Overview – This report looks at the economic performance of the two American political parties when in the White House since the end of the Cold War. You can find the full report below, as an attachment.
We use 1989 as a starting point for comparison because when it comes to the American and global economies, the collapse of Communism and the non-aligned movement ushered in a new, truly global economic era, one very different from the one that came before. It is thus fair to see how the two parties have adapted to the enormous changes this new era has offered, and whether their policies have helped America prosper or struggle as we and the world changed.
As you will see from the following analysis, the contrast between the performance of the Democrats and Republicans in this new economic era is stark: 2 GOP Presidencies brought recessions, job loss, higher annual deficits, and struggle for workers; the 2 Democratic Presidencies brought recovery and growth, job and income gains, and lower annual deficits.
Based on these findings it is fair to assert that over the past generation the Democratic Party has been far more effective at crafting effective responses to a new economic era than the Republican Party. This case is bolstered, of course, when recalling the GOP’s spirited predictions of economic calamity when opposing both the 1993 Clinton economic plan and budget and the 2009/2010 Obama stimulus and “job-killing” Affordable Care Act.
The Republicans have gotten it wrong now in four consecutive Presidencies.
While it will not be the subject of this short report, our findings raise questions about whether the characterizations of the US economy as one not producing income and wage gains either over 40 years or over the past 15 years are accurate. It would appear that a more accurate description of the US economy in recent years is that with smart policies, Americans can prosper even in a more challenging and competitive global age.
Key Findings From The Report:
Job Growth: Over the Clinton and Obama Presidencies, more than 30m new net jobs were created. In contrast, during the two Bush Presidencies, approximately 3.5m jobs were created.
GDP Growth: Both Democratic Presidents saw the GDP rate rise during their Presidencies. The first President Bush saw GDP hold steady during his tenure. The second President Bush saw GDP decline.
Unemployment Rate: Both Democratic presidents saw more than a 3% point decrease in the unemployment rate during their terms. The Bushes saw increases in the unemployment rate by more than 2% and 3% points respectively.
Income: Both Bush Presidencies saw Americans experience decline in their median income, while during the Presidencies of Presidents Obama and Clinton Americans experienced gains. The newly reported 2015 increase in median income of almost $3,000 is the largest ever recorded since statistics began being kept in 1967.
Deficits: Both Democratic presidents saw dramatic improvements in the annual deficit during their tenures, with Clinton turning large structural deficits into annual surpluses and Obama cutting the annual deficit he inherited by one half. Both Bushes saw increases in the annual deficit on their watches, with the second President Bush seeing a more than ten-fold increase in the annual deficit during his presidency, one of the greatest explosions of debt in US history.
Public Opinion About the US Economy: Survey after survey finds Americans believing that things are far better, and improving. According to one new report, the President’s job approval on the economy stands at its highest mark since 2009. A new report from Gallup finds fully 80% of Americans are satisfied with their current standard of living.
Healthcare: The uninsured rate has plummeted, while the growth of health care costs – a significant driver of the US budget deficit – has slowed. Slower cost growth and healthier Americans are good for the American economy, businesses and the nation as a whole.
Energy: President Obama’s “all of the above” approach has a rousing success for the nation, increasing domestic production, lowering energy costs for American businesses, lessening our dependence on foreign sources of energy while giving the US a leg up on the new energy technologies of the future.
Again, you can find the full report, below, complete with lots of charts and graphs. Enjoy.
Our friends at the Open Source Election Technology Foundation (OSET) penned this thoughtful piece in The Hill as a response to the news reports of foreign interference in our elections process.
Some key passages:
"Part of the problem is that by design, our nation’s voting infrastructure is a balkanized system comprised of a small number of vendors’ machinery, combined with a variety of ways of casting and counting ballots. While a large-scale national attack is highly unlikely, such would be unnecessary to derail a general election. In fact, it only requires a targeted attack of a few machines in a key county of a swing State."
"While candidates on the left and the right use the new four-letter word “rigged” and call for election observers, we need to understand that elections officials work hard to make sure the charges of people voting multiple times and other illegal activity doesn’t occur. There are straightforward, low-tech things we can do today to improve the integrity of our elections."
"Longer term, we need careful consideration of what it would mean to designate America’s voting systems as “critical (democracy) infrastructure.” The U.S. Department of Homeland Security cannot do this in a vacuum. They must proactively collaborate with States’ election professionals, and engage with all relevant parties to ensure a long-term sustainable and scalable approach."
"And digital innovation must be a part of that discussion, because the casting and counting of 120 million+ ballots in time for orderly transfer of Presidential powers can no longer be done in time by hand. And we need to think through the continuing challenges of our fellow Americans needing to cast ballots remotely, especially our military from overseas. Meager and finite budgets are forcing vulnerabilities into the systems — emailing or uploading a cast ballot is not secure."
You can learn more about OSET and the organization's great work here.
On Wednesday August 31st Donald Trump gave his highly anticipated immigration speech in Arizona after returning from a trip to Mexico with President Enrique Peña Nieo. Several passages from the speech are critical to understanding what Trump actually means and has proposed as future US immigration policy. We have compiled the passages we believe demand closer scrutiny.
Key Passages from Trump Immigration Speech
“For those here today illegally who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and only one route: to return home and apply for re-entry under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined above. Those who have left to seek entry under this new system will not be awarded surplus visas, but will have to enter under the immigration caps or limits that will be established.
We will break the cycle of amnesty and illegal immigration. There will be no amnesty.
Our message to the world will be this: you cannot obtain legal status, or become a citizen of the United States, by illegally entering our country.....
......In a Trump administration all immigration laws will be enforced, will be enforced. As with any law enforcement activity, we will set priorities. But unlike this administration, no one will be immune or exempt from enforcement. And ICE and Border Patrol officers will be allowed to do their jobs the way their jobs are supposed to be done.
Anyone who has entered the United States illegally is subject to deportation. That is what it means to have laws and to have a country. Otherwise we don’t have a country."
"Number Three: Zero tolerance for criminal aliens.
According to federal data, there are at least 2 million criminal aliens now inside the country. We will begin moving them out day one, in joint operations with local, state and federal law enforcement.
Beyond the 2 million, there are a vast number of additional criminal illegal immigrants who have fled or evaded justice. But their days on the run will soon be over. They go out, and they go out fast.
Moving forward, we will issue detainers for all illegal immigrants who are arrested for any crime whatsoever, and they will be placed into immediate removal proceedings. We will terminate the Obama Administration’s deadly non-enforcement policies that allow thousands of criminal aliens to freely roam our streets.
Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who not detained or processed for deportation.
My plan also includes cooperating closely with local jurisdictions to remove criminal aliens.
We will restore the highly successful Secure Communities program. We will expand and revitalize the popular 287(g) partnerships, which will help to identify hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens in local jails. Both of these programs have been recklessly gutted by this Administration. This is yet one more area where we are headed in a totally opposite direction.
On my first day in office, I am also going to ask Congress to pass “Kate’s Law” – named for Kate Steinle – to ensure that criminal aliens convicted of illegal reentry face receive strong mandatory minimum sentences.
Another reform I am proposing is the passage of legislation named for Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, two law enforcement officers recently killed by a previously-deported illegal immigrant. The Davis-Oliver bill will enhance cooperation with state and local authorities to ensure that criminal immigrants and terrorists are swiftly identified and removed.
We are going to triple the number of ICE deportation officers. Within ICE, I am going to create a new special Deportation Task Force, focused on identifying and removing quickly the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice.
The local police know who every one of these criminals are. There’s no great mystery to it, they’ve put up with it for years. And now, finally, we will turn the tables and law enforcement will be allowed to clear up this dangerous and threatening mess.
We’re also going to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, and put more of them on the border, instead of behind desks. We will expand the number of Border Patrol Stations."
You can read Trump's full remarks here in a transcript from Politico.
The NDN team is looking for a few volunteers or young staff to work at our two events at the Convention on Tuesday July 26th. If you know folks who are interested they should contact Chris Murphy at NDN at email@example.com by COB Wednesday, July 20th. The gigs will be 2-3 hours long and be mostly check in at our public and private events. Please feel free to send this on to people who might be interested.
As the debate on the President's trade agenda in Washington continues with discussions over TPP, we wanted to have one place to share all background resources for those who wish to learn more. We hope you find these reports and pieces to be helpful. (Updated on Friday 7/1/16)
This memo looks at the audiences the Presidential Primary debates received in 2016 and 2008. The Republicans have completed their full 12 debate schedule for the 2015-2016 cycle. We now have the final numbers for the debate audiences for the Democrats and Republicans. The top line analysis can be found below, and tables of the audiences of each debate which received ratings in both 2016 and 2008 can be found on pages 4 and 5 of the full memo, attached (at bottom). More information about the debate over the 2016 debates can be found in our backgrounder (Updated on Wednesday 5/25/16).
2016, Republicans – 12 debates, 186.3m total viewers, 15.53m viewers per debate.
2016, Democrats – 9 debates, 72.03m total viewers, 8m viewers per debate.
2008, Republicans – 14 debates, 42.87m total viewers, 3.07m viewers per debate.
2008, Democrats – 16 debates, 75.22m total viewers, 4.7m viewers per debate (Dems had another 10 debates which were not rated, so total viewership was higher than 75.22m).
GOP Dramatically Outperforms Dems in 2016 and Rs in 2008 – In 2008, the 16 Democratic debates outperformed the 14 GOP debates by more than 53% per debate (4.7m per debate vs 3.07m). In 2016, the 12 GOP debates have outperformed the 9 Democratic debates by a much larger margin, over 94% per debate (15.53m vs 8m). It is a dramatic reversal.
The 12 GOP debates have produced more than 5 times the audience per debate than their 14 debates produced in 2008, and almost 5 times the total audience. The 9 DNC debates produced almost twice the audience per debate that the 2008 debates produced, but, in aggregate, produced a total audience 3 million less than the 2008 debates produced.
Democratic Debate Schedule Struggles to Match 2008 – Despite very large audiences for the debates this cycle, the smaller number of Democratic debates (9 compared to 12 GOP in 2016 and 26 in 2008) means that the total audience of the Democratic debates in 2016 was 3 million less than the 2008 Democratic total, and 114m less than the 2016 GOP total.
DNC’s Original Debate Schedule Audience – The DNC’s original six debate schedule produced an audience of 48.4m. After requests from many, including the Clinton and Sanders campaigns, the DNC added four debates on February 3rd. The DNC also smartly brought in CNN to augment its PBS and Univision debates. These improvements in the schedule brought an additional 24m viewers, 8m from the CNN re-broadcasts and 16m from the three additional debates conducted so far. Augmenting the original schedule increased the overall Democratic debate audience by 50%.
The Townhalls – While the audiences for the CNN town halls were not significant, the formats were. Each of these programs gave viewers a window into the candidate the more rigid debate formats have not. They have been an important innovation this cycle by the DNC, and in coming years should be given more prominence. Our guess is if adequately promoted with more time, viewership for these town halls could be far more significant.
In their recent piece, "Will young Sanders backers stay and steer Democrats leftward," John Wildermuth and Joe Garofoli interviewed Simon for his take on Sanders' performance during the 2016 Democratic Primary election. Simon's is quoted at length in the article.
In the first passage, Simon points out the opportunity the Democratic Party now has to engage young voters and build its base:
That surge of young, enthusiastic and progressive support for a longtime independent congressman and senator who wasn’t even registered as a Democrat until last year should be a loud wake-up call for the party, said Simon Rosenberg, founder of NDN, a center-left think tank.
“This presents Democrats with an enormous opportunity to make their case” to many young people who are more identified with Sanders and his progressive ideals than with any particular party, said Rosenberg, a veteran of former President Bill Clinton’s campaigns. “The question of whether these folks become Democrats is up to the Democratic Party itself.”
In the second passage, Simon describes the advent of the generational turn in party leadership:
Like it or not, though, change is coming for the Democratic Party and party leaders have to deal with it, Rosenberg said.
“Parties always change when another generation takes power,” he said. “The era of Clinton, (Rep. Nancy) Pelosi and (Nevada Sen.) Harry Reid is changing to the era of Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, (Hawaii Rep.) Tulsi Gabbard and (New Jersey Sen.) Cory Booker.”
The Democrats are in the midst of a transition from a party of the 20th century to a party of the 21st century, Rosenberg said, and Sanders’ supporters have to be an important part of that change.
These new voters “see a failed set of elites running the country and have the sense that the country is not well-led,” he added. Democratic leaders “must realize these aren’t wild-eyed critiques, not the critiques of bomb-throwers. ... They must have humility and realize they have a lot to learn.”
Simon has a new op-ed in US News today on the urgent task of restoring the "consent of the governed" to American politics. The opening graphs:
"It is easy to forget perhaps how radical an idea America's democracy was in the 18th century. Oligarchical elites controlled governments and people, and authority was derived from the "divine right of kings." Our Founding Fathers had to replace that authority with a new one, writing in the Declaration of Independence that governments would derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Through the lens of today, this simple phrase is profound and powerful. The clear implication is that our Founders believed that it was only through the process of achieving consent could a government be just; and that governments without consent would struggle to be just (or effective, popular, etc). In a year in which there has been so much talk of corruption and rigged political systems, this idea – whether part of the problem we face today in America is that the system is no longer capable of conveying consent – is something I think worth exploring."