NDN Blog

The Russian Intervention In The US Election Matters

The rise of Trump certainly gives our community much to be concerned about. But as I sit here in DC thinking about what NDN can and should do in the months ahead, I keep coming back to one thing – the Russian intervention in our election. Our government simply owes the American people a clear explanation for what happened, or at least a more transparent process to help us get one, soon.

A new, alarming Washington Post piece from over the break reminded us how extensive the Russian operation was, and how seemingly ill-equipped we were to counter it. There are so many pieces to put together here – the extent of the penetration into the Democratic Party and Clinton campaign; the many ties of the Trump campaign to Russia, something that the FBI is reportedly investigating; the active encouragement of the Russian actions by the GOP nominee and the Republican Party itself, and the precedent setting decision by Party leadership to actively use the questionable material in the campaign; the question of whether there was any actual tampering with our elections process, and the coming to terms with the massive, successful disinformation efforts by the Russians that are now well documented.

For some I am sure this all sounds like a bad James Bond movie. But it is clear now that a foreign hostile power played a major role in a US election, one significant enough to have potentially influenced the outcome. All of our leaders in Washington should be asked to step up here and work together to come to an understanding about what happened, and take concrete, publicly understood steps to ensure it never happens again. This is particularly true, as I wrote in a recent US News column, because the intervention here is part of a wide ranging Russian campaign to weaken the West and a global politics that resists authoritarianism.

It is possible the Russian intervention in our election this year was one of the most significant events in modern American history. While there are many things our leaders can and should be focusing on in the coming year, getting to a better understanding of what happened here has to be at the top of the list. It won’t be easy, and hard conversations will have to be had. The new governing party’s resistance is likely to be fierce. On this one, however, we need to be Americans and patriots first, partisans second. Our leaders need to lead and help America, and the world, understand what happened and to offer clear concrete steps to ensure it never happens again.

Related Materials

The West Is On the Ballot, Simon Rosenberg, US News & World Report, 11/4/16. In the column, Simon argues that Trump isn't running just against Clinton, he's also running against what America has become and the world it has built.

Calling All Patriots, Simon Rosenberg, US News & World Report, 10/13/16. While in a reflective mood about the future, their nominee and party, Simon suggests two other activities Republicans should swiftly denounce and distance themselves from.

Trump's Worrisome Embrace of Putin, Simon Rosenberg, NDN.org, 9/12/16. In this column Simon does a deep dive on Trumpland’s embrace of Russia’s Putin, and why their admiration for this “strength” is a betrayal of our values.

Arizona Outperforms North Carolina for Democrats

Assuming the current tally holds, AZ now stands at 49.03 Trump 45.46 Clinton, a margin of 3.6%, closer than NC’s 3.8%.  This is important given NC may have seen the greatest investment per vote of any battleground state by Clinton/DNC, and AZ perhaps the least.   Remarkably, AZ outperformed IA, NC and OH for Democrats this year, and has become a place of true opportunity for Ds in the years ahead. 

2016 left us with a new national electorate college map, among other things moving AZ into the core of the battleground and Texas onto its edges (TX outperformed IA for Clinton, and almost matched OH).

It is important to note that the three states where Democrats gained the most ground in 2016 were Texas, California and Arizona, states with large numbers of Hispanics and Millennial voters.  In fact Texas now has a higher share of Millennials and Hispanics than California - today's Texas is a very different state than it was a generation ago.  Clinton won under 45s in Texas by 6 points, 49% to 43%. 

And as we’ve written, many of the key battlegrounds Democrats lost in 2016 (FL, MI, OH, PA, WI) were among the lowest in the nation in Millennial share of the vote.   Many of the states that held for Democrats, or gained – AZ, CA, CO, NV, TX, VA – are in the upper end of Millennial share.   In fact Texas now has a higher share of Millennials and Hispanics than California – a reason it moved so aggressively towards the Dems with little investment.   See our recent report on Millennials for more on this.   Millennials jumped from 19% of the electorate in 2012 to 29% in 2016 according to an election night survey by Democracy Corps.   And their arrival in the electorate will increasingly matter for both parties in the years ahead.

For more on how young voters performed in 2016, see this new study from Tufts/Tisch College's CIRCLE.  It is a must read on the 2016 outcomes.   

A New Generation of Democrats Will Have To Rise – NDN's 2016 Post-Election Memo

As background, NDN produced a post-election memo in 2014, “A Wake Up Call For Democrats” which covers some of the ground in the memo below. The original version of this memo was published on the Wednesday after the election, and has been updated.  You can also find our thoughts in a series of post-election articles in Time, TNR, the Washington Post and others sources. 

Clinton wins more votes, Dems gain in Senate and House – Yes, a bit spinny given the outcome, but true. Trump has won the Presidency, getting fewer votes than Clinton and winning his big 4 states - FL, MI, PA, WI - by less than 1.5%.  What is remarkable is that Democrats have now won more votes in 6 of past 7 Presidential elections, one of the best runs for a political party in US history and yet have very little to show for it.  In the exits last night Democrats had meaningful advantages in Party ID and favorability, and Barack Obama had a 53/45 approval rating. A plurality of voters even said they were better off than they were four years ago.

The GOP, a party that has won more votes in a national election only once since 1988, amazingly has more power today in Washington than any time since 1928.  That our system could produce this outcome is one of the things that makes America exceptional.

The exits confirm that last night was not a repudiation of the Democratic Party’s agenda, or a significant affirmation of the direction Trump wants to take the country:

-48% said Obamacare was just right or didn’t go far enough, 47% said too far
-70% said illegal immigrants should stay, 25% said deport
-41% approve of building the wall, 54% say no
-48% said criminal justice system treats blacks unfairly, 43% fairly
-31% say they are better off today, 27% worse off, 49% same

Even on the issue of global trade, 42% said trade takes away jobs, 38% said creates jobs.

So what this means in practical terms is that it is hard for Trump and the Republicans to claim a clear mandate. They have only won one more votes in a national election once since 1988, and will have to work hard in the coming months to build majority support for their agenda.

Dems Need A Big Discussion About Turnout, Our Coalition – Democrats need to have a robust debate about why we’ve had such a hard time replicating Obama’s success with the majority coalition he built in 2010, 2014 and again in 2016. No doubt that the Trump campaign impressively outperformed expectations in most national polls. But an early and quick read on the data suggests that once again the Democrats did not meet their targets with their own voters – and in this race resources were not an issue. More on this issue in future memos.

Younger Americans Are Much More Democratic – Using the exits, voters under 45 went for Clinton 52% to 40%, and those 45 and over went for Trump 53% to 44%. 56% of the electorate was 45 and over, 44% under 45. Maximizing the under 45 vote – people who came of age after Reagan’s Presidency – remains one of the highest demographic priorities for Democrats. Not sure what it means yet, but the 4 states that cost Clinton the election last night – FL, MI, PA, WI – have very low %s of Millennials compared to other states.

For more on Millennials and the youth vote, see our new report on Millennials, this excellent post-election report from Tufts/Tisch/CIRCLE, and Democracy Corp's election night survey showing the Millennial share of the electorate grew from 19% in 2012 to a remarkable 29% in 2016. 

Huge Mistakes By Clinton Campaign - It is hard to escape the conclusion that the Clinton campaign both badly misread the election in the final months, and made terrible decisions about the allocation of its campaign resources and candidate time.  This new article by Sam Stein in the Huffington Post captures the failures in Michigan and Wisconsin.  But it goes deeper than just those two states. Discussions have to be had about huge overinvestments in NC and OH, and whether AZ should have been a prime target general election target from June on.  As of 11/20, Clinton's margin in AZ is only 3.6%, better than the Democratic performance in IA, NC and OH (see our new memo on AZ, and the strong showing for Dems in CA and TX too).  

Given the financial advantages and unified party behind the campaign, the team running Clintonworld will have to explain to the rest of us about what appears to be fatal misjudgements in the general election. 

Thanks Comey! – According to the exits, of the 26% of people who made up their minds in the last month, Trump won them 49%-39% (yes during the period of the debates, the Access Hollywood video). Of the 73% who made up their minds before the last month, Clinton won 51%-46%. Very hard to not conclude from this data that the Comey intervention in the election was consequential.

Not sure all of us have yet processed the unprecedented intervention of a foreign government and the FBI in this election. With Rs in charge of Congress and the White House, will be hard to have this conversation next year but it is a conversation that needs having.

Political Reform – Given the obvious concerns about a “rigged” system that no longer works for everyday people, why Hillary Clinton never developed a serious conversation around reforming our politics remains one of the great mysteries of the 2016 election. See my piece from December, 2012 about why political reform had to become central to the politics of the center-left in the years ahead. 

A New Generation of Democrats Will Have to Lead Now – The Obama Presidency and the 24 years of leadership provided by Bill and Hillary Clinton will now yield to a new era for the Democratic Party. Surveying the landscape – Schumer, Kaine, Booker, Sanders, Warren, Becerra, Michael Bennett, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, Joe Kennedy, the Castros, Tulsi Gabbard, etc – Democrats have a very promising set of leaders capable of carrying the Party forward.

Democrats will also have to become far more purposeful about preparing for the generational handoff from Boomer generation politicians to younger ones. The Democratic Party is a young, diverse and growing party. Its future success will depend on advancing leaders who can connect with and excite these voters. 

Big questions now about what the Obamas do, and the role they play in what comes next.

Folks Should Be Careful About Calling This A Change Election – While there is clear evidence “change” was something people sought, the country is neither as angry or disquieted as some have been suggesting. Let’s go through some data here. Incomes have been going up for four years. 2015 saw the largest income gains for American workers in the recorded economic history of the United States. The unemployment rate is under 5%. Violent crime, the killings of Americans by terrorists and the killing of police are all at rates far lower than during the Bush Administration. The uninsured rate is at historic lows. Heath inflation, the biggest driver of the deficit, has been lower this decade than in a generation. Energy prices are low, America has become a net energy exporter, and the growth of renewables is exploding. The net flow of unauthorized immigrants into the US has gone from 400,000 a year under Bush to zero today, while trade with Mexico has more than doubled.

And public opinion confirms this. In a recent Gallup poll 62% of Americans said things are getting better. 53% of Americans report that things are good in a recent CNN poll. President Obama’s approval rating is in the mid to high 50s, the highest mark of his second term and higher than President Reagan at the end of his Presidency. A recent Bloomberg poll found only 28% of Americans saying that since Obama’s election they are worse off, with 21% saying things are the same and 49% better. While the exits last night found fewer people saying better off, the number saying worse off was about the same – 27%.  And in the exits, 37% said the next generation will be better off, 34% said worse.  This simply isn't rebellion level numbers folks. 

The exits also asked a direct question – which candidate quality mattered most? 39% said “can bring change,” and they went 83% to 14% for Trump. This is a plurality, not a majority. 

This is not to say that we don’t have challenges, or that that there isn’t disquiet in the American electorate. But it is not a majority sentiment of the public at large, and was not even close to being a majority sentiment of those who voted last night. But it is a majority sentiment of Republican voters as this party break out of recent CNN data suggests:

Source: CNN/ORC poll data from September 1-4, 2016. According to this CNN/ORC poll, 53 percent of Americans believe economic conditions in the US are good. The question asked in the survey was: “How would you rate the economic conditions in the country today -- as very good, somewhat good, somewhat poor, or very poor?” See our recent report, “America Is Better Off And Safer Today” for citations for the data in this section.

Memo: A New Generation of Democrats Will Have To Rise – Our 2016 Post Election Memo

As background, NDN produced a post-election memo in 2014, “A Wake Up Call For Democrats” which covers some of the ground in the memo below. This memo was written quickly, and we intend to update it in the coming days.

Clinton wins more votes, Dems gain in Senate and House – Yes, a bit spinny given the outcome, but true. What is remarkable is that Democrats have now won more votes in 6 of past 7 Presidential elections, one of the best runs for a political party in US history. In the exits last night Democrats had meaningful advantages in Party ID and favorability, and Barack Obama had a 53/45 approval rating. A plurality of voters even said they were better off than they were four years ago. What remains exceptional about America today is that we are the only country in the world where if you win more votes you don’t necessarily gain control over the government and legislature. The GOP, a party that has won more votes in a national election only once since 1988 remarkably has more power today in Washington than any time since 1928.

The exits confirm that last night was not a repudiation of the Democratic Party’s agenda, or a significant affirmation of the direction Trump wants to take the country:

-48% said Obamacare was just right or didn’t go far enough, 47% said too far
-70% said illegal immigrants should stay, 25% said deport
-41% approve of building the wall, 54% say no
-48% said criminal justice system treats blacks unfairly, 43% fairly
-31% say they are better off today, 27% worse off, 49% same
-37% say next generation will be better off, 34% said worse

Even on the issue of global trade, 42% said trade takes away jobs, 38% said creates jobs.

So what this means in practical terms is that it is hard for Trump and the Republicans to claim a clear mandate. They have only won one more votes in a national election once since 1988, and will have to work hard in the coming months to build majority support for their agenda.

Dems Need A Big Discussion About Turnout, Our Coalition – Democrats need to have a robust debate about why we’ve had such a hard time replicating Obama’s success with the majority coalition he built in 2010, 2014 and again in 2016. No doubt that the Trump campaign impressively outperformed expectations in most national polls. But an early and quick read on the data suggests that once again the Democrats did not meet their targets with their own voters – and in this race resources were not an issue. More on this issue in future memos.

Younger Americans Are Much More Democratic – Using the exits, voters under 45 went for Clinton 52% to 40%, and those 45 and over went for Trump 53% to 44%. 56% of the electorate was 45 and over, 44% under 45. Maximizing the under 45 vote – people who came of age after Reagan’s Presidency – remains one of the highest demographic priorities for Democrats. Not sure what it means yet, but the 4 states that cost Clinton the election last night – FL, MI, PA, WI – have very low %s of Millennials compared to other states.

A New Generation of Democrats Will Have to Lead Now – The Obama Presidency and the 24 years of leadership provided by Bill and Hillary Clinton will now yield to a new era for the Democratic Party. Surveying the landscape – Schumer, Kaine, Booker, Sanders, Warren, Becerra, Michael Bennett, Kamala Harris, Gavin Newsom, the Castros, Tulsi Gabbard, etc – Democrats have a very promising set of leaders capable of carrying the Party forward.

Democrats will also have to become far more purposeful about preparing for the generational handoff from Boomer generation politicians to younger ones. The Democratic Party is a young, diverse and growing party. Its future success will depend on advancing leaders who can connect with and excite these voters.
Big questions now about what the Obamas do, and the role they play in what comes next.

Thanks Comey! – According to the exits, of the 26% of people who made up their minds in the last month, Trump won them 49%-39% (yes during the period of the debates, the Access Hollywood video). Of the 73% who made up their minds before the last month, Clinton won 51%-46%. Very hard to not conclude from this data that the Comey intervention in the election was consequential.

Not sure all of us have yet processed the unprecedented intervention of a foreign government and the FBI in this election. With Rs in charge of Congress and the White House, will be hard to have this conversation next year but it is a conversation that needs having.

Political Reform – Given the obvious concerns about a “rigged” system that no longer works for everyday people, why Hillary Clinton never developed a serious conversation around reforming our politics remains one of the great mysteries of the 2016 election.

Folks Should Be Careful About Calling This A Change Election – While there is clear evidence “change” was something people sought, the country is neither as angry or disquieted as some have been suggesting. Let’s go through some data here. Incomes have been going up for four years. 2015 saw the largest income gains for American workers in the recorded economic history of the United States. The unemployment rate is under 5%. Violent crime, the killings of Americans by terrorists and the killing of police are all at rates far lower than during the Bush Administration. The uninsured rate is at historic lows. Heath inflation, the biggest driver of the deficit, has been lower this decade than in a generation. Energy prices are low, America has become a net energy exporter, and the growth of renewables is exploding. The net flow of unauthorized immigrants into the US has gone from 400,000 a year under Bush to zero today, while trade with Mexico has more than doubled.

And public opinion confirms this. In a recent Gallup poll 62% of Americans said things are getting better. 53% of Americans report that things are good in a recent CNN poll. President Obama’s approval rating is in the mid to high 50s, the highest mark of his second term and higher than President Reagan at the end of his Presidency. A recent Bloomberg poll found only 28% of Americans since Obama’s election they are worse off, with 21% saying things are the same and 49% better. While the exits last night found fewer people saying better off, the number saying worse off was about the same – 27%.

The exits also asked a direct question – which candidate quality mattered most? 39% said “can bring change,” and they went 83% to 14% for Trump. This is a plurality, not a majority.

This is not to say that we don’t have challenges, or that that there isn’t disquiet in the American electorate. But it is not a majority sentiment of the public at large, and was not even close to being a majority sentiment of those who voted last night. But it is a majority sentiment of Republican voters as this party break out of recent CNN data suggests:

Source: CNN/ORC poll data from September 1-4, 2016. According to this CNN/ORC poll, 53 percent of Americans believe economic conditions in the US are good. The question asked in the survey was: “How would you rate the economic conditions in the country today -- as very good, somewhat good, somewhat poor, or very poor?” See our recent report, “America Is Better Off And Safer Today” for citations for the data in this section.

Memo: Historical Background on the Hispanic Vote

Friends,

As someone who helped make bilingual polling of Hispanics and Spanish language media standard practices in modern campaigns over a decade ago, I offer up some nuggets for those commenting on what is shaping up to be an important story tonight. 

The Big Swing of Hispanics Towards Democrats Happened in 2006 – Using a more enlightened strategy towards Hispanics, George W. Bush improved the GOP share of the Hispanic vote from Dole’s 21% in 1996 to 35% in 2000 and 40% in 2004. These significant gains began to unravel for the GOP in 2005, when restrictionist forces in the House led by GOP Rep. Sensenbrenner rebuked President Bush and passed a bill to forcibly deport the 11m undocumented immigrants in the US. Rallies and demonstrations followed; the Senate passed a bi-partisan immigration reform bill with President Bush’s help; and the House Republicans who had already passed their deportation bill, refused to bring the Senate Bill up for a vote. In a battle for the soul of the GOP, the restrictionists prevailed over moderates like Bush and McCain – a battle they continue to win today.

In the 2006 elections, alarmed by the success of House Republicans in blocking reform and passing a full on deportation bill, the Hispanic vote fled the GOP, going 70/30 for the Democrats. Bush’s gains evaporated. This 70/30 split is where it has stayed in the last two Presidentials, with Obama getting 67% in 2008 and then 71% in 2012. And with it, 4 states Bush won in 2004 – CO, FL, NM and NV – moved into the Democratic camp in both of Obama’s victories.

It is important to note that the basic structural underpinnings of the current national Hispanic vote was not formed by an embrace of Democrats, but by a rejection of a Republican Party seen as hostile to Hispanic interests. One of the big questions about tonight will be whether Trump’s virulent anti-Hispanic rhetoric will create another new structural reality for this vote, perhaps inching it up to 75/25 from 70/30, in this election and beyond. If this does happen, the impact on American politics could be profound.

The Hispanic Vote Has Already Played A Role in Determining the President, Control of the Senate – While the import of the Hispanic vote tonight will be one of 2016’s biggest stories, that it matters in national elections is not a new development. George W. Bush’s strong showing with Hispanic voters (21% for Dole in ’96, 35% for Bush in 2000, 40% in 2004) was instrumental in his narrow Electoral College victories in 2000 (particularly in Florida) and 2004. Of his 271 EC votes in 2000, 45 came from winning AZ, CO, FL and NV (Clinton won AZ in 1996). Of his 286 EC votes in 2004, he received 56 EC votes from winning AZ, CO, FL, NM and NV. In the latest Survey Monkey national poll Clinton leads in all five of these states.

In 2016, after two re-apportionments gave these growing states more EC votes, these 5 states make up 60 EC votes, which could very well be the margin of victory for Clinton tonight. Winning these states was essential to Bush’s wins in 2000/4, and could be equally important to Clinton tonight.

In 2010, when the Democrats retained the Senate by tow seats in a tough mid-term, Senator Harry Reid credited strong Hispanic performances in CO and NV for their success.

Hispanics Have Made Significant Economic Gains in Recent Years – The apparent success Democrats are having with Hispanic voters this year has been aided by the very significant economic gains made by Hispanics in recent years. As this new paper from the White House explains, Hispanics have benefitted more from the recent economic recovery perhaps more than any other demographic group, seeing higher incomes gains and bigger drops in the uninsured unemployment rate than most other demographic groups. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of DREAMers have received work permits, and the early data shows significant socio-economic gains for them too. On many measures Hispanics are more content and more optimistic than the country as a whole. While the rhetoric of recent years has been awful, the lives of Hispanics are dramatically improved – giving them something to vote for this year (and not just against Trump).

Watch Texas – As I wrote in this recent US News column, Texas is the last state with a major Hispanic population to not yet begin to be loosed from the grip of the GOP. Polling suggests it could be tight tonight; the prospect of Texas becoming a competitive state could become one of the biggest stories of 2016.

The Hispanic Story Is Also A Millennial Story – The Pew Hispanic Center estimates half of all Hispanic/Hispanic voters are Millennial. It is hard to talk about the Hispanic vote without also talking about the growing impact of Millennials on US politics. For more on this, see our recent memo on Millennials and 2016.
 

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 imaginerary 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.    

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.

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