennial generation and Hispanics.   She will be joining us full time later this month. 

I've known Alicia for many years now and am very excited to have her join our team.  Look for her on the blog, on TV, facebook, twitter and all the ways we all connect these days - soon.

More About Alicia and the Position

Alicia Menendez is a Senior Advisor to NDN and its sister organization, the New Policy Institute.  As Senior Advisor, Ms. Menendez will help guide the direction of the two organizations, represent the organization in the national media and at public and private gatherings, and work on NDN/NPI's projects on the rapidly changing  American electorate. 

Ms. Menendez comes to NDN/NPI as a well-established television commentator and experienced organizer in important emerging communities.  You can find her talking about national politics just about every week on the cable news networks, Fox and MSNBC. She is a veteran of both Rock the Vote and Democracia USA, successful organizations dedicated to increasing the participation of Millennials and Hispanics in the electoral process.  

She also spent time as a television segment producer and on-air contributor for RNN TV in New York, and was a primary surrogate on her father's successful 2006 bid for the US Senate in New Jersey.

Alicia graduated from Harvard in 2005, and had the honor to deliver the undergraduate commencement speech at her graduation ceremony that year.

The Four Freedoms

Been thinking about the concepts of liberty and freedom a bit of late.  Wanted to revisit, with you, one of the great articulations of these ideas, FDR's Four Freedoms:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way--everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want--which, translated into universal terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants--everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear--which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor--anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

Heading to Japan at the End of the Month

Thanks to a major foundation in Japan I am off to visit Tokyo and Kyoto at the very end of the month.  While there I will be giving a series of talks about American government and politics, and meeting with politicians, academics, business leaders and the members of the media.  I am looking forward to it of course, and will provide more details as we get them.  I think there will be a public event or two on the schedule which would allow folks in the NDN network to invite friends of theirs in Japan to come by and join the conversation.   

So, two things.  First thoughts on things I should do while there? Sites, restaurants, places of historical significance?  Books or articles I should read to prepare?  Please let me know. 

Second, just a big thank you to the members of NDN who have helped make this trip possible.  In the last two years I have visited Mexico twice, Chile, Great Britain and Israel.  All of these trips have incredibly informative for me and NDN, and have helped make sure that the global perspective we are trying to fashion at NDN is informed by more than just stuff we are picking up on the internet, or people we meet or feature in DC.   I am planning a few more interesting trips next year, and will let know as they develop.

These recent and future trips are only possible because of the generousity of supporters, so I end with big thanks to all of you who fund our work at NDN and our sister organization, the New Policy Institute.

NDN Kicks Off Fall Fundraising Drive - Can You Help?

Today, NDN kicks off a new, important fall fundraising drive. Our goal is to raise an additional $100,000 by the end of October, bringing in the last bit we need to reach our 2009 fundraising goals before the crush of the winter holiday season.

You can support our effort with a contribution of $25, $50, $250, $1,000 or more by visiting our site or clicking on this link today.

As you are aware, NDN does not make solicitations like this very often, and only when we really need the help. I am proud to say that despite the tough economic climate NDN and its affiliate, the New Policy Institute, are on track to raise as much as we raised last year, and perhaps even exceed 2008 levels. But given how unpredictable this year has been, we don’t want to wait till December to find out whether we hit our year end numbers, competing all the while with family time and other charitable giving that comes at that time of year.  If we can raise this additional money by October 31st, we will hit our year end numbers, and will end the year having hit our programmatic goals and in good shape to take on the many important battles of 2010.

Over the coming weeks, on our site and this blog, I will be providing even great context on why we believe that NDN is deserving of your support.  Several of our most loyal supporters have already stepped up to make initial contributions, and to help encourage others to do so. I hope that you too will do the same at some point over the next few weeks.

These are exciting and challenging times for those of us in the center-left think tank business. I am pleased with the contribution NDN is making, and hope that we can count on you to help us end the year as strong as we began it. 

Thank you.

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