- President of the New Policy Institute, a leftist think tank whose mission is “to help Americans imagine and build a 21st century progressivism”
- Worked for the presidential campaign of Democrat candidate Michael Dukakis in 1987-88
- Worked for the Bill Clinton presidential campaign in 1991-92
- Was employed by the Democratic National Committee in the 1990s
- Says that Republicans’ alleged hostility toward nonwhite Hispanics has alienated many of the latter and consequently has driven them into the Democratic Party's camp
- Contends that young voters heavily favor Democrat Party candidates and positions
Born in New York City in 1963, Simon Rosenberg graduated from Tufts University in 1985 and then took a job as a writer and producer for ABC News, where he was employed for five years. In 1987-88, he worked for the presidential campaign of Democrat candidate Michael Dukakis, and in 1991-92 he worked for the Bill Clinton campaign.
From 1993-96, Rosenberg was employed by the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Leadership Council. In 1996 he founded the New Democrat Network (NDN), a national organization committed to pushing the Democratic Party (and American political attitudes generally) ever-farther to the left.
In 2001 Rosenberg was a member of the Aspen Institute’s Class of Henry Crown Fellows. In 2004 he served on the Democratic National Convention Platform Committee, and a year later he was a candidate for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. (That position ultimately went to Howard Dean.)
In 2006 Rosenberg wrote the foreword for the book Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics, co-authored by Jerome Armstrong and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. In 2007 Rosenberg was named one of “The 50 Most Powerful People in DC” by GQ magazine.
Today Rosenberg is President of the New Policy Institute (which he founded), a leftist think tank (and a Project of the Tides Center) whose mission is “to help Americans imagine and build a 21st century progressivism.” He also co-founded the New Politics Institute in 2005, along with Gina Glantz, Andrew and Deborah Rappaport, and Cecile Richards. Moreover, Rosenberg sits on the boards of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, the Roosevelt Institute, and Democracy: A Journal of Ideas.
Rosenberg has cultivated a reputation for his effectiveness at modernizing and developing the Democratic Party's organization and communications infrastructure, most notably through the use of new technologies such as the Internet. He lauded Howard Dean’s 2003-04 presidential run as the first campaign that effectively “took advantage of new tools—blogs, early online video, and the kind of voter databases that Republicans had mastered decades earlier.” In Rosenberg's estimation, the ultimate success of political campaigns today depends heavily on the degree to which they commit to “running an Internet-oriented campaign, relying on the web for fundraising, organizing, and messaging.”
In 2006 Rosenberg wrote an analysis of “what the last five years of conservative government” (under President Bush) had produced. Among his observations were the following:
- “Republican tax cuts targeted primarily at the rich have left the middle class carrying a greater share of the overall tax burden …”
- “In just five years, the conservatives have unraveled the Clinton administration’s achievement of putting America on a sound fiscal footing …”
- “Despite the muscular rhetoric of the 9/11 era and billions of dollars spent, the conservatives … ignored repeated warnings about Al Qaeda prior to 9/11 … Osama Bin Laden is still at large, and terrorism attacks worldwide have increased dramatically.”
- “The White House began [the war on terror] with a campaign to exaggerate the threat;… it has never found WMD’s -- the stated cause for our entering Iraq; our torture techniques have violated the Geneva conventions and undermined America’s moral leadership in the world; our occupying presence in Iraq … has fueled the global jihadist movement.”
- “In one of the darkest moments of this new conservative era, in late 2005 the Republican House voted to felonize, arrest and deport the 11 million [mostly Hispanic] undocumented men, women and children working and living among us…. [T]hese provisions … constitute one of the most shameful, xenophobic and racist acts by our government in recent American history.”
In Rosenberg’s calculus, Republicans’ alleged hostility toward nonwhite Hispanics has alienated many of the latter and consequently has driven them into the Democratic Party's camp. The timing of this trend, he explains, has been particularly good for Democrats, because Hispanics currently constitute the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. “In 2006,” he observes, “Hispanics [who voted on election day] went nearly 70 percent for Democrats, up from 58 percent for [Democrat John] Kerry in 2004.” “At a strategic level,” Rosenberg elaborates, “resistance to the new demographic reality is futile, which is why [some] GOP leaders … have railed against [their party's generally hostile] approach to immigration. They rightly understand that positioning their party against this new demography of America may render them … a 20th century relic …”
Rosenberg contends that this immigration-driven leftward swing in U.S. politics will be accelerated further “by the extraordinary level of political participation of Millennials [people born between 1977 and 1995], the largest generation in American history, whose life experiences and values are much more Obama than Nixon.” He points out that Millennials tend, significantly more than their elders, to hold opinions that are consistent with those of the Democratic Party. For example, he notes, younger voters are more likely than their elders:
- to support gay marriage;
- to say that protecting the environment is at least as important as protecting jobs;
- to think that immigrants as a whole “strengthen the country with their hard work and talents”;
- to favor tax-financed, government-administered universal health care; and
- to describe themselves as “liberal.”
Conversely, Rosenberg states, young voters are less likely than their elders:
- to agree that the federal government “is usually inefficient and wasteful”;
- to think that government regulation of business “does more harm than good”; and
- to believe that overwhelming force is the best way to defeat terrorism.
According to Rosenberg, “indications are that this [younger] generation … leans overwhelmingly Democratic.” “In 2004,” he elaborates, “people age 29 and under would have given [John] Kerry a landslide of 372 electoral votes had they been the only ones voting. In the 2006 congressional election, that same age group went for Democrats over Republicans by 22 percent—an almost unheard-of margin. Conventional wisdom has it that if a generation votes for one party in three consecutive elections, it tends to stay with that party for life.… This generation is poised to become the core of a 21st century progressive coalition.”
In the final analysis, Rosenberg predicts “a permanent shift in the ideological orientation of the country.” “The election of 2006,” he says, “may well have marked the end of the conservative ascendancy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.” “[T]he arrival of Barack Obama and his politics,” adds Rosenberg, is a welcome development for our nation.”