NDN Blog

My 2016 Predictions

Each year The Hill newspaper invites some of us to make our predictions.  Here is what I just sent to them this morning: 

Presidential - Clinton wins 50-45, 334-204 in the Electoral College.  Our next President wins all the battleground states except GA, IA and OH. 

Senate - Democrats win the Senate, 50-50. 

House - Democrats pick up 15 seats in the House.

Short Analysis - W/2016 win, Dems will have won more votes in 6 of past 7 Presidential elections, among strongest showings by US political party in history.  Strength, success, achievement of modern Democratic Party underappreciated.  Problems with emerging electorate, esp. Hispanics and Millennials, so significant now they represent possible existential threat to GOP.  Watch Texas Tuesday night – higher % of Millennials & Hispanics than CA.  With Clinton’s convincing win and gridlock fatigue, will be hard for GOP to repeated Obama era level of obstruction.   Big conversation needed about Russian intervention in election, ways to prevent in future. 

Am honored to be the only two time winner of the Hill contest.  With HRC's strong showing, could be a threepeat!

AP Story Confirms Melania Lied, Broke Immigration Laws

The new AP story about Melania Trump proves she and her husband have been lying for years – on camera, in writing – about her immigration path into the United States, and whether she followed the law.  The story she been telling is a fable, an imaginary tale as false as the words she spoke at the Republican Convention. 

For those interested in pursuing this story further, several questions remain:

Work visas – Trumpworld has never produced or proven she ever had a work visa prior to her getting her green card in 2001.  Her on camera descriptions of her returning to her home country to get her visa stamped every few months does not describe any work visa offered by the US government.   It was, and remains, common for models to work illegally in the country for years as now know Melania did.  Not only did Melania clearly break immigration laws and lie about it, but if she lied about it on her green card application and naturalization documents she potentially committed felony level crimes – serious stuff.

Green Card – Questions remain about her green card.  A Trump family lawyer said in an on the record interview with Univision that she received her green card through marriage – which of course would be news.   In the recent letter from her lawyer – which we know now contained falsehoods – she claimed to have received an “extraordinary ability” green card.  Few experts believe this is possible given that she was never a terribly successful model.   It remains my opinion that until we see her actual green card and application – she could release it and her work visas tomorrow – we should assume she received her green card through marriage.   It is the only option that makes sense. 

Lying – Remember that the questions about her immigration path began when the campaign admitted that she had lied for years about having a dual college degree from a college in her home country, and had in fact gone to college for a year or less.   The reason that lying in this case and in the new stories from the AP matter is that if she lied on her green card and citizenship applications she will have committed multiple cases of fraud against the United States government.   These are felony level crimes – serious crimes – and if ever fully investigated and prosecuted could lead to the stripping of her citizenship.   The AP story also raises new questions about whether Mrs. Trump also committed tax fraud, a new area requiring exploration in coming days.  

It should be noted that being in the United States without authorization – undocumented/illegal – is not a federal crime in the United States.  So this means what Melania has done is far worse in the eyes of the law than anything a run of the mill undocumented immigrant has done.   It is almost certain now that Melania scammed her way into becoming an American citizen.

The Bottom Line – For months the story that has been told about Melania’s path into the United States never really added up.  We also now know that the letter her lawyer produced to try to put this thing to bed, which seemed far-fetched and almost ridiculous at the time, cannot any longer be taken seriously.   Melania Trump broke American immigration laws.   She worked illegally in the United States.  She has lied about it for years, as has her husband.  And until she produces her works visas and green card, and their applications, we should assume she has also committed serious felony level crimes against the United States.    

Column: The West Is On the Ballot

US News and World Report has published Simon's fifth column, "The West Is On The Ballot," in his weekly Op-Ed series that will every Thursday or Friday through the end of the year.

Be sure to also read his recent column, "The GOP Should Be Worried About Texas," in which Simon considers the demographic trends that show the state is on the precipice of going from red to blue.

An Excerpt from "The West Is On the Ballot"

In one of the more memorable riffs of the 2016 election, President Barack Obama recently said "My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot. Justice is on the ballot. Good schools are on the ballot. Ending mass incarceration – that's on the ballot right now!"

I increasingly fear that The West is on the ballot too.

By "The West" I am mean the big American led project after World War II to build a better and more interdependent world. Inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms, the United States along with our European allies chartered a course for the post war world that chose democracy, cooperation, market capitalism and peace over conflict, nationalism and authoritarianism, mercantilism and protectionism.

Arrangements and institutions like the U.N., NATO, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Trade Organization were built to advance this vision, and bring more nations and people into this emergent global system. The age of colonization ended. New nations were formed. The world began anew, and even old enemies like Germany and Japan were invited into the system.

Soon after World War II the ideas of the West developed a formidable global adversary – communism. America, along with the U.K. and our European allies and others around the world lead a four-decade cold war against Communism and its global advocates. In the late 1980s, global communism collapsed. The Soviet Union, its most significant global champion, split into 15 separate countries, including a newly-renamed Russia. After decades of global struggle, the Soviet Union/Russia was defeated ideologically and geopolitically. The West prevailed, and much of the story of the world since has the slow assimilation of rest of the world into this single global system imagined by FDR in the dying days of the second world war.

It is important to note that a key reason many rising nations over the past generation have gravitated towards this American-led global system it that it has worked. Colonialism ended. The right of self-determination of all nations no matter how small was enshrined in the founding principles of the U.N. Populations, standards of living, life expectancy have all exploded across the developing world, while rates of poverty and infant mortality have plummeted. The spread of the traditional and mobile Internet has helped spread modernity, technology and knowledge throughout the world, lessening the isolation many poor developing nations had been trapped in for centuries. While the world has seen conflict and war, there have no global conflagrations like the 20th century World Wars. All in all this global system has helped usher in what is undoubtedly the most broadly prosperous and peaceful time in all of human history.

Designing, advancing and preserving this global system has been a world-altering historic achievement by the United States and leaders of both parties over the past 70 years. No major candidate for president during this period has questioned the project, the values that animate it or America's leadership of it. Until Donald Trump that is.

To continue reading, please refer to the US News link. You can Simon's previous US News columns here.

Memo: 2016 Through A Millennial Lens – Some Initial Thoughts

One of the more dramatic and potentially disruptive demographic developments in recent American politics has been the explosion of Millennials into the American electorate. In terms of voting age population, Millennials now equal the other large American generation, the Boomers. 70m Millennials will be voting age in 2016, 20m more than 2012 and 35m more than 2008.

We’ve already seen the impact a big demographic change can bring to American politics. In 2004, George W. Bush won the 6 states in what we call the “Latin Belt” – AZ, CO, FL, NM, NV and TX. Today, due to rising numbers of Hispanic voters in these states, higher levels of turnout and an embrace of the Democrats, Clinton is likely to win 5 of these 6 states. Coming a few years later than a big transformation of formerly Red California, several polls of late have Texas within margin of error. Democratic gains in these heavily Hispanic states have changed the electoral map.

The same will be true for Millennials. But as they’ve been voting about 2 to 1 for Democrats it would make sense for us to begin to see disruption inside the Democratic Party first – something we did see in the Presidential primary this year with Bernie Sanders. What impact is this big Millennial surge having on the general election? We won’t know until after November 8th, but we offer some initial thoughts below. For the purposes of this analysis, we broke down each state by share of Millennial population, and ranked them. You can find that breakdown with an explanation of the methodology we used at the end of this document.

Top States by Millennial %

Bottom States by Millennial %

Alaska, Texas, Utah – three traditionally Republican states that appear to be leaning far more towards the Democrats than many anticipated are in the top five states in terms of Millennial share of their population. Alaska is 3rd, Utah 4th, Texas 5th.

A look at the recent CBS track of Texas which found the race 46% Trump 43% Clinton shows what an impact their Millennial surge is having on the partisan orientation of the state. For comparison we offer the national breakouts from this week’s Economist/YouGov poll, which had the national race 46% Clinton 43% Trump. For the record, this poll has the national 18-29 year old Trump a little lower than others. But you get the idea.


 

We put the Economist demographic breakdowns into a graph, below.  It is important to note here that the demographic break that is emerging isn’t just with Millennials.  Under 45s are now leaning dramatically towards the Democrats (essentially people who came of age after the Cold War ended).  The obvious conclusion from this data is that if these rough partisan affiliations hold as more younger people enter the electorate and vote they will make the country and many states far more blue.  The first states to be effected will be those with the largest Millennial share – states like the three above.  

We put the Economist demographic breakdowns into a graph, below. It is important to note here that the demographic break that is emerging isn’t just with Millennials. Under 45s are now leaning dramatically towards the Democrats (essentially people who came of age after the Cold War ended). The obvious conclusion from this data is that if these rough partisan affiliations hold as more younger people enter the electorate and vote they will make the country and many states far more blue. The first states to be effected will be those with the largest Millennial share – states like the three above.

The Big Battlegrounds – Another interesting trend is recent erosion of Florida and Ohio for Clinton. Both are in the bottom tier of states by Millennial population – Ohio clocking in at 42nd, and Florida 47th. Something Democrats will have to watch going forward is many of the important battlegrounds have below average Millennial percentages. MI is 40th, WI 41st, OH 42nd, PA 43rd, FL 47th, NH 49th, ME 51st (we include DC here as a state). If older people are trending a bit more Republican, these states provide fewer Millennials to make up that lost ground; but even these states are feeling the effect of this flood of new young voters.

The Millennials Are Coming – Since 2008, the country has gained 35m more Millennials of voting age. Assuming a 50% turnout rate and 2 to 1 support for Dems, this is about 6m net new votes for Democrats. As Millennials age and their turnout rates increase, the number of Millennial voters will increase as will their political influence. It is hard to see how today how this isn’t anything but an existential threat to the current Republican Party – their nominee is losing under 30s by more than 20 points even in Texas today, and between 25 and 40 points depending on the poll for the nation as a whole.

We will report back in the days after the election to see how this all plays out.

Note: We have ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia in descending order by 2016 Millennial percentage. All the raw data is from the 2015 census. The “2016 Percentage” column approximates the # of Millennials 18 and older as a percentage of the total population of each state. It uses the 20-34 totals and takes 60% of the 15-19, given that people aged 17, 18 and 19 could vote in this election. This is an approximation of course, and we acknowledge the actual percentages will be a bit smaller given that not every 205 17 year old will be old enough to vote this year, and the populations of most states will have increased.

The “2018 Millennial column” looks at the percentage of Millennials per state assuming all 2015 15-19 year olds would be old enough to vote. Like in the first formula, this is construction is an approximation. Things will no doubt change in all these state between 2015 and 2018, but these are still apples to apples comparisons.

We would like to acknowledge that we leaned heavily on data from the Pew Hispanic Center, the Pew Research Center, and the US Census Bureau for this analysis.

ROI and NDN

Dear Friends,

As you look across the American political and policy landscape today, you can see evidence of the investments our community has made in bringing forth new thinking.

From the Cuba opening to stories about America’s changing demography, to discussions about immigration, the border and the US Mexican relationship to the virtues of TPP and American leadership on the global stage, to wrestling with how the digital opportunity we all sense is realized to years of thought leadership about how American can succeed in a new age of globalization, our small team of innovative thinkers and policy makers have helped chart a better course for our nation during a time of change and challenge.

Which is why we write to you today. Yes there are many calls on your civic minded capital, but we hope you find in yourself to make one more contribution to NDN of any amount – $25, $50 or more – today.

Our investments together have paid off. The conversation about our future and our nation itself is better off today in part because of our far sighted work.

So please consider doing what you can. For our small organization each contribution counts, and will help us end this year strong and be ready for what will be an all important year of policy battles in 2017.

Best,
Simon

Column: "The GOP Should Be Worried About Texas"

US News and World Report has published Simon's fourth column, "The GOP Should Be Worried About Texas," in his weekly Op-Ed series that will every Thursday or Friday through the end of the year.

Be sure to also read his recent column, "Why Democrats Dominate," in which Simon considers what perhaps may be the most important political story of the past generation: the transformation of Democratic Party into a successful governing party with popular leaders well regarded by the American people. 

An Excerpt from "The GOP Should Be Worried About Texas"

Responding to a series of recent polls showing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton within striking distance in Texas, Real Clear Politics has moved it from a "lean red" to "toss up" state. In this memorable political year, the apparent move of Texas from red to purple state has to be considered one of the more significant and unexpected developments, particularly since Clinton and the Democratic National Committee have made no effort to put the state in play.

It is hard to overstate the importance of Texas to the national Republican Party. It is the only big state left in the country that Republicans regularly win at the presidential level. It produced the only two Republican presidents since Reagan, and has produced many more important national Republicans, such as Tom DeLay, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and John Cornyn. It exports hundreds of millions of dollars to GOP organizations and candidates across the country. And perhaps most importantly, there are more Republicans in Congress from Texas than any other state, and many of them are in positions of leadership. Losing Texas, or even having it become competitive, would be a significant blow to the national GOP.

They better get ready.

Key to President George W. Bush's narrow victories was his success in heavily Hispanic states. Over the course of two elections he won Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Texas twice, and New Mexico once. As the Hispanic population has surged throughout the country, and become about two to one Democratic along the way, these states – with the exception of Texas – have drifted away from the GOP.

Today, Clinton leads in the five states other than Texas, and the Trump campaign isn't even competing in Colorado or New Mexico. And we all know the story of California, the first state to go through this demographic transformation. The state which helped birth the modern conservative movement and gave us the two Republican presidents prior to the Bushes – Reagan and Nixon – is on the verge of seeing its Republican Party go out of business.

To continue reading, please refer to the US News link. You can Simon's previous US News columns here.

Column: Democrats In Midst of Historic Presidential Run

Last week US News and World Report  published Simon's third column, "Democrats Will Dominate," in his weekly Op-Ed series that will every Thursday or Friday through the end of the year.

Be sure to also read his recent column, "Calling all Patriots," which argues it is time for Republicans to once again find their inner patriot and work with the Democrats to keep the Russians from intervening in our election, and to make it easier for Americans to vote.  

An Excerpt from "Democrats Will Dominate"

If the polls are right, and Hillary Clinton wins on Nov. 8, Democrats will have won more votes in six of the past seven presidential elections. This successful run is among the most significant periods of dominance by an American political party in U.S. history. Perhaps the only run that has topped this was Thomas Jefferson's Democrat-Republican Party, which won six consecutive elections beginning in 1800, or FDR and Harry Truman's run in the mid-20th century. But nothing else really compares.

Acknowledging the historic success of the modern Democrats matters, for it unlocks a deeper and perhaps inconvenient truth about our politics often obscured in the daily chatter – there is a vast difference between the two American political parties today. A Bloomberg poll released Tuesday does a good job capturing these differences:

48 percent see the Democratic Party favorably, 47 percent unfavorably. 35 percent see the GOP favorably, 61 percent unfavorably.

45 percent of Americans identify as Democrats, just 38 percent as Republican.

In a recent U.S. News column, I offered an explanation for why the Democrats have been so successful. Since the end of the Cold War, when the world did indeed begin to go through profound change, each party has had control of the White House twice. Both Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama will have left America better than they found it, leaving behind lower unemployment rates and annual deficits, rising incomes and soaring stock markets. Over their presidencies you can point to many other policy successes too – improvements in our health care system, welfare reform, the expansion of the earned income tax credit, establishment of the modern global trading system, Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy and his progress on tackling climate change, the ending of al-Qaida, and a series of decisions that helped the global internet develop and flourish.

Finding similar successes during the two Bush presidencies is far more difficult. Each left office with the country in recession, leaving higher unemployment rates, soaring annual deficits, declining incomes and the second Bush even a declining stock market. Credit George W. Bush with the establishment of a Medicare prescription drug benefit and his global AIDS initiatives (neither loved by fellow GOPers) and George H.W. Bush with the successful execution of the first Iraq War (yes, debatable). But that's about it.

To continue reading, please refer to the US News link. You can also find more of Simon's US News articles here.

Chances of a Wave Are Rising

The changes in the Presidential race over the last three weeks – since the 1st debate – have been dramatic. Once a 2-3 point race, Clinton’s lead today in the Huffington Post poll average is almost 8 points this morning. This graph from the Politico/Morning Consult poll is worth reviewing, to remind us that Trump’s dive began with his own performance in the 1st debate – not with the emergence of the Trump tape and its aftermath as he has been suggesting in recent days:


On the big question of whether this turns into a wave election for the Democrats, I would argue that new data out this week suggests the chances are rising. Obama’s job approval in Gallup has been hovering in the mid 50s, the highest mark of his second term – and rising. Using the Huffington Post pollster site, Party ID which was in narrow band of 1-5 points for the Democrats most of the year is now closer to 7 – and widening. The Congressional Generic which was 2-3 points a few weeks ago is now close to 6, and a majority of recent polls have had it 5 plus. The Morning Consult/Politico track had it 3 on October 8, 5 on October 10th and 7 today. And has we covered in our recent report on the economy, virtually all economic indicators and perceptions of the economy by voters are trending upward – quite a way to end an election.

What is likely to turn this election into a wave is if the many Millennials who are still supporting third party candidates break into party line Democrats and vote. If that happens, what appears to a good election for Democrats could turn into a very good one – perhaps even a wave.

Time Now for Republicans to Stand Up For America and Its Democratic Tradition

The repeated assertion by Donald Trump that the upcoming election is “rigged” and thus illegitimate needs to be denounced forcefully by all Republicans, including the Chairman of the Republican Party, Reince Preibus. It is not only an unprecedented attack on the legitimacy of our political system by the nominee of an American political party, it is disturbingly resonant of the strategic aims of Vladimir Putin – to weaken the image of democratic capitalism and the West in the eyes of the world. Republicans must rediscover their inner patriot immediately – and not just denounce Trump’s outrageous claims, but also repudiate the involvement of a foreign adversary and its allied institutions like WikiLeaks in an American election.

The GOP’s drift from full throated support of American democratic norms is not something new to our politics. From shutting the government down as a tactic in a normal budget negotiation, to yelling “liar” at the President during the State of the Union, to an historic abuse of the Senate filibuster, to denying President Obama his Constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court Justice, the national Republican Party has been crossing lines that should not be crossed in our democracy far too often in recent years.

But there has been perhaps no greater betrayal of the American creed than the systemic effort by Republicans across the country in the last several years to make it harder for Americans to vote. While in theory one could defend the idea of “voter ID,” courts now have repeatedly determined that the way it has been crafted by Republicans have been unconstitutional and illegal; and the other steps taken by Republicans in the name of “reform” to eliminate early voting windows, reduce the number of polling locations and erect barriers for registration have been designed with only one malevolent intent in mind – to make it harder for everyday people to participate in their own democracy. As Ari Berman has noted in recent days, Republican in four states who had their new election laws tossed out or altered – North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin – are continuing to use restrictive practices already outlawed by the courts in this election as we speak. No Republican leader of course has stood up to repudiate this shameful national strategy which to me is as gross a violation of democratic norms as anything Trump has done or said this year.

In the days ahead Republicans have been given an extraordinary opportunity to reaffirm their patriotism and support of our inspirational democratic tradition for all Americans to see. If they fail to seize it, we may witnessing one of the greatest betrayals of our democratic tradition by a political party in all of American history.

-Simon Rosenberg, NDN

Simon recently covered these topics in a major op-ed for US News & World Report, "Calling all Patriots".

Column: A Call For Rs to Find Inner Patriot, Strengthen US Democracy

Simon has signed up with US News and World Report to write a column every Thursday or Friday through the end of the year. His first column, "How America Prospers in a Global Age," ran last week. His new column, "Calling all Patriots," argues it is time for Republicans to once again find their inner patriot and work with the Democrats to keep the Russians from intervening in our election, and to make it easier for Americans to vote.   

The piece was well received yesterday when it was released. DNC Chair Donna Brazile for example tweeted it to her many followers. You can read the whole piece here, and we include an excerpt below.  Check here and at US News each week for new insights from Simon. 

Simon released a related statement on Monday, October 17th. 

Excerpt from the article:

In the past week, we've seen Republicans from across the country denounce Donald Trump for his vulgar remarks caught on tape by Access Hollywood. Some, like John McCain, have said the remarks were so disturbing that he was no longer capable of voting for the GOP presidential nominee this fall.

While in a reflective mood about the future, their nominee and party, I would like to suggest two other activities Republicans should swiftly denounce and distance themselves from – the national effort to make it harder for Americans to participate in their democracy, and the attempt by a foreign adversary to intervene in and disrupt our upcoming election.

First, the pernicious effort to make it harder for Americans to vote. In the aftermath of Barack Obama's historic win in 2008, Republicans in dozens of states took steps to make it harder for people to vote. Their efforts ran the gamut – making registration far more difficult, eliminating the use of student IDs for voting even at public universities, cutting early voting windows, radically reducing the number of polling locations in heavily Democratic areas and, of course, successfully gutting the Voting Rights Act. It has been an all-out, national, party-wide effort to make it harder for every day Americans to participate in their democracy, and it has affected tens of millions of people including in big states like North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

In several states, courts have invalidated some of the more extreme measures. But what is perhaps most remarkable is how hard current GOP leaders are fighting court mandated changes in their laws. Election officials in Texas and Wisconsin have continued to follow practices declared illegal by courts in this current election. In North Carolina, a federal court recently invalidated their law, writing that it "targeted African Americans with almost surgical precision." Not deterred by being labeled racist, the Republicans of North Carolina, supported by Trump, appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. Gratefully the Supreme Court denied to hear the appeal and this awful law was struck down.

This renewed embrace of time worn voter suppression tactics is particularly worrisome given America's already low rate of voting. As I wrote in U.S. News earlier this year, low rates of voter participation weaken our democracy by limiting the actual amount of consent Americans are giving to their leaders. For a party so powerfully inspired by the Revolutionary call of "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," it is hard to understand how they've ended up embracing systemic efforts by politicians making it harder for the American people to exercise their liberties and keep our historic political system vibrant and strong.

To continue reading, please refer to the US News link. You can also find more of Simon's US News articles here.

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